Saturday, September 11

Araneus Diadematus

I always mark this time of year with the arrival of spiders which, with football, pumpkins and tree colours, the perfect marker of fall. Here, pictured, we have a common garden spider, which is also the biggest spider in Europe and second in size only to the giant silk spiders of the tropics. Their webs are built by the larger females who usually lie head down on the web waiting for their prey (Madeleine has a hard time choosing sides; last night she was near tears over the water bugs while I was raking the pond). The third pair of legs of garden spiders BTW are specialized for assisting in the spinning of orb webs and also used to move around the web without getting stuck. These legs are useful only in the web; while on the ground, they are of little value. To mate, the smaller male will approach the female cautiously; if not careful, he may end up being eaten by her.

Madeleine comes home for her afternoon play date to find us having pizza. Madeleine: "Can I have some?"
Me: "No, you've had dinner."
Madeleine: "Even if there is some left over?"
Eitan: "I am going to finish it."
Madeleine: "You are doing that just because I want some."
Eitan: "I am doing it because I am hungry. Besides, I have been doing chores all afternoon and you haven't."
Madeleine: "So? I just want one piece."
Sonnet: "No way."
Madeleine huffs off: "Can I watch some TV? Eitan has been watching football."
Me: "No. That is college football. And I am watching it."
Sonnet: "Why don't you go clean Tommy's cage? And that is not a suggestion."
Madeleine: "Everybody is against me."
Me: "Tough love, kid. Sometimes that is the way it is."