We have adopted spiders living all around our house. There is Truckspider, who always has a web slung across the side mirror and somehow survives every trip on the highway. There’s also the enormous Bikespider, who makes gorgeous orb webs over the back tire of Husband’s bike. But the one we unabashedly love most is Kitchenspider. She’s the only one we have indoors, and yes…she lives in the kitchen. We proudly show her off to friends and family when they visit. (Somehow, despite our exuberance, we’ve gotten mixed reactions.)
It seems we’re not helping the case for our normalcy anytime soon.
The tale starts in June. She started out as a small spiderling, accidentally brought into the kitchen in a load of fresh-picked Mulberries. She settled herself in a tiny web slung over my vinegar fruit fly trap, and I thought she was strategically brilliant, so I left her. She endeared herself to us both (getting rid of fruit flies helped!), because now, more than two months later, she is still a fixed resident of our kitchen.
She makes a new, intricate web over our kitchen window every morning (always completely cleaning up her old one), and in the rising sunlight, it is as fine as any painting. In full awareness of how deeply we’ve descended into our arachnophilic appreciation, we mist her web so she has something to drink, and we greet her often. She has quadrupled in size, and now that she’s finally in her adult iteration we could identify her as a female Neoscona domicillorum (hey now…what Latin student just unconsciously ID’d the Genitive case? Don’t be ashamed. It can’t be helped.) Commonly, they're called Spotted Orbweavers, and our yard is an apparent haven for them.
In recent days, we’ve had the housefly problem that’s super-common in late summer here. Our cat (ineffectively) tried to help, but Kitchenspider has been the true champ. She’s caught them all and disposed of them better than any flypaper could have. Her record so far is 12 flies in one day (the number of flies was horrifying on many levels)…somehow, she ate every single one. She single-leggedly stopped our potential fly plague within two days.
Most spiders around here are killed with the first fall frosts, so I’m curious how long we’ll have her gracing our kitchen. We'll keep her as long as she'll stay with us.
I think it is frustrating that we’re trained to look at spiders as gross bug-things that lie in wait to bite us at any given opportunity, because all I see here is a beautifully designed creature that is part artist, part artwork, and fascinatingly efficient at living. When I taught Environmental Education, I loved picking up spiders and making young students get over their immediate reactions of revulsion...every once in a while, they would fall quiet and still, look at this gentle thing dancing across my palms, and become full of wonder at this amazingly articulated, mysterious creature. Even if I couldn't teach openly about how I believe God designed it so well, its inherent awesomeness often spoke for itself.
Take a chance and the moment to look closely at a spider if you've never done it before...you might just feel your paradigms shift.
(EDIT: Apparently we're not alone and there's a whole blog dedicated to appreciating spiders!)
We are a husband and wife who are trying to live simply. We are learning much as we transition from life in the city to life in the country. Come along with us, and maybe you can also learn a thing or two as well.
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Simple Life Homestead