13 September 2008

on the web

There is a large garden spider living just outside my backdoor, an ambitious spider. She has engineered her web to cross the wide expanse between the dividing wall and a bush in our garden, quite a risky approach given that at any time our cats might leap up and damage the construction. Most days you will see her sitting in the middle of the web waiting for some unsuspecting insects to fly by.

It's a good place for catching flies because it is a couple of feet away from the wormery, so every time we put something in there a little cloud of fruit flies billows up and one or two get stuck in the web. Young John has been watching her too and thinks she is getting bigger and bigger from harvesting her prey.

I watched her this afternoon doing some maintenance work. She worked her way slowly round the inner circle of the web. Look at her leg and you can see a silky thread. She skims across the struts with her silk, joining them up, keeping up a good pace, nimble and focused. No stopping for snacks I noticed.

Round and round and round. I went in and had a cup of tea and came out again to see how far she had got. Round and round again.

When she had done enough, she worked her way back to the middle and darned that. Then she waited. I thought she deserved a reward after all that hard work so I opened up a bag of fruit and veg waste, wafted the fruit flies towards the web and watched as she ran towards the biggest ones and took them back to the centre of her web to eat.

I have two weeks to go until my dissertation is submitted. I should be finishing my conclusion right now instead of writing this.

Think focus, think finish, think spider.

You can click on the snapshots to see the detail. If you want to see the spider and her work in all its glory, that is.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes you have to take a break to get the focus to finish. Even if that means getting up close and personal with something which has rather a lot of stripey legs.

Felicity Ford said...

I'll second what Liz said. It's essential to take breaks when you're doing a massive project!

I am very scared of house-spiders but I love garden spiders and we have a few like this one, whose webs straddle unfeasibly wide spaces (or so it seems to me.)

I love them around the garden; they are very tiger-like and industrious.