Does this web make my butt look big?

Does this web make my spider’s butt look big?

Seriously! I have posed this question on Instagram (@Kstewand4cats) and on my personal Facebook page and nobody wants to comment. The most I got was a “maybeeee??” from MomBert.

I realize that this question when asked between humans is usually a trap, but this time it’s motivated out of mild curiosity…maybe concern. I don’t know. Bernadette is her own spider and she can take care of shit! (Yea, so a former student named her. It seemed to work.)

It really seems like she hasn’t eaten well for a couple of days and, trust me, I check that web MULTIPLE times a day for my own safety because she’s right out the living room window. There have been no obvious catches for a few days. I had that same thought process you have when you suspect a frenemy has lost weight: “Hmmmm, bitch looks smaller. Hate her.”

Finally, Bernadette scored today. Two big carpenter bees! She was using one for a juice box when the other one hit the web and she was frantically on it! Girl was hungry. I was sad for the loss of pollinators, but also acknowledged that these guys are real dicks when it comes to my wooden fence. I helped out by tossing in a stink bug because they are murdering sons of bitches, but she thinks they’re tasty.

So is she smaller and is that a result of less prey or is there a giant egg sac somewhere waiting to take over the world? I’m hoping a spider expert just wanders in to this because there is only so much spider research I can do before it feels like my skin is going to turn inside out from creepy crawlies.


I realize an 8 day time span is not significant when considering booty sizes, but these were the most comparable photo options.

Bernadette in late July wrapping a Japanese beetle.

I have to burn the garden to the ground…again.

I just wish they came with a warning sign.

Every time I encounter a huge spider in my garden it’s by pure, unobservant accident. I was happily squishing Japanese beetles off my grape vines, which they seem to like even better than the roses this year, when I looked down and saw that I was only inches away from a 2-3 inch monster. (I got out a ruler, but her web anchors are all over the place and there was no way to get close-ish without destroying them and angering her.)

What I’ve learned is the my fight or flight instinct seems pretty delayed. This spider made my ass cheeks clinch up and my entire body lock into place while I silent screamed at it. Then I fled.

To get my camera, of course, because it totally makes sense to take pictures of terrifying, mutant spiders.


Totally snacking.

The silver spider lining is that there appeared to be some Japanese beetles wrapped up in her web. If she’ll eat those, that would be amazing because no one else will touch them! I even went so far as tossing a few live ones in her web and hoping to see a strike. She did not bite, and the beetles did not stick very well. She needs a denser weave to really nab their shiny shells, but here’s hoping.

Like the previous garden spider, I can monitor her from a window of the house. This time though, it’s only from about 5 feet from the living room window.

This picture makes me want to throw up on myself, but it does give a lovely illustration of her furry bits and pieces. I may not be eating from my grape vines this year.


Drama at the birdbath

So far this summer, the robin has been the king of the birdbath. Suspension of disbelief: I firmly believe that it is the same robin who shows up multiple times a day and completely loses his mind in the bath. (Meanwhile this freaky sparrow just likes to watch.)


The robin is the reason I sometimes need to refresh the water a couple times in a day. I was happy to see a cardinal tentatively investigating the bath today in weather that said 94 but “feels like 101.” He went all the way around the edge eyeing the water before sliding in. Meanwhile the robin watched him–jealously?– from the lower birdbath.


The robin tried to interfere, but the cardinal gave him the same treatment he’s been giving other birds. Bath. For. One.



Cardinal “me time.”


And a graceful exit much to the robin’s delight.


Much like the robin, the cardinal wanted another dip and there was a brief standoff.


Cardinal won.