This summer I am lucky to have a couple of welcome visitors to my garden. While pulling weeds in the patch of sweet corn, I was startled by a spider's web, about the size of a dinner plate. The sticky white web stretched from one corn stalk to another, about three feet off the ground. In the center of the web was a large black and yellow garden spider. Even though these bold colored spiders are quite harmless and beautiful, they always startle me at first. The spider had just caught his supper, a silver-bordered fritillary butterfly and he was standing over it, waiting for me to leave so he could eat. I spent a couple of minutes studying the spider and his meal before going back to pulling weeds. Further down the same row of corn, I found another smaller web with a smaller garden spider quietly waiting for some unsuspecting insect to get caught in his webbed trap. I remember reading somewhere that garden spiders have the unique ability to replace their legs if they should lose one or two. How truly amazing! I would be more than satisfied if my teeth would always be replaced with new ones.
The garden spider and all spiders are always welcome in the gardens. They are predators who eat lots of insects that would otherwise eat the veggies that I worked so hard to grow. I was lucky to have learned not to fear them as a boy. Iíve learned al lot about insects and spiders from not being afraid of them. Since then, I have learned to respect and live with all forms of insect life.
Itís sad to know that so many parents are teaching their children to fear bugs. These misguided lessons will last a lifetime and be passed on to future generations.
These warm August evenings are often enjoyed for a couple of hours, sitting out on the porch at twilight time, when the whip-poor-will sings and the bats come out to play.
The beautiful hawk moths hover around the blossoms of the purple phlox. When I get close to them I can hear the hum of their hummingbird-like wings. They may also be called sphinx moths or hummingbird moths.
The throbbing songs of a million crickets, katydids and fleecy-wings add lovely music to an already beautiful night. I cherish these wonderful night sounds because I know that with the first hard frost, they will be gone for another whole year.
The young house wrens chatter from inside the gourd house as their mother pops in with a tiny insect. She stuffs the bug into one of the gaping mouths and she flies out the hole and off for another bug. She has barely left when Dad flies in with a bug for one of the kids. Their noisy begging chatter continues until he leaves and the youngsters are still and quiet. They are feed all day long and grow quickly. Only 14 days after hatching, they are able to fly and are gone. This was probably a third clutch for the pair of wrens and I would be surprised to see them start another family so late in the summer.
Hereís hoping that everyone is getting the most out of summer and enjoying these warm days and nights. Hereís to all those memories that summer gives and carries us to the next spring.
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