Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Arachnophobia?

...



I was on the phone the other day, and as is my wont, I was talking and stalking around my studio. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an irregular dark shape, underneath an electrical conduit. I took a closer look, and saw the tell-tale red hourglass marking on the back of a large black spider.

Anyone who knows me will not be surprised by my reaction. I wanted this spider out of my studio. But I also was thrilled at the chance to see this animal. And I was desperate to get a photograph of the black widow. I realized that my macro lens was at home, so I left the spider alone for a day. Considering the pile of dead flies under her web, I figured, she wasn't going anywhere.

Today, Sheri and I teamed up to re-locate the black widow. My job was to don the gardening gloves, and transfer the spider into a container. Sheri would take charge of standing over my shoulder, jumping up and down, and flapping her hands at the wrists and going "oh! oh! oh!" Since I couldn't do both of these things at once, I delegated my non-spider-moving duties to Sheri.

Black widow spiders have loosely structured, three dimensional webs and I figured that I would use a feather duster to shift the spider into a container. But as we learned, things are never as simple as one might hope. Behind the airy web was a funnel shaped section of web that Sheri and I named the Spider's Bedroom. Missus Spider immediately retreated into her lair, which resisted my efforts to dis-assemble it. This section of web was very solid, about as strong as paper towel. The feather duster failed, the artist's paint brush (with the nice long handle) failed. What finally worked was a strange scenic art tool, made of a large safety pin mounted on the end of a piece of bamboo.




I carefully dis-assembled her web, and then gently knocked her into a plastic paint container. And then the photo-shoot began.

The spider's markings are on the underside of her abdomen, so I had to try to get her into position, and get the camera to focus through the tub's dirty plastic walls. Sheri was so amused, that she shot a photograph of me, photographing the spider. As you can see, I'm taking no chances.




I'm such a tender hearted creature that I'm incapable of killing even a black widow spider. Instead, we took her across the street, and released her onto the scrubby waste land owned by the railroad.




Good bye, Missus Spider! Please don't come back to visit us anytime soon.

11 comments:

Gina said...

o.k. THIS is funny! Even without my usually insightful subtextual reading ...

Gina said...

an adendum - my previous comment only makes sense if you logged in to read the blog when I did to discover the picture of Lisa photographing and the only text posted yet as "blah blah blah" under the title "Arachnophobia?"

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I was wondering how you posted a comment fifteen minutes before I finished writing the post, Gina!

Anonymous said...

I still shake my hands and jump up and down just looking at photos of her!

-Sheri

Cori said...

this is amazing! I'm glad Sheri took that picture, I had no idea she would be so big!

Pica said...

I have one in my office. It does a great job of killing the flies that inevitably end up in here, a function of our location across from the Center for Equine Health. The spider is very well-behaved, living in its tiny nook by the window, leaving its hugely strong and sticky untidy web in just that corner. We have mutual respect. If it ventures out of this spot, it's going outside.

The one I'm REALLY scared of is the brown recluse, having learned from my sister-in-law (who is a wound care specialist) just what they can do to you...

Kristen said...

the first post "blah blah blah" was funny enough. relegating the duty of flapping your hands to Sheri was enough for my laughter to wake my neighbors. well done. neat critter. glad she didn't get anyone!

Martha said...

You are amazing. I think you can probably hear my hands flapping all the way from Brooklyn.

Anonymous said...

Hi all. I may be headed your way this summer. We have a group of teachers from Pat-Med heading to Stanford for a 5 day 4 night educational seminar of the American West. We'll be staying on campus at Stanford and taking excursions from there. Not sure exactly what the itinerary is just yet. Please make sure you don't send any of those 8 legged creatures our way!!!
Syndee

Marlena said...

I'm not usually afraid of spiders, but holy cannoli that one is BIG! I was shuddering just reading this!

SLW said...

Hi, Lisa (assuming it's you posting?) Thanks for dropping in at Small Wonders--and for being so kind-hearted to our fellow creatures. I trust you must have come from Arachnophilia.

This is a great post! I have another good spider story--I'll try to let you know when it goes up. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures.

Sally

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...