The Garden Sentinel

My son and his wife and daughter came over for dinner tonight.

I rotisseried a chicken on the grill, steamed some green beans and made some garlic and butter mashed potatoes.


I decided to see if there were any tomatoes ripe that I could slice up to go with it.

Click pix to make bigger

At first glance, everything appeared just fine.

Notice anything unusual (other than the fact that the tomato plants are going crazy)?

Me neither.

Until I got a little closer.

Now you see it? Notice the nice, red, juicy tomato that it was guarding down in the corner?

Have I ever mentioned that I HATE spiders?

Ok…let’s be honest here. I have a deep-seated, admittedly irrational but no less real, fear of spiders.

Knowing that the fear is irrational, I do my best to overcome it and don’t let it keep me from living my life.

Let’s just say that we did have that tomato with dinner tonight and it was GOOD.

BTW: Perspective is a little difficult in photos sometimes so: including legs, that thing was about three inches across.

I’m very proud of myself that I overcame the chills enough to get close enough and get a couple of good shots of it. [shudder!] And I didn’t even kill it. I just knocked it down so I could get to the tomato. I realize that they’re useful creatures who get rid of other bugs that really are a nuisance…I already admitted that my fear is irrational didn’t I?

It’s probably out there right now, busily rebuilding its web [shudder again!]


8 thoughts on “The Garden Sentinel

  1. Mrs Hazmat says you had every right to almost destroy the tomato plant to kill said eight legged monster. I know she would have tap danced-ala Opus on the tulips in the comic strip Bloom County-all over everything trying to kill it.

    Either that, or she would have painted half the backyard white with Raid in an attempt to kill it.

  2. I remember as a kid looking for those up and down the creek back then carefully placing grasshoppers in the web to watch the spiders do their thing. Amazing creatures. The spider.. not so much the poor grasshoppers.

    I figure they're big enough to bite, eh? Never touched one. May have been a little crazy, but not stupid. Right?

  3. Heh, garden spiders LOVE stringing their webs across deer trails. When I'd go hiking around the lower fields I would wind up with a bunch of 'em crawling on me. I don't think they ever bit me.

    At least they are courteous enough to put the big white zig-zag flag in the middle of the web to give you some advance warning.

  4. I think these guys are a major reason WHY I'm afraid of spiders.

    When I was working in the corn fields in my youth, they used to make their webs in between the rows of corn.

    I don't know how many times I walked into one while detasseling or derogueing and ended up with a huge, ugly spider scurrying across my face. At which point I would scream like a little girl and enthusiastically begin the "GET THIS THING OFF OF ME!" dance.

    [big shudder!]

    I never got bit by one though. As many times as it happened without a bite leads me to believe that they don't bite people. Didn't make it any less traumatic to me back then and doesn't make me any less afraid of them now.

    BTW: These guys prompted my first forays into precision shooting. When I was a kid, I used to hunt them down around the house and shoot them with my air rifle. If you hit them squarely in the body, they explode quite nicely and leave legs and spider parts hanging from the web.

    A very satisfying end for such scary monsters.

  5. I never understood spider-phobia. I used to catch this kind (but not with my bare hands) and take them to the garden because I knew they were good for it. I never heard of anyone being bitten by the garden spider, but I suppose it's possible.

  6. That's why it's a phobia.

    It's not rational…which I freely admit.

    And I don't understand it myself. Believe me, I wish I didn't fear them. You have no idea how hard it was for me to get close enough to get those pictures. I have a hard time even looking at spiders without getting chills, feeling my heart race, tasting the coppery residue of adrenaline as the fight or flight instinct kicks in…over a harmless little bug (ok…arachnid).


    Unfortunately, knowing it's ridiculous doesn't keep it from happening.

  7. That's just a garden variety Garden Spider [pun intended]. Harmless to humans. But, yes, freakishly large. I haven't seen one for decades…of course, I live in a city now. As a kid, in my Grandmother's garden I was fascinated by them. She always took great care to leave them alone. Not out of fear, but because of their insect eating benefits.

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