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Assorted Wildlife, Honey Bees, Latin Literature

deos tauri, mulieres in aranearum,in lupos hominum mutationem

A reference to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the Roman poet’s history of the world. But the quote is not from that work, not originally Latin: gods into bulls, women into spiders, men into wolves. It is from Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, harking back to Ovid’s retelling of history through stories of transformation (bad Latin translation is down to me).

cheryl_november 2015

Not sure if setting up house here was the wisest decision….

What I am most interested in is the story of woman into spider: Arachne, mortal woman, weaver changed into a spider after losing a challenge to Athena, goddess of wisdom as well as crafts.

Another spider that may well be on the losing end of a challenging situation is our Cheryl, our resident Araneus diadematus, or garden spider. We have called her Cheryl (British pronunciation with the hard ‘ch’) because it would be rude not to name as she has taken up residence in our bathroom lo these past few months. It only seems right that we be on a first name basis, given the ‘sights’ she has seen in her orb above the toilet….

You will note, though, for a garden spider she is rather noticeably not in the garden. When she first set up house we were a bit concerned and wondered if we should escort her out of the building. What would she eat? With whom would she mate? We eventually felt that nature would have to take its course, as it were. After all, it was her decision. Who were we to gainsay it?  We have helped a bit by lobbing a few dead flies onto her web, and she has managed to capture a few flying things herself. But I am afraid she is on her own when it comes to mating.  I’m just waiting for her to pack her bags so I can clean the spider poop from the window….

Female garden spiders die in late autumn protecting their egg sacs. Cheryl is exhibiting this behavior: as you can see from the photo, she is regularly retreating to the corner of the window. But does she have any eggs, and if she does how on earth or in the bathroom did she get them?

Still collecting

The bees were out and about on Friday as we had a rather warmish day. Pickings are slim around this time of year. But if you remember from some of my posts last year, the go-to source for food on warms days for all insects is the Fatsia Japonica. I didn’t get out to get a photo until today, not a very good day, and could only capture a lonely fly perusing it:

Fatsia_November 2015

Can you find the fly?

An  accounting

Of myself and my absence from the blogosphere for over a month. See, I’ve undergone a bit of a transformation myself: from home-worker to office worker, at least part time. So, I have been quite remiss in my blog reading, catching up with everyone.  It may take a bit of time….


13 thoughts on “deos tauri, mulieres in aranearum,in lupos hominum mutationem

  1. Welcome back. I have often ‘kept’ a kitchen spider through the summer. I dispatch it if it gets too large or spooky–often putting it outside. I know another (hopefully smaller one) will take up the prime location. I am afraid of spiders, but we have made our peace. They get the outdoors and I am queen of the indoors. I’ll tolerate them indoors, but by my rules.

    Posted by avwalters | November 29, 2015, 6:44 pm
    • Exactly my philosophy! After all, they wouldn’t be too happy if we were stomping around in their territory. I must admit that previously I would treat one of them as they would an unsuspecting victim flying into their webs. But garden spiders, their laid back attitude to predation, have softened me somewhat. However, if one decides to park itself above my head when I am in bed, all bets are off!

      Posted by mylatinnotebook | November 29, 2015, 7:53 pm
  2. Love the name Cheryl. I never mind spiders in my house and leave them alone to catch…whatever they can. Glad you’re back–don’t be a stranger!

    Posted by Tina | November 30, 2015, 5:53 pm
    • Not a big fan of the ones that are the size of buicks running across the living room floor. Trying to keep up with everything but work has a habit of getting in the way. Still, balm for the soul to see all the lovely color in Texas…

      Posted by mylatinnotebook | December 4, 2015, 7:31 pm
  3. I leave the spiders be…. They don’t eat much… I had the cutest jumping spider in my bathroom until it got stepped on… I felt awful….

    Posted by Rambling Woods | December 2, 2015, 5:39 am
    • Yes, but what if you are lying in bed and look up to see one right above your head? i have seen those little jumping spiders on tv. They are cute, but that jumping would unsettle me a bit. Was thinking of you the other day as I have a friend currently involved in hedgehog rescue….

      Posted by mylatinnotebook | December 4, 2015, 7:34 pm
      • I hope that the hedgehog can be caught and taken to rehab.. I hope I never have to catch one.. The jumping spiders are tiny and not scary at all. If there is a spider in the bedroom over my head, I invite it into the office instead….

        Posted by Rambling Woods | December 5, 2015, 5:00 am
      • The hedgehog (Scout) lived off my friends the summer long but still managed to face winter underweight. So they decided to take it indoors (after wildlife expert advice) to which kindness it thanked them by promptly dropping more pounds at an alarming rate. So now Scout is in hedgehog hospital undergoing a course for worms. No progress report yet. Hedgehog populations are declining here so I guess such measures can be justified. But you know how I am about interfering too much with nature. The ones (not necessarily my friends) who are mooning over hedgehogs are the same ones who have such over-manicured gardens as to deprive hedgehogs of a comfortable habitat. Is taking them in in winter and having hedgehog hospitals really going to solve the problem?

        Posted by mylatinnotebook | December 5, 2015, 12:00 pm
  4. We keep an old glass jar and a piece of card to hand for humane removal of spidery friends and it sometimes feels like we are only borrowing the house from them.
    Saw some fatsia the other day with wasps and bumblebees, very popular.

    Posted by philipstrange | December 3, 2015, 4:05 pm
    • My husband is always diving into the recycling looking for yogurt pots etc when he wants to escort a spider from the building, which he rarely wants to do. It’s me that makes him. Yes, I believe the frame for this house is held together by spiders….

      Posted by mylatinnotebook | December 4, 2015, 7:37 pm
  5. You are very tolerant for sharing your bathroom with Cheryl. I appreciate the story of Arachne too, and the usefulness of spiders, but they give me the creeps more than any other creature on the planet.

    Posted by Emily Scott | December 4, 2015, 7:30 am

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