Busy Little… Spider?

This is Charlotte. Charlotte is a garden spider (Argiope aurantia) who annually makes our home her home. Though of course it isn’t the same spider year to year, we always call her Charlotte. She used to always make her web on or beside the back porch, but she has moved to a sunny spot in a corner over the past couple of years.

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Each year, female garden spiders lay eggs, which they enclose in durable webbing sacs to protect them through the winter. Then, in the spring, these eggs hatch, and tiny spider hatchlings come out to make their own webs or fly away on bits of thread to find new homes – just like at the end of Charlotte’s Web.

Normally, you see one big brown egg sac on Charlotte’s web every fall. This year she’s been especially busy, however. Not one, not two, but three egg sacs adorn Charlotte’s web. We may have a whole family of Charlottes next spring!

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Window Frog

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Window Frog

In the summer, the many insects that live out here in the country are drawn to the light coming from our windows at night. These, in turn, draw these cute little frogs. They stick to the window, as you see here, and crawl along munching the insects. It’s pretty adorable.

A Bouquet of Beautiful Blooms

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Like most girls, I really love flowers. I’m picky, though. Not only do I want my flowers to look beautiful, I also want them to have a beautiful fragrance. This is why I think peonies are the perfect spring flowers. They produce big, extravagant blooms with a gorgeous fragrance that washes over you whenever you come near them.

These particular blooms grow on plants given to us by my great-aunt. That’s one of the reasons that these plants have so many blooms: they’re old. The older the peony, the better they do! One of the best things about them is that they can be split as they grow to make more and more peonies! That way you can expand your beds or give them as gifts. And really, what could be a better gift that a peony root?

Birds of a Feather

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Birds of a Feather

We have bird feeders hanging in a maple tree in our back yard, where we can watch the birds from the breakfast table or the back porch. We get all kinds of birds, and enjoy seeing them come and go. These net feeders and the thistle seed in them is designed to be particularly appealing to finches, and every morning they are covered with them.

Black-capped chickadees are one of the few other species of bird that can easily eat from this type of feeder. Though I had hoped to get a picture of lots of birds crowding the feeder, when I got close enough to take the picture (more evidence of my need for a fancier camera), the finches flew away. The chickadees are apparently much less shy, however, as they quickly came right back to their breakfast.

The chickadee’s small size and distinctive markings make them just as cute and interesting to look at as the finches. There are at least three in this picture; they are perched in the tree as well as on the feeder. There were even more outside of the shot.