Monday, October 26

Who cares about snakes, I am scared of SPIDERS!

I have blogged about my snake "issue". When you live in the country you have snakes. When you have chickens you have even more snakes. Snakes are a part of life out here and they scare me a bit, but unlike my husband I am not terrified of them. I figure if one of us gets bit we will be fine. Scared almost to death, sure, but we will live.

Well, now I have met my true match, face-to-face. I have to confess I have an unreasonable fear of spiders.

Don't misunderstand me, in many ways I love spiders. They can be beautiful and I love looking at their spectacular webs, especially in the mornings and after soft rains when they are covered in dew. Very lovely. I also adore the fact they eat annoying insects like flies and mosquitoes. Thank you for that spiders.

I am also a bit superstitious and if I find one inside I try to rescue it and put it outside, if possible. I never squish spiders under my feet (gross) and I try to limit how many I flush down the commode. As little Imp says, "Poor spider!".

My kids love and respect spiders also. However, they don't have the natural fear of them that they should. Too much Bear Grylls as I mentioned before... I want my boys to be manly men eventually and be able to scoop up spiders that scare their girlfriends. I am proud they love nature and all living things (other than fire ants and mosquitoes). However, there are some things we should fear.

So yesterday late afternoon the boys were playing on the back porch. I noticed they had found something interesting and were examining it, but they do that all of the time with beetles, doodlebugs, butterflies, geckos, etc. Finally I go over there to see what they are so excited about and it is a black spider. A pretty shiny black spider with 4 tiny red dots down its back.

"What a pretty black spider" I tell the boys as I am poking it with a tiny leaf to move it away from my back door. Sure, I know a little about spiders and one year I even dressed as a black widow for Halloween. I will never forget that costume my Mom made me. Unfortunately we under-stuffed the 8 arms and they were a bit floppy and I didn't win the costume contest or even place in it, but I loved that costume.

Luckily for my dear boys I am a bit of a self-proclaimed spider expert and I knew that black widows had an red hourglass on their backs. And this one had cute little shiny red dots. Pretty spider.

As I was playing with my pretty little spider I accidentally flipped it over. And my heart almost stopped. Pretty little spider had a lovely red hourglass on its tummy. Pretty little black shiny spider was a BLACK WIDOW!

I have lived in this area my entire life and never seen a real black widow spider. I instantly jumped up and grabbed the boys and looked at their bare feet and asked "did either one of you get bit?". They assured me no, but Imp had a little red bite on his foot (a fire ant bite, but I was not sure at the time). I grabbed a glass jar, shoved the spider in there with a stick (to show the doctors in case my boys were bit, Moms are fearless when their kids are involved) and dragged them inside to wash and inspect their feet/legs and make sure they did not start getting terribly ill.

My boys were fine, thank goodness. And when Dad got home I showed him our little pretty friend in the glass bottle. Please don't read the rest of this paragraph if you are P.E.T.A. or have a soft spot for black widow spiders playing around your children. My dear sweet husband poured rubbing alcohol in the bottle and after some time the spider got drunk and passed out. She is still passed out today so I guess she is sleeping off her binge. ;-)

Now her little bottle is sitting on my kitchen windowsill so I can be reminded of the dangers outside... I hate to use any type of poisons around my yard, but this one time I am going to buy some pesticides and spray around my house. If there is one black widow out there, there are probably more and I think I am not a huge fan on my boys playing with black widow spiders.

Now I must mention Photoshop and Photoshop Elements or all of my google ads will be about spiders. :-) I actually used Lightroom to process those images above and just cropped them down in CS4. I was a bit too overwhelmed to take my camera out yesterday and photograph my little spider friend before she "passed out", so the images were taken today in my kitchen. No natural light, it is horribly stormy today. Hopefully the rain will wash all of the black widows away.

Did I mention that we don't have screens on most of our windows and my husband told me that it might be a good idea to not leave the windows open for a while? He used to say that because of the snakes (we found one in the toilet long ago, but that is another story for another day, but always look in a toilet BEFORE sitting down) but now I am more willing to listen to him because of the black widows. Don't want one of those in my bed!

And I also realize I am NOT a spider expert. In fact, I am an idiot when it comes to spiders, and I am going to make sure my boys both have a healthy fear of all spiders, just in case. We do have brown recluse spiders out here and I am afraid they might look a bit like Charlotte. Next time we read that book I will mention that Charlotte can bite and it is best to leave her alone.

Oh, and no more sticking bare feet in our rubber boots...


  1. You sound so much calmer than I would be. Snakes in the widow spiders!! Spiders, snakes and creepy crawler creatures freak me out. I know I'm very irrational about my fear because I realize I'm thousands of times bigger than they are, but I still can't help it. People at work get a big laugh when something crawls across the floor and I yelp "what is that!" as I hop onto my desk. :) Be careful!!

  2. I am with you on the spiders and where I am from (the dry side of Washington State) we too have black widows. My husband has found several in the garage already this fall so they must be having a good year!!! I too am going to spray, cause you are right, with little ones running around and climbing on bikes and slipping on just can't take that chance!

    (I do have to admit you are a much braver woman than I am...I have never taken a photo of one!)

  3. You do sound very calm. We only get black widow spiders upcountry, which is of course where we want to move to. I am definitely one of those with a spider phobia, but it seems to be contained to the great big hulking wolf spiders. For now.

    Snakes in the toilets? Oh, ah, no, thankyou very much.

    I guess I won't mention it to my snake phobia freaked out husband. Where do you guys live?


  4. Oufff! Scary... happy that your boys are safe. I would have freeked out. We are lucky here In Ottawa Canada I don't think we have them or any snakes that could kill us. Have a good week and spray all the insectices you wish, I know I would do the same.

  5. Yikes! I am so glad I don't have boys! I hate spiders and spend $500 a year to have my house and exterior treated for pests. We back to the woods and there are tons of critters around here!

  6. YIKES!!! I would have totally freaked out...hope you don't see many more of those! Happy Monday!

  7. I have always loved reading your blog for the free actions and storyboards, but I just have to say this entry was so funny! Thanks for your cute humor on this cold wintry day in Utah! :) Good luck with the de-spidering!

  8. Yes, so glad the boys are've made me appreciate raising my 4 kids in Ohio...maybe not so bad after all!

  9. Just for your information, since you don't like pesticides. Black widow spiders don't like eucalyptus, especially lemon eucalyptus. I have a bottle of the essential oil I keep. I just mix with water, shake and spray on whatever takes my fancy. I soak cottonballs with it and leave it in my shed.

  10. I have a completely irrational fear of spiders. I never knew that about the red hourglass on the black widow, thanks for the learning lesson.


  12. ACK!!! Not cool!!!! :S We have nasty big spiders here and I hate them too!!!!

    Also, I'm not even sure if you accept blog awards, but I loooooooooove your blog so much I'm giving you one!!! :D

    Thanks so much for all you do!

  13. I live in an older house that was formerly occupied by an elderly gentleman with didn't do any kind of pest control (or trash control or weed control or any control of any sort). It is not uncommon to kill at least 5 black widows a week. No joke. And the number goes up when I'm doing yard work or outdoor stuff. And yes, they get smooshed with whatever object is nearest, or my sneakered foot.

    Thank goodness though, none have been spotted inside the house.

  14. I just recently watched a show where a lil boy was stung by a black widow and the tell all sign- THE RED HOUR GLASS SHAPE on it! YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Gah! I also don't normally fear spiders...but am also totally freaked by Black Widows! I found one once while moving slate rocks...just a small one . He or she promptly met the flat side of another rock. But that is the ONLY one I've ever seen. Strange.

    And thanks TygerMae for the eucalyptus idea! I love it.

    I always check toilets before sitting down. My story doesn't involve snakes - but a wayward bat. *shiver*

  16. Great story. Here in Australia we have some monster spiders- and the most poisonous spiders on earth. They can be very scary!

  17. OMG...that would totally freak me out! I have a scar on the back of my thigh from being bitten by a brown recluse.

    Thankfully I was 4 and don't recall the incident!

  18. I have seen so many black widows I can now tell them just by their shape. But I have NEVER seen black dots on their back like that! I totally have the shivers now! Oh and their webs are much 'stickier' than regular spiders. I can always tell when I am in the garden if I get into a widow web EWWWWW Gross!

    I am going to try some lemon eucalyptus!

  19. That just gives me chills. I have found 3 black widow spiders dead(thank goodness) around my house!

  20. I'm always looking for ways to fix my overexposed photos (mainly due to flash). Perhaps you can write an action that helps with that? It would be much appreciated! ;-)

  21. I know this is old, but I'm just now reading your black widow post. Wow....Used to be very irrational with my fear of spiders but after having children and pretending to not be scared of them, I'm not as much anymore. I think I would have a heart attack though if I found my children playing with one of those....Glad that things worked out the way they did!! And thank you by the way for all the free actions that I am addicted to downloading the last few weeks. :)


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