Sunday, May 1, 2011

How To Be Certain My Mother Never Sets Foot in the Greenhouse Again

This post is not for the faint of heart.  Mom, really, I don't think you should look any further.  Don't bother asking dad to read this and tell you what it's about.  Really.  Just skip today.

Imagine the scene.  I had just spent an hour in the garden, happily removing weeds, discovering what made it through the winter and planting my peas.  I have great plans for my garden this year, as you may have read.

It was getting dark, so I figured I could still work in the greenhouse, repotting things that are already outgrowing their little cubicles.  I brought in some compost from my garden.  I went into the house to get my headlamp so I would have some light.  I happily sat down, right on the gravel, and repotted a lot of things.

I started new peas.  Planting in succession is something I became a master at with beans last year, so I figure I will do it with other stuff too since I have the greenhouse.

I gave up on some cucumbers that are not performing and decided to try another variety that I bought this year.  (2 of my seeds  packets from 2008 did not grow at all.  I never worry about the year because I find that most stuff still grows years after I buy them.  Not these guys, though.)

I was a pig in shit out there.

I wrote my notes, crossed out things I had tossed out, added my new stuff.

I was just about to leave and decided I should probably put some of those little fiber discs in some moisture so I can go start some more fragile seeds tomorrow.  I dropped one and this is what I saw.
 I had been sitting on this very gravel, not 5 minutes before.  Barehanded in my compost bucket.  Oblivious that the greenhouse is still really just "outside" and there are critters.  Did you get a good look?  Oh, here it is a little closer.
I know you southern ladies have to worry about the Brown Recluse and Black Widows and terribly poisonous things.  We northerners aren't supposed to have scary spiders.  This this is like Daddylongleg size, but with much thicker legs and a real spider body, not that little dinky things that Daddylonglegs have. 

However, we seem to breed some very scary spiders here on the compound.  When I used to clean the restrooms in the campground, I would often find these where it was really damp.  They were usually dead, so I was OK with that.  K-ster says he has seen some whoppers out in the outdoor shower, which is sad because I do love to take showers outside at night.  I like to pretend they are definitely not out there.  One time, I even found one in my INSIDE shower.  I was pretty upset about that.  These things walk on water and they are hard to kill. 

I have learned that they really like water and damp places.  These are the top 2 descriptors for my old, dirt cellar.  My fear is that there are hundreds of these things down there just waiting for the right moment to jump out at me.

Outside, I never kill spiders.  I do believe they are beneficial and leave them alone.  But inside?  Unless they are the clear brown kind that hang out way up on the wall in my bathroom?  No way.  When something looks this mean and it's in my house, it's all over.

You might remember the incident I described last year, wherein there was one of these same a-hole spiders IN MY BATHROOM and I tried to climb out the window.  I'm not kidding, go look.  Spiders really cause this out of control feeling in me.

How can a gardener be so out of control over a spider?  How could I have just been up to my elbows in dirt and probably 50 of these things a few minutes before, but then when one is in my greenhouse totally lose it?

I can't explain it.

Usually, when I have something on me, like a bug, I don't scream and freak out.  I usually gasp, fling it off, wish I had screamed and then shrug and carry on.  I've had some spiders on me in the garden, like normal spiders, and I do just that.  Or, when I see them on the ground ahead of me, I just push them with a shovel or whatever.

But something different happens to me when I see spiders like this.  Especially in my house, and now, it seems, my greenhouse too.  There is this turmoil in my gut that makes me want to make awful noises.  I assure you, if one of these bastards is EVER on my body, there will be such visceral screams and gutteral utterings, you will be able to hear them wherever you live.  If you really want to see me lost my shit, something I really don't do very often, put one of these babies on me.  I don't know exactly where my viscera are, but you can be sure I will find them on that day so I can utter their screams.

If I had to make a list of 3 things I am most terrified of in  my life, I do believe that spiders larger than the size of a quarter would be the #1 thing.  I wanted to put something near this one so you could see how big it really was, but I was afraid it might be one of those jumping spiders and jump up and land on my face and be like an octopus and try to rip my face off.  So you will have to trust me, it was bigger than a quarter.  Bigger than a half dollar.

My mother is equally out of her mind over spiders, so if she sees one of these she won't be visiting my greenhouse very often.

Oh, and if you're an arachnologist (whatever they are called) and you  know what spider variety this is, please do share the name and scariness level of the venom in this kind of spider.  Sadly, I suspect it is totally native to the area, harmless and just likes water and damp places.


  1. Don't know what kind of spider, but would totally have screamed and then gotten all squidgy inside about it.
    I hate spiders and creepy crawly things.

  2. VandyJ, SQUIDGY is a perfect word to describe the pure horror in body that these things create!!!

  3. Eek! I don't like spiders at all. I've had a couple of really bad spider bites in my life and they're horrible.

    (But I'm really, really scared of snakes.)

  4. We have a no tolerance rule for spiders in the house. The minute you see one it must be killed. But I agree that outside they're beneficial. I don't know how I feel about them being in the greenhouse, but I think you're crazy for sitting on the ground out there in the dark anyway!

  5. That picture made me shiver! I hate spiders too!!

  6. yikes!!! I'd have jumped a mile!!

  7. That thing right there is a Hobo Spider

  8. eeeeeeeeekkkkk! How fitting for Halloween today. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your spider story. My little guy is still living there outside. I wish he would find a new home.


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