Aug 20 2008

Along came a spider…..

Yellow Garden Spider found by the wheel

I spotted this *little* fellow as I sat down at my wheel the other evening. These yellow garden spiders usually live outside but somehow this one had made its way inside.

Spider set free onto elephant ear leaf outside

These spiders (unlike black widows, brown widows, and brown recluses , among others) don’t really concern me too much since they are not aggressive and just eat insects. Still… the size, especially if you are not accustomed to them, could be quite disconcerting (hopefully the photo with my hand will give some idea of scale). Thankfully I’m not petrified of spiders so I trapped this one in an empty yogurt container and put her back outside.

Anyone who does anything with clay in the south, I am sure, are already quite familiar with the mud dauber wasp that takes bits of clay and builds tube-like structures where its larvae can grow to maturity. Apparently they are natural enemies to black widow spiders! Knowing that, I will think twice about removing a nest that’s stuck to a beam, wall, or post the next time I see one, especially around the studio.


Apr 2 2008

Spring is here

Pink AzaleasI’ve been down here on the Gulf Coast now for about 8 years now. While I don’t care for the oppressive humidity in summer or hurricanes, I do like the fact that when I get the Feb-March gardening jitters and break out the seed catalogs, I know spring really is right around the corner. The unfortunate thing is it makes it very hard to be in the studio because you just know that if you don’t get out there asap, the weeds will take over and you never seem to catch up.

Our area is considered ‘sub-tropical’ which means we can grow certain varieties of citrus that will tolerate mild winter freezes including Meyers lemons and satsumas, as well as other plants too that could only be grown as houseplants or annuals further north. Here are just a few examples of what we have growing: a spineless yucca, a philodendron, and a loquat.

Spineless Yucca

Philodendron

Loquat tree



Sep 30 2007

Around the studio

Since I moved my wheel outside, I’ve noticed a surprising number of new little creatures that I probably wouldn’t normally see on my usual trip to the studio. Gekkos, Red headed skinks (a lizard), blue racer skinks, crab spiders, a rainbow of different colored dragonflies, etc., all going about their business seemingly undisturbed by my presence and the constant hum of the wheel. A great place to look for design inspiration.

Saw this unusual little fellow hanging out on a loquat leaf around dusk. His/her body alone was close to an inch long. Always suspect of unusual looking bugs since moving to the south, I checked online to make sure he/she wasn’t venomous. From the Dave’s Garden web site (a great gardener’s resource, btw), I learned he/she was a “Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans)” that loves to eat bugs (including wasps) but is not known to bite humans. I was glad to know that since the plants in that part of my garden, especially my gardenia, have had a bit of an aphid problem the last 2 yrs. I’m always in favor of a natural predator vs using pesticides.