Thursday, August 11, 2011

In Which We Live and Let Live

One of the things I love about the concept of what we're going to be doing is that it gives us a great deal of time to explore when we're done with our core work.  And there's oh so much to explore. 

Meet Charlotte:
(Photo courtesy of Logan).  She's an ENORMOUS (probably a good 3.5-4 inches from leg tip to leg tip) black and yellow spider who has taken up residence on a hosta bush at grandma's house near the pool.  Also called writing spiders because of the distinctive zig-zag central line they draw in their webs, these scary things are harmless to humans (other than scaring the bejeebus out of you if you find one on yourself!) which was good news for this spider since the kids were certain it must be poisonous and wanted to kill it ASAP.  Now that she's non-venomous to us, they're fascinated with her.

These super neat spiders are different than almost anything in nature we've read about because the females are both larger and more colorful.  Males are small and brown.  Riley argued with me that I had it backwards and gave me specific examples of every bird we've spotted this summer.  Cardinals, blue jays, orioles, the boys are bright and the girls are ugly.  I liked that he remembered :)

The spider also eats the center of its web every night to recycle the chemicals used in web-making and then respins the center and the zigzag (called a stabilimentum).  The kids spent the night at grandma's last night and armed with the knowledge their would be a new web this morning, Logan was outside at the crack of dawn to take a good picture.

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