Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lessons from Nature & More Giveaways!

Sometimes the best lessons come from nature. Now I promise you that even if nature gave me a lesson that involved a snake, the only way you'd see a picture of it on here is if it was dead.....because I wouldn't be close enough to get a picture of it....! lol! But some folks could feel that way about spiders, and I hope I don't gross you out here, but we have a couple that have made their home right outside ours. It made us dig a little deeper and see what kind of spider we had and read up on them a little bit!

First of all, meet Charlotte (named by Joy). She lives right off our carport (way up high).

She is a Black and Yellow Argiope (so says our pocket guide). She wears these colors to confuse predators into thinking she could possibly be a stinging yellow jacket! She actually has a beautifully woven web. She will kind of bounce up and down when we walk by sometimes. We read that they do this as a defense mechanism counting on the fact that most people are scared of spiders, especially with her bold yellow color and the fact that she is pretty big! She doesn't want anyone walking into her web and ruining all of her hard work of many hours! (And not to worry, I'd rather her warn me because I wouldn't WANT to walk into it!)

Here she is a little closer (and don't worry...I used my super duper lens to get close....I wouldn't be that close to a spider even if I was studying it!)

And now this is the same type of spider, named Spidey (by Joy also), that lives on the back side of our house near the outside water faucet.

She makes it very difficult to get to the water hose. Joy won't go anywhere near there and I have to admit....I'm a little skiddish! But this is what she does when you go near....she doesn't bother bobbing up and down....she takes off and runs down her web to the side of the house and turns upside down and hangs there until you go away and leave her alone!

She normally sits right in the middle of the web. I've noticed their webs always have this zig zag pattern in the very center:

We read that the female will have a large sac of eggs somewhere near the edge of the web. Now we couldn't find any in Charlotte's web, but we found this huge sac (probably 1" across) to the edge of Spidey's web.

We also read that often there is a male that lives in a smaller web at the edge of the female's! We kind of laughed at the fact that the male gets a small apartment to the side, while she gets the beautifully decorated mansion of a web! lol! But...unfortunately, we couldn't find anything resembling a side web with a male spider living there! (Maybe she ran him off already???) :)

And on a better and not so gross side of nature, we have our black swallowtail caterpillar given to us last Tuesday by a fellow homeschooling mom. She managed to obtain quite a few of these and offered them to homes willing to take them! Through the years with Colt and then later with Joy, we were able to watch Monarch caterpillars transform into beautiful butterflies. It was and is the most awesome thing to witness. If you happen to be there the moment that they come out of their chrysalis and go from crumpled wings to pumping them into large beautiful wings....you witness a miracle! We were fortunate enough to be able to take them out and release them! It was really something to witness! So...we were very excited to obtain this black swallowtail caterpillar. Our caterpillar's name is Herbie Lace (named by guess who again).

Herbie Lace ate and ate and ate for days......lots and lots of parsley. We watched Herbie go from a smaller caterpillar to a quite fat one! Then on Saturday, Herbie climbed up on the stem and hung in this hook position. From our experience with caterpillars before, I knew Herbie was preparing for the next stage....chrysalis!

And after church on Sunday, we came in and found Herbie in chrysalis form. You could actually see part of the skin that was shed at the bottom of the jar. Joy actually noticed it first. I also didn't expect the chrysalis it to be so green.....kind of blends in with the parsley!

Notice how the chrysalis looks like it has little ears at the top and if you look closely, you can see the sticky silky strings attaching it to the stem! It looks so delicate, but yet so firm!

And just think one day, we'll have a black swallowtail butterly! I don't really know how long it will take for the butterfly to emerge....but I hope we're here when it happens. So far we've been blessed to either see the others right when the chrysalis started moving and the butterfly started breaking through or when it had just come out. It's absolutely awesome! And to think God made them and designed them to do just that.....is just amazing to me! (When we have a butterfly, I will share pictures....if all goes well). And we'll find out hopefully if we have a "mother" butterfly or the mate by the color markings.

And that is your lesson from nature for today (thanks for hanging in there with me). We kind of get excited about this kind of stuff! I love it when we get little extras like that! I consider it a blessing! I want my kids to see the little things God took the time to create and the details involved!

And on another note......More Giveaways!

First of all Cozy Coops is having a wonderful fall giveaway...and a very generous one! Be sure to click on over and sign up!

And..The Noble Wife is having a wonderful Christmas giveaway! I love anything to do with Christmas, so this was exciting too! Hop on over and sign up for this generous one too!


Kindra-At Home With K said...

Hi Tammy!
I'm back!! I have a lot of catching up to do! Lots of fun giveaways to enter!! YUM!

Well your spiders/webs looks like my house! We have those huge webs outside our bedroom. There are 2 large ones in between 2 trees. And many more around the edges of our house. They came around the same time last year. I don't really care for them. :(

Have a great day, my friend!

Another Mom on the Internet said...

I had to laugh @ he get's the small apoartment, she gets the mansion.

It would be so neat to watch the transformation of a butterfly. I may have to look into that for my kidlets!

Leslie said...

Now I know what those spiders are! Shane just calls them garden spiders because we tend to find most of ours in the plants or nearby them. I also know what that BIG ugly egg sac belongs to on the web on the porch! They really are freaky looking! I will have to share this info with Shane. He will be so happy. Shane loves to learn about things in the wild and we often have to do searches for this stuff.

What a great lesson :)

Have a great day!


Deb said...

Oh Tammy! Now I have the creepy crawlies. Yikes! Deb

Something Nice and Pretty said...

I have the creepy crawlies too! Maybe you would like to veiw the bat that hangs by the corner of our front door.LOL I wondered what was always on the poch floor whenever I swept it and showed Stush...he said "That's from a bat that hangs there evernight" Talk about freaking out!!! No... I never go out they way in the dark anymore.

Yankee Ridge Primitives said...

OMG, no thanks! I wouldnt get that close to a spider if ya paid me. I am deathly afraid of them. If I see one bigger than a dime I loose my voice for days from screaming.

Michele said...

Hi Tammy...omg, thank you so much for that nature lesson!!! I wish my kids were young again so we could enjoy those kinds of things. I'm not a huge fan of spiders, but do enjoy seeing the different kinds that are outside our house!

Have a great day!

Angie said...

Ohhh Tammy...

Now ya have to know how much I like you because I read the entire post...even though I am extremely freaked out by spiders! If I saw a spider like that on my house...you wouldn't find me taking a picture of it...no way! And, uhhh, do you know how many spiders are in that egg sack ready to be born ON YOUR HOUSE!!! AHHHHHHHHH!! Oh my gosh..now we did have a butterfly house for a few years. I would send away for some caterpillars and then we would watch them becomes butterflies. The kids loved it! It sure is amazing!


Daffodil Hill said...

Your blog brings back so many sweet memories of our homeschooling days. Over the years, we watched our share of spiders, insects, and other critters. If Joy hasn't had the pleasure of watching chicks hatch or baby kittens born, don't miss out on those experiences. They are amazing!

Michele P. said...

although I can't stand spiders and don't like looking at pics of them usually, I was intrigued by your pics and loved reading the spiders reaction to whenever you came around. Now with Charlotte bobbing up and down, I doubt I would get close to her-wonder what happened to Spideys' husband... great pic of the egg sac though, you will have lots of little babies scattered about!

Linda - Behind My Red Door said...

I used to enjoy those lessons when I was teachng school but now when I see a web, I cringe! We had a huge web outside the dining room window and I watched it grow everyday - until I accidentally walked into it. EWWW! LOL

Linda ★ Parker's General said...

I loved the nature walk. We grow butterfly weed, butterfly bushes and milkweed especially for the monarchs. We have dozens of chrysallis hanging everywhere in that garden. We have been watching them burst from these and spread their crumpled wings and gain strength to fly away for Mexico.
We have lots of tree frogs, too. They are so cute and funny. Spiders are welcome in our garden, too. They are fascinating to watch. No squemish Grandmas around here.....Thanks for the science--makes me miss school.....

Julie said...

Great photos--webs always fascinate me, even if spiders scare me. There are a lot object lessons that can come from a spider web. Thanks for sharing...julie

Colleen/And Baby Makes Five said...

We seem to have loads of webs around here this year, too, Tammy -- though our spiders seem to be of a kinder, gentler nature. Your info was fascinating ... especially to Connor :)

Hope your day's going well, my friend!

Anonymous said...

hey Tammy, we have a really cool huge spider web on our front porch also!! very interesting!! I was looking out the front window and saw this black thing bopping in the wind and thought it was a leaf or something but it never went down and then I realized it was a spider (big fat black one!) I havent gotten close enough but we have a homemade Halloween decoration!!

thanks for sharing, your spider is actually cool and you are right, it is a great lesson for Joy.


Farmhouse Blessings said...

Excuse me, but are those fangs I see? No lens is long enough for me and spiders. We have been flooded with black widows lately. We've encountered 4 already and believe me, I don't get close enough for a nature study. But I love that you did really. All of God's creatures are so wonderfully created, aren't they?


the said...

EEWWWW ! I hate spiders ! They are every where right now and I have named everyone one of them Charlette :)
I know we need them for something in our yards, but they disgust me ...
have a great evening :)

Samantha said...

Hi Tammy, thanks for mentioning my giveaway!
We have a lot of spiders and webs around our house (and in our house, truth be told.....) I try to never kill them, since they eat the bad bugs in the garden. I just try to ignore them! Some of the webs just amaze me, the size and intricacy- talk about works of art!