Spider Village & Ladybug Land

When I was little I was deathly afraid of spiders.  So much so, that when I found a big ugly one on me in the night (circa 1983), I moved into my sister’s bedroom and slept on her floor for a whole month.  And no, it wasn’t the least bit comfortable.

As I’ve aged I’ve gotten past the terror a spider can induce.  I’ve matured.  I’ve come to realize that spiders are small creatures who for the most part mean us no harm.  We are the scary big monsters THEY cower in fear from and try to avoid.  Part of this is hogwash, I know, part is rationalization.  But for the most part it works.  I can calmly shoo a spider away when need be – or even catch it gently in a cup, paper pressed against the opening, to escort it outside.  I never kill spiders – they have their purpose after all, and I much prefer them to the biting insects they call food.

Anyway, the reason I am sharing this is b/c I spend a goodly portion of each day tending to a fire which consumes vast quantities of wood.  I wrote about this whole wood situation before (feel free to refresh your memories here).  We keep most of our wood stacked outside, but weekly my husband & I must bring in a new stash for burning.  This wood is home to many, many spiders.  For safety (and peace of mind) I wear protective leather work gloves while shifting wood, lest I get bitten by a startled arachnid.  But I can’t get past the paranoid fear that one day I will encounter a brown recluse and wind up losing an arm.

I know this is paranoia at its best.  These little spiders are terrified of me, stomping around in my heavy snow boots, cursing audibly with each heaving wheelbarrow of wood.  But it remains so firmly planted in my psyche that any time I get a tiny unexplained cut on my hand, I watch it the same way an underpaid office worker watches the clock.  I check it 60 times an hour, just waiting for it to change. IS IT GETTING BIGGER??  IT’S LOOKING BIGGER!! IS IT BUBBLING??!!

All of this is nonsense, of course.  I scratched my hand sweeping up debris from the floor, or caught it on [insert whatever it was] but the fear remains.  It doesn’t help that all this firewood we haul inside is stored in the hearth in our kitchen.  The room in which I spend most of my time.  And now that this firewood is stacked inside the warm & pleasant walls of our heated home, the formerly hibernating army of spiders living inside said wood is now WAKING UP.  And converting my kitchen into their Spider Village.

In the changing light you see them.  The vast network of spiderwebs dangling above our heads, crisscrossing the room from the windows to the doors.  I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been standing at the island, chopping or kneading or simply going about my business, only to look up and find a spider dangling inches from my face.  Looking at me as if to say, “What’s for Dinner?”

For the most part I don’t mind living amongst so many many-leggeds.  Sure a few of them are HUGE (we’re talking inches) but for the most part they’re very small.  And they do in fact seem to be helping us with the bugs.  Not that you’d expect a home in the dead winter of Maine to have an insect issue, but for some odd reason we do have them.  Not gross ones, no cockroaches or big scary beetles or anything.  No, we have ladybugs.

We noticed them right after we moved in.  It was hard not to, seeing as they’d taken over our attic.  At some point in the course of The Dole House’s long and illustrious history, these ladybugs took up residence and now, 600 generations later, we’re still sheltering their kin.  It was odd at first, finding we had so much company.  But over the past (almost) 18 months, we’ve gotten used to each other.  We no longer think it strange, the small piles of expired ladybugs trapped between the window frames and storms.  The ladybug corpses littering the window sills (which must be dusted periodically) or the occasional ladybug you find clutching onto a curtain.  For some reason, our younger daughter’s bedroom seems to be the ladybugs favorite room in the house.  Ladybug Land.  Our little girl spends her nights counting the tiny red dots on her ceiling, watching them weave their way from point to point.  They’re sweet really.  Perhaps if you look carefully you’ll find another world living inside your home, too.

0 thoughts on “Spider Village & Ladybug Land

  1. I don’t know; I definitely think vigilance is called for here. Your concern is exactly (probably) what would make sure you and your progeny live – evolutionarily speaking – than someone else’s.

    You can lose limbs! The cost-of-crazy ratio here is not out of whack. Vigilance!

  2. I can’t believe I am saying this, but – Hayden, they’re just SPIDERS!



    If there was any real danger, I’d eradicate the lots & lots of them. It’s okay. The spiders you need to fear (like Brown Recluse) hide. Yes, they do hide in wood. Hence the gloves and careful handling of said wood. BUT they don’t want anything to do with humans and will only come out of their hiding place if antagonized. Granted, hoisting up their home and tossing it into a metal wheelbarrow may be seen as antagonism, but I am not going to worry too much. It’s so cold here, I am covered up to the wazoo – no areas save for my face left vulnerable and the idea of one launching him/herself at my face pretty unlikely. It’s grabbing one (say lurking beneath a log) when shifting the wood that’s the most vexing. But the gloves are thick and it’s too honkin cold here to spend time fretting over “what ifs.”

    The ladybugs I like. They are cheerful and cute. And said to be lucky. I am hoping that works in my favor. 😉


    1. Tony, it amazes me to think even 20 years ago I would scream whenever I saw a spider, and now I am living among them w/out fear. I must officially be a “grown up.”

  3. Do the cool spiders spell out messages like, “eat more pig!”, wait, no, that’s not right…

    Good to hear that you’ve embraced our arachnid overlords.

    I found two ladybugs in the coils of a CFL, their red tint burnt off to white. They’re like creepy albino things now and even though they’re quite dead, I haven’t gotten uncreeped enough to remove them.

    1. Just now I was making a sandwich for lunch and one scooted past me on the counter. I watched long enough to make sure it didn’t climb aboard what I was eating, and then we both went on our merry ways. They don’t mind me, I don’t mind them.

      I have seen very light colored ladybugs – orange, maybe even yellow, but (even as pale as I AM) I think the white ones would creep me out a bit too.

  4. That’s just creepy and the very reason we leave our wood in the attached garage until ready to put into the firebox. Of course, we only burn recreationally, not professionally like you do.

    1. In the summer we plan on rebuilding our back porch and are going to incorporate some sort of shed-like holding area for the wood – where it can stay dry and well w/in reach w/out having to be stacked in our kitchen. This is partly b/c we’re planning on purchasing a 2nd wood stove (for the kitchen) which will necessitate leaving the wood outside. My husband also wants to build a second wood shed further away from the house for the backup wood. WOOD WOOD WOOD. Yes, I do feel like a professional wood hauler & burner most days.

  5. When we got our place in VT, our realtor mentioned that during one week of the year, ladybugs swarm the area, and we can expect to find them in windows, in the rooms, etc. Since we are not at the cabin all the time, we’ve only experienced the onslaught once (and truthfully, I can’t remember the week or month.) Anyway, there were dozens and dozens of them, especially on the second floor. And I remember by the week’s end as we were heading home they disappeared. The cycle of life continues to play itself out and we, participants and observers.

    1. HAPPY (almost) BIRTHDAY, RON!!! Thanks for sharing this. It adds yet another colorful image to my favorite place on earth.. Hope you & M. are very well. We send our love XOXO

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