As a life-long arachnophobe, I find it very strange that I am fascinated by this lovely lady (Perhaps I’m unconsciously doing some amateur exposure therapy!). She has very graciously taken up residence just off our porch, allowing us to watch her re-spin her web every morning while enjoying our morning coffee.
Georgette is a yellow orb weaver spider, although she is known by many names: black and yellow garden spider, golden garden spider; golden orb-weaver, writing spider, yellow garden argiope, yellow garden orb-weaver, corn spider, and zipper spider. Whatever name she goes by, she is one of the most striking spiders I’ve ever seen. The fact that she isn’t particularly hair or furry helps me get over the fear thing as I watch her.
Georgette starts her day before the sun comes up. When I came out this morning at 5:00, she was already running her anchor lines to start her new web. The web itself is around three feet in diameter; if you take the anchor lines into consideration, it is easily six feet across. She works so methodically: First the new anchor lines, then the spokes, which are non-sticky. She travels around the web on the spokes. After all her spokes are done, she starts in the center and weaves her sticky spiral outward. The spiral is what catches her prey.
Once she is done constructing her basic web she has one more thing to add: Her trademark “bling,” the thick, zigzagged stabilimentum in the center of the web. Here is a video of the massive amount of silk she uses to make it (Apologies for the background music):
A Well-Deserved Rest
After toiling nonstop for four to six hours, Georgette settles in on the stabilimentum and takes a nice nap in the warm afternoon sun. That is, unless an unfortunate little critter happens to stumble into her web. In that case, it’s time for a quick snack and then back to her nap.
Kind of Like “Groundhog Day”
Georgette will have basically the same routine all summer. During the night, she eats her web in order to recycle the silk proteins, and then before sunup she starts work on her new web.
In the fall, she will mate with a (much-smaller) male; it’s possible she will eat him when she’s done. Then she will lay her egg sacs and just like Charlotte, she’ll probably die with the first frost. After my not-so-fond memories of being overrun in my greenhouse with these spiders last year, we will probably move her egg sacs away from the house and let them hatch safely at the edge of the property. One orb weaver is a beautiful miracle of nature; several hundred? Not so much.
First off, I’d like to apologize for my recent hiatus from The Zesty Bohemian. The past couple months have been an absolute whirlwind and blogging just had to get put on the back burner for a bit.
I will save the story of the incredible journey to this new place for another time. So many seemingly “impossible” things had to happen for this move to occur, and I am still pinching myself to make sure it’s real.
We had begun to realize that there were some major limitations with our former property. The fact that it was an overpriced parcel with astronomical interest rates topped the list. For as hard as I have worked these past five years, I should not have still been living in a dilapidated camper and using a Port-a-Potty. But on top of the high mortgage payment, there were many additional costs each month: $260.00 for the septic guys to come empty the Blue Hell Box on a weekly basis, ridiculous cooling and heating costs due to maintaining 7 small, poorly insulated buildings instead of one single house, and very high grocery bills due to the inability to buy in bulk and safely store and preserve foodstuffs. After crunching some numbers, it became apparent that I could spend nearly the same amount of money each month and actually live in a real house, with a real kitchen and real indoor bathrooms. The search was on.
Well, That Didn’t Take Long..
Of course, in classic Zesty Bohemian style, I put an offer on the very first house I looked at. I had been fully prepared to spend a lot of time looking at houses, but this property checked nearly every box for us–and then some.
We now have a respectable 5.41 acres. Approximately 2 acres are recently planted Timothy hay. A local farmer will cut the hay a couple times a year and then either buy all the hay or leave half of it for us to sell. Either way, it’s a nice little passive income stream that I hadn’t counted on.
I’ve gone from having NO bathroom to two full baths. There are closets and storage areas everywhere. A massive wraparound porch to watch the storms roll in. A private patio off my bedroom (It needs some landscaping and personality added to it, but that’s a fun job). Central air. Read that again: Central air! A pantry. Finally, somewhere to store bulk food and my canning jars. I will be able to can, dehydrate, and lacto ferment my little heart out. There are beautiful French doors leading to the master bedroom. The original portion of the house (Late 1800s) has hardwood flooring and crystal doorknobs. The previous owners added on a bedroom and bathroom and installed all new appliances, plumbing, electric service, furnace, and metal roof. There is a four-monitor security camera system with night vision to keep an eye on things.
We have absolute privacy with beautiful views from every part of the house. It’s closer to my work, cutting my travel time by a third. There is a huge fenced-in area to keep the dogs safe and away from my (future) gardens, and plenty of room for chickens and a goat or two in the future. Gooseberries, mulberries, blackberries, passionfruit, plantain, clover, violets, prickly lettuce, mimosa trees, and sumac are all over the place! The abundance of this property astounds me, and I am finding new things to marvel at every time I take a walk.
And for the cherry on top, there is a new small storage shed, which is exactly what we needed to expand Abundance Mushrooms and allow us to handle bigger orders.
They haven’t been spotted yet, but we apparently have a shy mama fox in a den here. There is also a male fox nearby who strolls over to eat some cat food around dawn, and probably comes to visit mama fox from time to time.
Moving a Homestead Is a Logistical Nightmare
The actual physical move has been quite the adventure. We are about 22 miles from our old property, and Justin and Herman are both staying there for the time being, so the move didn’t have to be all done in a single weekend. Which is a good thing, because over the years we have accumulated an incredible amount of stuff! Not knick-knacks and clothes–those would be easy. We needed to move things like entire buildings, tractors, zero-turns, greenhouses, building supplies, and tools to fix just about anything that breaks. Day one we moved over the essentials: Basic cooking utensils, beds, and toiletries. The second day the 16×20 lab made the journey over, a nerve-wracking (and expensive!) venture, to say the least. Today, a friend is loading the tractor and zero-turn on his truck and delivering them for us.
We have most everything for daily living here at the new place, but there are many, many more trips in our future. The old school bus is nearly operational again and will be pressed into service as a moving truck soon.
I think the most exciting thing for me is the fact that now I will actually have the ability to do the things I’m passionate about on a regular basis. I have a place to can, dehydrate, lacto ferment, garden, raise chickens, forage, store food, and take nice pictures for my “How-To” blogs. I am still toying with the idea of making some “How-To” videos on YouTube now that I have a real kitchen and some actual photography equipment.
I know this is short and sweet, but I wanted to explain my recent absence and share my good news. Looking forward to having much more to share from here on out, so stay tuned..