I know I said no more spiders on the blog now that the Brown Recluse mystery is solved, but then I went outside to water my dwarf lemon tree and found this by the hose.
Big ass spider looking like it’s dressed up for Mardi Gras or something. Go away.
Apparently what we have here is a Yellow Garden Spider, which is totally fine. It looks a little bit like the orb spiders that used to hang out in my garden in Oakland and make beautiful patterned webs. They were big, but this homie is HUGE. Including legs maybe 3 1/2 inches across. And furry, like a stuffed animal almost. Super weird. Also he was running around like crazy, and not being all chill like orb spiders normally are (hence the blurry photo – due to his running around, I too was running around. Or, rather, away).
So anyway, I know I said no more spiders, but if I keep having to deal with them, you can bet I’m making all you people look at them too.
An armload of post-deerpocalypse veggies from my garden.
It’s getting close to the time when the summer garden gets ripped out and the winter garden put in. I’ll probably get around to it the first weekend of October, in the meantime, most of the plants that were chomped down by deer have recovered and are cheerfully supplying me with fall veggies.
We generally have mild weather into November, so the winter veggie starts get a few weeks of easy living to get themselves established. I actually haven’t done anything other than kale in a winter garden, and that didn’t go in until February, but it did fine. This year I want to plant kale, chard, onions, and garlic. Maybe beets. And I want to see about getting some fennel in (there seems to be little consensus about when the best time to plant fennel is, but maybe that’s because it’s practically a weed around here.)
Still no eggs from the new hens, but they really should be starting any day now. Especially the Ameraucana. She’s even bigger than my last Ameraucana was! And Peaches the goat STILL hasn’t come into heat, at least that any of us can tell. Maybe we’re just totally doofuses about it and it’s happening right before our eyes, but what else can I do? I swear I never thought I would be spending so much time inspecting a goat’s vagina in my life. Oy. So that’s the news from Henge and Hollow!
As you probably know, I am already totally committed to buying (and growing!) organics and avoiding GMOs like the plague. Even so, this documentary contains so much information I didn’t know, I am completely freaking out after watching it. The movie is free to watch online at least until the end of this week. Watch it. For real.
I went to San Francisco yesterday to visit with an old friend, and stayed the night with my sister. Before driving back to the Ranch this morning, I stopped at one of the gajillion supertrendy new spots with the exposed brick and the aluminum chairs that have opened up in my old neighborhood since I’ve been away. This was my breakfast. It cost me $11. It was delicious.
Look how big that muffin isn’t.
I am pretty disgusted to be out $11 because of a stupid muffin and a cup of coffee, and I can tell you right now that no muffin and cup of coffee is worth that much, but goddamn, I have got to figure out how to pull this off this little feat of engineering:
Okay that’s pretty cool.
Before I went to SF I made peach lavender jam from the peaches I harvested off my little tree. The fella and I picked them before they were fully ripe because otherwise the blue jays would beat us to them. Then we let them ripen in brown paper bags. This weekend they were finally ripe enough to use. They weren’t as sweet as they were last year, but they were very fragrant and flavorful. I think they will make fine jam, since jam uses so much sugar anyway.
First you make a tea out of lavender blossoms
Then you add the tea to the fruit, lemon juice, and sugar and boil hard.
Stir in the pectin, ladle in to sterilized jars, can in a hot water bath, and let them cool.
I had to use pint jars instead of jam jars because that’s all I had, but that’s fine. I’m a little annoyed that the fruit all floated to the top, leaving a couple inches of jelly at the bottom of each jar. I’m not much of a canner, but I did follow the directions pretty carefully, so I’m not sure what’s up with that. I made peach jam last year too and it did the same thing. Oh well. It will still taste good, for example with homemade goat’s milk yogurt… yum!
Who got to ride Chano’s 3 year old Azteca mare this morning? Aw yeah!
I mean for weeks OBSESSED with spiders. When I have a down minute I find myself googling “brown recluse California” or “looks like brown recluse” and so far have come up with zilch. Nada. Nothing. Then today I tried “brown spider California” and struck gold. Don’t ask me why it took me so long to perform that search. Some mysteries are best left unexplored. I did have to wade through pages and pages of creepy pictures and most of it was unhelpful. Then I came across a website listing common spiders in California, and finally! It had species names AND pictures.
One of the species listed looked just like my spider, and it was called Titiotus spp. family Tengellidae. Of course, that website didn’t say anything about these spiders, like for example, just throwing it out there, I dunno… ARE THEY POISONOUS? But at least I had a name. I searched the name and eventually found this article.
Blessed relief! I can now, hopefully, finally, stop thinking about spiders quite so much. And stop posting pictures of them on this blog and surely scaring off most of my readers. But before I leave this subject entirely, I must give a big thanks to the U.C. Riverside website for BLOODY NOTHING. David Vitter is the Dr. interviewed in the article above and he’s the same smartass from UCR making fun of hysterical Californians who suspect they have recluses in their homes. But did he bother putting up a picture on his own website of this harmless spider he himself admits looks exactly like a Brown Recluse? Newp. Course not.
So, here’s my one-finger salute to you, Dr. Vitter. May you be visited upon by hordes of Loxosceles reclusa, Sicariidae in your dreams, forever!