A Spider’s Web

Today’s post comes from Linda

Last fall a small spider took up residence underneath a cabinet next to my kitchen sink. At the time, and the kitchen sink seemed to be Fruit Fly Central Station. I have never been particularly spooked by arachnids, so I left the little spider alone. Having something hunting the fruit flies seemed a fair trade-off for a few sticky webs.

A character from a children’s book is likely responsible for my charitable attitude toward spiders. We all grew up with Charlotte, of course, brought to life so memorably by E.B. White. Later in life I came upon a poem by the same author that captured my fancy.

The Spider’s Web (A Natural History)

The spider, dropping down from twig,

Unfolds a plan of her devising,

A thin premeditated rig

To use in rising.


And all that journey down through space,

In cool descent and loyal hearted,

She spins a ladder to the place

From where she started.


Thus I, gone forth as spiders do,

In spider’s web a truth discerning,

Attach one silken thread to you

For my returning.

I’ve never known which came first, the book or the poem. But to me the spider in the poem is undoubtedly Charlotte, with her loyal heart.

When winter moved in the fruit fly problem went away, as it always does in cold weather. Through the winter I’d regularly see the spider, still parked underneath the cabinet. I thought about knocking down the web from time to time, but instead I’d just clear part of the space, leaving some web way back under the cabinet, where the spider would retreat and bide its time.

Spring approached, and still the spider remained. Finally I resolved to move her outdoors, as the weather was getting warm enough for the creature’s survival. One day as we were close to being past that last cold snap, I had a talk with her. Look, I said aloud, I haven’t minded having you spend the cold months here. But now that it’s getting warm, I’d rather you went outside. It’ll be better for you, too, since there will be insects out there for you to trap, and it’s probably been months since you’ve captured anything in this location. It’s time to go. In a couple of days I’ll put you in jar and take you outside. I don’t want to hurt you, and I’ll be careful.

I returned that weekend with the intention of carrying out the relocation, but the spider was not there. For a couple of weeks I checked back, but my tenant seemed to have vacated.

Now fruit flies have taken up residence again in my kitchen. Last week I found a web in the bowl that sits in the old Hamilton-Beach stand mixer. A small eight-legged jobseeker is looking for seasonal work.  Experienced pest control technician; will work for food.

What would you hire a non-human to do?

84 thoughts on “A Spider’s Web”

  1. Hmm. At this point in life, not that I could.
    The new batch of squirrels hang out on our patio. We have to watch that one does not sneak in. A dog or cat would cost more than it is worth.
    Does your question include robots? Trumpites?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I like your spider….I’ve known to leave them in the house….except the really large brown ones….those I can’t abide and they are taken outside or terminated.
    I suppose I “hired” a non human to keep me company, lift my spirits and give me a responsibility I looked forward to…..I adopted a shelter dog. I knew all along he would do more for me emotionally than I’d ever do for him but he was a frightened abused creature so I have provided a safe haven. He has become extremely protective and senses when I have off days. Animals are amazing that way.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. nice one linda, your life is in order enough to keep track of a spider and that is a wonderful thing about living in an enviorment where the things you leave are there again when you return.

    i get ocncerned about the use of non human stuff. it is so millennial. the new project i am working on makes a human function unneccessary. it is a computerized auto function that makes the tedium and poor human ability easy to replace for a couple of dollars. but is it right

    i used to know phone numbers. today i know my familys phone numbers only and only my immeadiate family. my sister dropped her landline, my mom mved and got a new land line number my brother has anew home in dulut and i dont know if he has a land line or not. i have them all on auto dial. if the phone in my pocket were lost i would have no way to contact them.

    i think it is good to have the ability to adjust the heat in your house from a phone app that is in touch with the houses vital stuff through wifi. it was invented by a guy who had his pipes burst and he decided that he should be in contact with his cabins brains. i have mixed emotions.

    i like spiders for a frut fly partnership. i am a llittle wary of the coming app partnerships.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The obvious observation about automating everything and centralizing it in your smart phone: it is convenient and clever when it works but hell when the system goes down. Apps that manage contacts can do clever things, but then when your computer bites the dust you wish you had a piece of paper with information safely recorded on it.


    1. Here is another fruit fly trap: if you have a dishwasher, place a mug upside down way at the back and pool a little bit of red wine in the depression on the bottom of the mug. Partially close the dishwasher but leave enough of an opening for the flies to find their way in. Wait an hour or so. Quickly close the dishwasher and run it.


  4. I have been know to let a centipede stay put (if I won’t have to see him/her much) because they are good insect (including cockroach) hunters.

    I missed our cats the last couple of years in the Robbinsdale house, where we discovered mice several times after Charlie-the-Cat died. Now the neighbors’ pets seem to control critters, so we welcome them.

    Makes me think twice about the spiders, Linda! And I hadn’t heard that poem before, thanks.


    1. sounds like one of the greatest products ver brought to market

      bills squirrel team gutter cleaning coumpound. simply sprinkle in the gutter and watch the squirrels scour your gutters clean. it coats leaves twigs and decomposing rot and transforms it into squirrel oatmeal

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Linda’s charming story of tolerating a spider in return for its fruit fly control reminds me of an old joke on Prairie Home Companion. It’s an old Swedish joke told with an “Iron Ranche” accent:

    Arnie complained to Kjell, “I’ve got skunks unter my outhouse. Vat can I do to get rid of them?”

    “Throw some ludefisk unter de outhouse. They’ll be gone lickitty split.”

    Two weeks later Kjell saw Arnie at the store and asked about the skunks. “Oh, dat got rid of dem alright, but now I got 14 Norwegians livin’ under dere.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. i have a list in my head of norweigen jokes that always bring a smile. i had a friend yers ago that didnt want the jokes only the punchlines.
      wheew . i thought i scatched my boot… no, i meant in the front, do you ever se me go lena lena lena … the smile is a given


        1. Then there was the ewe, Susie, who is reported to have butted my grandmother head-first into the trunk of a car as grandmother was leaning over to get something out of the trunk.


  6. Friday we had our Welsh Terrier, she of the big schnozz, put to sleep. I cried, the vet cried, the vets assistants cried. It was time. She was almost 15 and had a long, full, life, and was in increasingly poor health. I appreciated her for her capacity for comic relief. The new kitten is doing her best to fill in for her.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I feel ok that we didn’t wait too long, nor did we do it too soon. Terriers are notorious for being half dead before you notice that they are ill. She was at the point at which she had fewer moments of fun than she had moments of incontinence.


      2. I’ve always been struck by the difference in how we treat pets and people at such times. We put down pets “to put them out of their misery.” And then we connect dying people to machines that keep them in their misery as long as possible.


      1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Toast hazelnuts in a shallow baking pan until fragrant and skins begin to loosen, about 6 minutes. Rub nuts in a kitchen towel to remove any loose skins (some skins may not come off) and cool to room temperature.


  7. So interesting you mention this today. We’ve had a little spider on the corner of the window over the sink and Kelly and I have both been letting it be and wondering when the other would wipe it out. It was a surprise to both of us discovering the other was leaving it intentionally… (Makes us sound like lousy house-keepers, doesn’t it??)

    But yep, most of the fruit flies are gone too now… and he moved out on his own.

    Anyone seen the movie ‘Robot and Frank’? It’s fun.


  8. We’ve all been outsourced in one way or another. Smart Phones, Facebook reminders for people’s birthdays/anniversaries, Spell Check, auto phone dialers, check price of gas apps, price comparison apps, etc. We used to ask friends, family, neighbors or co-workers for these tidbits of gleaned info. But it is nice to have it complete, instant reality info and not have to talk to people.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I have been in the south central MN farmland for four days. Not one file around here is harvested. The beans are scream to be cut now. Here they need the non human agents of sun and wind to dry the fields. Getting it today.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Would it be worthy of a secondary topic if this one stalls out? Weird sounds like a good beginning. Reunions or the possibility of attending them are pretty universal experiences, after all.

          Liked by 2 people

  10. We have had two “Charlottes” (big barn spiders like EB White’s) outside this fall. Husband and I were sad when each decamped for other places.

    As for non-human support: a maid/butler/bookkeeper bot would be grand. I have three versions of four-legged stress relief – though if one of them could figure out sommelier duties, that would be grand.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. By now many Baboons will have seen the Clinton/Trump debate and likely have had enough politics but I must share my latest creation. The event was a slaughter and Trump is whinning about the result so with apologies to Judy Garland here it is.
    The Lament of Donald Trump
    “Beat me in St. Louis, Hillary
    That debate weren’t fair
    Don’t tell me that I’m just whinning
    Go anyplace but there
    We will dance the Benghazi-Koochie”
    I will be your E-mail-Wootsie”
    If you’ll beat me in St. Louis, Hillary
    Beat me fair and square.”

    Liked by 6 people

    1. according to gulliani the best answer is not to show\
      if people hear the words come out of your mouth its harder to hide what they know
      the really incredible temprament and a trumpian trumet will sound
      an ego with hair is a thing to behold and a very odd thing we’ve all found
      its amazing how large a percentage hes got spewing hate and disgust
      you wonder how low you have to sink to have all those numbers go bust
      its hard to imagine that given a choice anyone would ever choose that
      but people are strange ,yes so strange in reality that polls are tied and thats a fact
      the countrys fate hangs in the balance the next chief will soon be declared
      will it be the professional big time politician or a cancer with blow over hair


      1. I am very concerned about how a Trump administration would govern. The guy is open to conspiracy theories galore. He sounds himself with conspiracy theory nuts. I swear sometimes that I’m listening to A.M. Coast to Coast and some nut broadcasting from the middle of the New Mexico desert near Area 51 in his RV. Heck, he even blamed his debate problems on a bad microphone conspiracy! Governance by conspiratorial paranoia should concern everyone BUT IT DOESN’T. People must think that somehow Donald Birther King Trump will change once he gets the Presidency. Not a chance! I can understand that people hate Clinton but how Republicans put the country and the world in this position will baffle me for the rest of my life.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. OT: Went to a dr today. He was running late, which I always assume means he is giving a patient attention that is needed. So i sat in the little office waiting for 30 minutes with monitors giving me bad medical stories and medical advice. One big one on the wall and a small one on a portable stand. I was about to make the small one face away, when the dr. came in and apologized for being late and for the media facing me. He turned the little one away. (I doubt any of you remember, but I once did a guest bog about the monitors in medical waiting rooms.)
    One of the recurring stories was a recipe, complicated one for chicken fingers with 12 ingredients. Did they assume I would remember it or had paper to write it down? It was only up for about a minute, but then I saw it a dozen times.


  13. Right now I need some robot or creature to keep poking me so that I get started on the paper work I need to accomplish before 6 PM tonight. We are off the the Norsk Hostfest in Minot, ND tomorrow, then to Denver for father-in-law’s 90th birthday party. Both events will spawn guest posts.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Last night I watched a two-hour Frontline documentary about Trump and Clinton. Frontline does that with every presidential race. Because there is so much coverage of the race, you might think Frontline would have nothing new to say. Wrong!!! Their approach is strongly biographical. To see what the young Donald Trump and the young Hillary Clinton were like is to see them with new eyes.

    And it runs tonight (Wednesday evening) on PBS. Anyone who cares about the race will want to see it.


  15. Today I would hire someone to pack for me. I’m trying to babysit two three -year-olds and want to leave as soon as their mom gets home but I’m not packed yet.

    Better yet, I could do the packing and the whatever could babysit.


      1. Lutsen area.

        Unfortunately, I will be leaving right around rush hour. Bleh. Fortunately, I will be stopping overnight in Duluth and supper should be ready when I get there, including APPLE GINGERBREAD. (I love gingerbread.)


  16. Coming home just now we approached a busy intersection with a police car parked with flashing lights blocking the middle lane. In the middle of the intersection sat a boat. No boat trailer In sight. Did some one lose it and not know it?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I swear to you Baboons that this will be my last political posting concerning Donald “Birther King” Trump. Here it is. It is not enough to simply declare our preference for a candidate for leadership of the world. On what basis have we determined such preferences? Conspiracy or rational thought? All I ask.. no…all I appeal.. is that each Baboons see what is in your heart. Do you want Trumpism for four years? I feel that the answer is “No”. So I beg of you. Please. Persuade as many as possible to vote against Trump.


    1. Frankly, Trump seems to be doing an excellent job, all by himself, of giving people reasons to vote against him. Oddly, many people seem to admire him for that. Would anything change their minds?


    2. Sadly, it seems the Trump supporters or the undecideds hate Ms. Clinton so vehemently that there’s no reasoning or persuasion possible.


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