Saturday, 2 January 2010

Christmas spiders

Here's our Christmas spider, sitting outside the window (probably the best place) for a couple of days between Christmas and New Year. The photo is dodgy, as I tried to get the spider and my hand in shot to give an idea of size. We decided this was a gravid female huntsman spider but I'm happy for anyone to come up with a better ID. She was way too high up to get a close look, except through the window. I know huntsmen have eggs in a sac and they stay with them for a while after hatching but could this huge abdomen be pre-egg laying?

If you have a real problem with spiders maybe you won't want to click on this next link but we keep it on our desktops for quick ID and treatment advice. I am certainly not an authority on spiders but maybe could be called an admirer. If I ever kill a spider I'm wracked with guilt and feel just terrible for ages.

Spiders do rule here, funnel webs, trapdoors, wolf, mouse, redback and window spiders - and the children have learnt that shoes are necessary in the evenings out of doors. We all grew up in funnel web country along the eastern edge of Australia, and when I think about it now I realise what freedom my parents gave me, and that I gave my children, to explore and be enthusiastic naturalists. Now that I'm a grandmother I'm much more concerned about the spiders but we collect everything that moves, have a good look and identify if possible, then let them go. I have a collection of already dead-when-found spiders in a bottle of gin, just so we can remind ourselves what a funnel web looks like when we fish one out of the swimming pool. Trapdoors, basically harmless,  are unfortunate in that they are hard to identify when they are on the bottom of the pool and I think quite a lot meet a sticky end because they look pretty much like a funnel web. Spiders don't just fall into the pool and drown - they are often quite stroppy when they come out of the pool and you have to be careful not to get on the biting end. Most spiders aren't deadly but many have a good bite which can be painful and best avoided.

That's enough about spiders. I think there have to be some Christmas photos of the children, just to even up the score. Christmas was a delight for the two little girls, and the red-headed boy just enjoyed the attention.

A new tutu for Christmas for the big big sister

A Christmas dress for the little big sister

First Christmas for the little red-headed boy
Christmas with children was magic, followed by new year fireworks reflected in water. Beautiful. Now it's time to settle down and get our lives back on track. But we must never, ever, forget the magic.


  1. Hi Carol

    What lovely pictures (except the spider) looks like they had a wonderful time.

    Sorry being negative about spiders, but they give me the creeps, don't like how they move eww. Sorry.

    Wishing you a Happy Peaceful New Year

    Billie :)

  2. your Wee Ones are absolutely precious. Love the expressions on their sweet faces. I have to agree with billie. I am not a spider person but I am sure there is that one special person out there that will love it, its just not me. HEhehe
    Happy New year and I love your blog. I will visit often.

  3. Sorry to all my spider phobic friends, I forget that not everyone has my fascination for spiders, snakes and centipedes. We're trying to give the children an appreciation of the dangers while nurturing an interest and admiration for the natural world we live in. A very wet, warm and humid world at the moment.

  4. What beautiful Children! That spider is as big as my fake one for the witch hat at Halloween. Yikes, I'd faint if I saw one for real, I think. Glad you happened to my blog to find the digital imaging workshop with DJ Pettitt. I know you won't be disappointed. I'm really looking forward to it. See ya there.

  5. Happy New Year, Carol!
    I'm sure your holiday with those cute grandchildren must have been fabulous (in spite of the big spiders!)

  6. Little Big sister looks exhausted! Must have been a good Christmas.

    Happy New Year, Carol. Looking forward to great book pics here!

  7. what joyous christmas pics!

    and ummmm- yes that one BIG mother of a spider (and by calling it a mother I am in no way offering an opinion as to its gender, species or life situation) whilst not exactly spider phobic, I'm also not one to get as up close and personal as you are with your hand (cue the EEEKKKKK button)

    happy new year!

  8. WhenMichael Flanders sang "..gin is inclined to affect me prowess..."
    I didn't realise he had bottle full of spiders! Rather like the ol' cowboys putting rattle snakes in the whisky barrel?

    And the big huntsman? probably a female with eggs. And it's not THAT big!By the way, did you know that you can hear them walking down the wall? True!
    I'd better go before I scare some of your gentler readers!

  9. I love the justaposition between the spider and your grandchildren. Both are lovely.

  10. I should have put the photos of the children first I can see that now. I think I've already scared off some of my gentle readers.

    Ronnie: there was a pane of glass between me and the spider. I'd have been hanging out the window to get closer but that window didn't open, maybe for the best. They're not aggressive but they are inclined to make a run for it and up my arm didn't appeal to me as an escape route.

    Di: The spiders are not in MY gin bottle, I just have some gin in THEIR bottle. There's a difference.

    Ida: A woman after my own heart!

    Thanks everyone for being brave enough to get past the photo to make a comment.

  11. and you have posted pics! how did I miss this post????
    thanks but no thanks about those spiders! YUCK!
    but the girls are so adorable, and that Eddie just keeps charming the socks off of me with his smiles! I'm so glad that you all made the big move last your life is truly magical!


  12. Love the spiders! I'm a little creeped out by them, but also know they are our friends (except when they bite, of course). We have black widow spiders here in British Columbia, Canada, so it's best not to stick your hand in dark nooks and crannies without looking first.

    The children are so lovely--I hope that you and they have a very happy new year!

  13. Your grandchildren are beautiful Carol! Isn't it wonderful to share the holidays with them?
    I'm not particularly keen on spiders, but I think it's great you're instilling a healthy interest and respect for them in your grandkids.

  14. Hi Carol, just wondering where you have disappeared to - was trying to find how you're getting on with the Ning problem in the Photoshop class and can't find you there any more!

    Missing a friend...


  15. I have three huntsmen living in my house at the moment, but none of them look like that. Tres strange!

  16. I love spiders, but not sure how well I'd cope with the exotic beasts you have over there!

    Gorgeous pictures of the children. Little red headed boy is adorable! Lovely to see you back posting again.


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