Monday, September 22, 2014

The Life of Charlotte

One day early back in the spring time, a garden spider showed up near our back door and decided to make her home.

When it was determined that she was there to stay, we named her Charlotte after a fictional character in a book called Charlotte's Web.

She soon attracted male spiders.

And, she made beautiful signatures on rare occasions.

I noticed she did most of her rebuilding of her web in the night.

And, she grew.

I felt privileged to have witnessed the next event. She molted.

{Note: this is not my garden spider; but, that of another nearby. You can see the exoskeleton on the right.}

It was one gruesome event to witness. I did not think to grab my camera as I honestly thought she was dying; but, it turned out that she just grew rapidly and needed out of her exoskeleton. In the course of research, the males provides protection while the female molts. I learned something new.

And, she feasted. And, grew.

The males cautiously got closer. She had three altogether at one point.

And one by one, the males disappeared until only one was left.

He got lucky.

And, she was kind to him as he lived out the rest of his life (two days) on her web.

She grew enormous.

She soon made her first egg sac.

{She was putting on the finishing touches early in the morning and soon went back to her web.}

She laid a total of two egg sacs.

On September 17th, not long after she laid her second egg sac, I discovered she packed up her web and moved.

And, I knew.

Like Charlotte of Charlotte's Web, She was dying.

In my heart of hearts, I wanted to know what happened to her. So, I looked.

I found her temporarily ensconced underneath a pad used for gardening and over a bucket.

And, she moved overnight to her final resting place and spun her last beautiful web.

She was located between the end of our farm table and several pallets.

She died in peace on September 21st. She lived a full life.

And, hopefully the cycle of life will begin anew early next spring via her eggs.

I am so thankful for her bravery (she put up with us) and the privilege of observing her life. I have learned so much about spiders through her.