Hoppo Bumpo (n): A children's game. Played by folding one's arms and hopping on one leg. Aim is to bump opponents, so that they lose their balance. Last person standing wins.

November 21, 2009

Once smitten, twice shy

Our warm spring has been bringing early visitors to the garden.

There have been spiders' webs everywhere: criss-crossing the clothesline; spanning potted plants; tightly binding the strawberry and lime blooms; and trailing in floaty threads seemingly from nowhere.

In the past few days I have had my camera out recording the spiders' handiwork. The macro setting on my little camera has allowed me to point-and-click up close. Really close.

There have been precise and orderly webs; others, constructed chaotically. Some have been full of tiny ensnared insects; others filled with puffy dandelion seeds.

My last photographic venture took me to a large web spanning between two plant pots. And there ensconced firmly in the middle, was the owner. She looked quite big. I wondered whether she was an orb weaver - a wonderful spider that dismantles its old web at the end of the day and spins a new one each evening. My parents once had one in their garden and it was fascinating.

As I positioned my camera to capture her, I noticed her lovely long legs. I moved in a little closer and noticed her shiny black body. Then as the flash went off, my blood ran cold. The bright red stripe on her back was illuminated mometarily.

Ahem ... no, not an orb weaver.

As the old song says never smile at a crocodile ... or ask a redback spider to say cheese.

All garden spiders have since been served with notices to vacate.


  1. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! Close call the photos are great- I do love the macro setting.

  2. Gorgeous snaps! I am fascinated by spider webs...less so by spiders. I am quite firmly not bonding with a redback who has just parked her pretty little red arachnid butt near some potted plants at my back door. When I water them, I jump 10 feet, because she comes a'running for dinner. Maybe I could send her to you...matching pair and all that...

  3. Yes, gorgeous webs indeed. But what is it with redbacks? We have an army of them lurking around in the pots just outside our flat. It's terrifying!

  4. I love your web snaps but the redbacks...erk, I sent a huge one packing a few weeks ago. I actually leave all the brown house spiders all around the outside of the house as I read that they will keep the redbacks away & they generally stay outdoors. That works for me.

  5. Every night when I go out to get BigCat inside I have to negotiate my way through a maze of webs. A bit unnerving in the dark.

    We had an orb spider living here last summer. I was amazed by the webs. I wouldn't be so keen to have a redback take up residence.

  6. Gorgeous photos. I hope that I can soon work out how to use my camera and take something even half as good as yours!

  7. Liesl, those are some great pictures. But the story about the spider... yikes! I don't think we have poisonous spiders around here, but I still don't want to get close to them. Especially when they are quick. When I can see them, fine. But when they dissapear.. brrr.


  8. Is it my imagination or are redbacks getting cheekier these days...? When I was a kid on a farm we'd see them in places like the sheds, but not around the house. We had loads of them in our inner-suburban backyard last year - I was petrified of letting my daughter out there with anything less than helicopter-parenting-supervision. I found one inside one of her tea-set cups!!!

  9. ack! *runs away* o.0
    thankfully not that many spiders here

  10. omgsh omgsh ew

    do show the picky or would that be to much for a aracophobic!

  11. I found a red back in my watering can once. My solution involved a lot of insect spray and not much watering of the garden. Eewww.

  12. URGH!
    We had a beautiful orb spider last year, but like you I also had a far to close call with a redback. It appeared from the fence post while I was trying to save a beetle from it's web. Yuck.

    I love the dandelion picture.

  13. You are such an amazing story teller!

  14. That is funny - I just this minute finished posting about my visitor (who on closer inspection also had that lovely red mark on it's back) and your blog was the first I read and wella - another redback story and several comments with more!! She (it's big) seems to come down when I water my pots out the back.


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