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Mullein

Mullein

Good morning. My weight is about the same today as it was yesterday.

I’m tired and my allergies are acting up but I’m glad to have gotten up at 5:30 for a walk. Given how hot it’s been lately, the temperature was shockingly low. The sun picked out the spider webs and the bunnies.

Along the edge of a putting green I saw a small copse of raspberry bushes, and I went to look for the telltale folded leaves that indicate the presence of Enoplognatha ovata. They like to fold over raspberry leaves in order to make little shelters in which they then deposit their egg sacs.

I didn’t see any folded raspberry leaves, and I was about to turn around. Then I noticed a little silk-bound shelter made of three grape leaves. It reminded me of a house of cards: two vaguely vertical leaves formed the walls, and a vaguely horizontal leaf had been drawn down and bound over them with webbing to form the roof. This style of spider shelter was new to me.

I peeled back the leaves and saw a bunch of spiderlings suspended on a criss-cross of webbing. Their burst egg sac was suspended from the “ceiling”. It quickly became apparent from their shriveled and splayed appearance that they were all dead. I wonder if it was the unusually cool night that did it.

Just a few inches below that first “house”, I noticed a less obvious one. Actually, I may have noticed the spiderlings first, because their plump little brown selves were dotting their roof and one or two adjoining leaves like a sprinkling of peppercorns! This brood was very much alive. I peeked through the chinks in their house and saw more siblings which hadn’t yet ventured outside.

I wish I’d brought my camera. I most certainly will return with it tomorrow. But the point is that I got up and got out and saw something magical today.

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