The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Arachnids and Nid

Nid posing and a bit fuzzy as she moved. Typical spider!

I don’t like spiders. Although I know that they catch flies and must be super skilled to weave such superb webs. I hate their touchy feely legs. If I spot one in the bedroom I worry that it will creep across my face in the night.

In the past I used to kill them on sight. But, for the past twenty years or so, I’ve tried to live alongside them. Old houses have spiders, arachnids that have bred over the years. Country houses have a vast panoply of spiders of every size from teeny tiny things to spiders so big that they could almost wear my clothes.

Danny is cool about spiders.
“They are just house spiders. They can’t bite you. Live and let live.”

But he doesn’t discover spiders in his hair most days. There are webs in the chicken run and invariably my head brushes against them. And of course the spiders hop onto my hair – with the prospect of a mystery tour to a new place. Who wouldn’t?

Generally I don’t notice them until they stray onto my forehead or ear. The gentle movement alerts me in an instant. I try to be kind as I brush them off. But can’t they see I’m not a Greyhound bus?

During my decorating days I met a lot of spiders. I’d be climbing gingerly up a roof and they would suddenly pop out, guns blazing to defend their territory, and give me a bit of a fright. Incidentally, you never step on the middle of a tile but about 1.5 inches from the edge where there are battens beneath. Even knowing this, roof crawling was not a favourite in my book. Especially as I knew that there were spiders around. Clearing their Miss Havisham webs took a long time. This had to be done before washing and painting the eaves.

We have a large house spider in our kitchen. It’s living in a surface hole in the wall where damp has made the paint bubble up. It thinks that it’s safe although only its body fits into the ‘cave’ and its long legs stick out. Danny likes it.

I saw it just now, mincing along the window frame and vanishing into a big vase of flowers. So I don’t have a photograph.

Inca our youngest Min Pin has a mother called Spider – don’t ask. Our pet name for Inca is Nid – a shortened form of arachnid. So that’s the photo for tonight.

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  1. We also live in an old house and I have watched on the past four nights (and then screamed loudly to the husband) large arachnids amble nonchalantly down the open chimney breast and into the sitting room. I have also found two who look like they died in the midst of a break dance marathon on the dining room floor (although I suspect the cats might have aided in their demise). I was once awoken by a hairy beast crawling over me in the dead of night (not the husband) so I now have to check the bedroom before retiring. I try not to harm them and I know they are harmless (gulp), but given that they have long hairy legs, why the need for eight? Eueewww!

  2. Not related to spiders but my Dad always used to call me ‘Nid’ – from the ndy of my name (Niddie) 🙂

    My Gran has one of those ‘spider catcher’ things, where you suck a spider into a little chute and then release it outside without hurting it

  3. I have to admit I felt creepy crawly just reading this blog. While I don’t like spiders, I do think they have a right to live but not necessarily with me. I scoop them up in a cup and deposit them outside. I’m waiting for the day they all rebel and take over the house and kick me out.

  4. I’m kind of ambivalent toward spiders. For the most part I try to be kind to them, and get them out of the house with a glass and paper, and other times smash them. Depends on what I have time for. I don’t like them spinning webs across areas through which I have to walk, though, and I don’t like them spinning webs in the tomatoes and catching my bees. This summer was curiously bereft of spiders, and I think it’s because it’s been really cool.

  5. The Liquineer

    E has declared the house a spider conservation area and we mostly leave spiders to do their own thing. Every once in a while we sweep away the webs that are outrageous in size!
    Rosie (the spring-affie) however thinks spiders are delicious snacks and will chase them across the floor if they are foolish enough to scuttle about at her level.

  6. I read recently that placing a conker in each corner of a room (and replacing with a fresh one each year if possible) helps keep spiders away. I have yet to go conker gathering to see if this works, but it could be worth a try.

  7. Kooky Girl

    Good timing! CC has spent the day calling out to the garden from the house ‘Spider !!!!’to which I call back, ‘Just leave it alone’. Then when we were both in the kitchen she pointed one of them out on the wall, and then two minutes later she said, ‘Mom, the spider’s on your head’. Quickly adding ‘Not really!’ as she knew I was about to do some crazy freaking-out dance as I tried to get it out my hair. After being stung by a hornet (Owch!) last week I’m a bit jumpy around insects at the moment.

  8. I like spiders too; I brought my daughters up to like them and they are quite contemptuous of friends who squeal and are scared of them. They can be stupid – one of them KEEPS spinning a web across my steps and I have to break it and move it to one side every day. There is one living in my kitchen too.

  9. I’m so glad there wasn’t any close ups of spiders on this post, urghh makes me shudder to think of them. There has been quite a few huge spiders (probably not as large as country kitchen spiders) in our kitchen of late, one made me jump the other night, when I reached for my bottle of wine out of a cupboard.

    The little ones I can deal with but the large ones I have to get the OH to remove. I will not go back into a room until I know it has been removed, I hate them too.

  10. I’m with Danny on the spiders. We have one or two resident giants in our house too. I love the way they scuttle across the floor when they think nobody is about.

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