one of the things we’ve really enjoyed in our new house are the denizens of our backyard. they’ve been our companions since we moved in, and our house wouldn’t be quite the same without them.
the most active natural residents are the family of tree squirrels that live in our giant redwood (Click, Clack, and Cluck, we’ve named them). they run around constantly, playing and eating and clucking a bit like chickens (weird, but true). we had a possum visit us one night, whom we named Ron, in honor of Ron Weasely from Harry Potter (since possums look a bit weasely). he’s only visited once, but i’m sure he’ll be back sometime. and last but not least is the giant spider living outside one of our living room windows, named Shelob in honor of the spider from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers.
Shelob appears to be an Araneus diadematus, a species of garden orb weaver. she’s light brown, slightly spotted, and pretty big (maybe 10mm diameter body). for the past five months, she’s been building and rebuilding her web on the northern side of our house, but last week she stopped and appeared to be gone. when i went into the yard to do some work today, i was going to clean off all her old webs, and noticed that she was still inside the window frame. i thought she was dead, but when i started clearing her web away, she moved slightly, but didn’t run away. sadly, it appears she’s on her last legs, as it were.
while i’m not generally a fan of spiders, i am sad to be losing one of our house’s occupants…thank you, Shelob, for being a part of our lives, and for giving our house a little (eight-legged) character! we’ll miss you.