The hazards of gardening — the eight-legged variety

I almost injured myself yesterday eluding a spider while working in my garden.

We’re still pulling out the ivy. I am on a mission. I’ve gotten used to seeing my little cart and other essential workspace items sitting on the drive beside the garden where I leave it from my work day after day.

The chair is perhaps the most essential piece of equipment. It’s where I sit and contemplate my progress.

I shot this photo in the early morning, which is the time of day I like to work. This part of the garden stays in the shade until almost noon, and in the early morning it is usually a pleasant temperature to work in.

(You might notice our Oak Leaf Hydrangeas are blooming beautifully this year. I should have gotten a better picture of them for you, but, no.)

It may look like the ivy is gone from this area, but if you look closely, it is densely packed under the hydrangea bushes.

You can see all the vertical stems of the ivy here. It grows about 18 inches tall, making a nice little canopy and habitat for the smaller critters of the eight-legged variety.

Here’s where I got in trouble. This whole area, which is sloped, was covered with the dense ivy. And I was brave enough to pry it up with a gardening fork and then grab it with my gloved hand, fully aware that I might be bringing along a little critter with the ivy.

I am terrified of spiders. I think I ought to just put that out there. I know it’s irrational. I try to tell myself, “You’re bigger than they are. They’re more afraid of you than you are of them. If you leave them alone, they will leave you alone.” It doesn’t work.

So, I’m on my mission, at the top of this little hill, digging with the fork, grabbing the ivy, pulling, when I feel the tell-tale soft little brush of movement on my arm. Eee-gads! It’s a grand daddy long-leg spider on my arm. I drop my tool, flick the spider off my arm and retreat backwards down the slippery muddy hill with some haste.

I survived.

Although my heart was pounding by the time I made it to safe territory.

And I’m no longer willing to reach under those hydrangea bushes and into that spider-infested ivy to pull it out.

Maybe someone else (and we know who he is) will take care of it.

I’ll be working on getting the rhizomes out of the soil.

Do spiders live in soil?

Fear of Snakes, Spiders Rooted in Evolution, Study Finds

(Unrelated Note: I tried to link back to earlier photos of the ivy, and sadly discovered that my media files are temporarily undergoing an identity crisis. It may take quite a while for me to sort it all out. In other words, my photos are all goofed up. I didn’t give them unique names, and apparently WordPress media files are not identified by post gallery and are all lumped into one big media bin. Bummer. Now I have to go back and rename my photos and reconstruct all my goofed up blog posts. Not a happy camper.)


See more posts about gardening in my series.

23 thoughts on “The hazards of gardening — the eight-legged variety”

  1. Keep up the good works:)

    I am not especially afraid of spiders…but I would have been hopping around….too….for I do not like things that suddenly are there on my skin.

    Proud of you!!

  2. Those arguments you give yourself? You know, like you’re bigger than it is, etc.?
    My husband tells me them too. Same result. Nada.
    I feel your pain.

  3. Thank goodness I have a “you know who” too…I don’t like to be close to spiders either!… but what happened to the spider-bite welt story? (p.s. I absolutely love your garden and wish I lived closer so I could have a cutting of the hydrangeas.) Beautiful!! p.s. sorry about the wordpress photo snafu. Ugh.

    1. Well, I thought this story was better because I actually saw this spider. I didn’t see the one that snuck up my pant’s leg and bit me. I survived. Welt was bad at first but is all better now. I may have to do what Mark does to avoid poison ivy: duct my pant’s leg to mt boot.

  4. Small spiders don’t bother me . . . snakes of any size give me the heebie jeebies.

    Glad you didn’t hurt yourself and delighted to hear the “you know who” has agreed to step in and assist. 😀

    You might be able to find the photos you want by using your search bar and searching for “IVY.”

    1. Thanks for your help, Nancy. I’m out of town and trying to keep up with this on the fly. I took a shortcut and started naming my blog photos numerically, starting over with 1 for each new blog. This created a crash and burn situation. The photos need unique names or all heck breaks loose.

  5. I used to be afraid of Spiders, right from a very young age… I can now tolerate them and if I find one in my home Im able to catch them in a glass pushing paper underneath to dispose of them outside… I now call upon the nature divas though to send them back to where they came from lol..And Im rarely troubled by spiders now.. and if they appear I see what message they have for me… Try looking up Spider and its totem meaning .. You can see where you have been in your Garden and its coming along lovely

  6. Hey I’m afraid of spiders…well any bugs if I don’t know where they are. I wear gloves all the time in the garden since a friend was stung by a scorpian when h put his bare hands in some soil…scary.

    I always scream when a spider/big insect lands on me. My neighbour now know one scream is insect and two screams means I need help. A wolf spider walked OVER my hand one day I was so paralysed with fear I could not move or scream. Just as well I have since been told they bite?


    1. I always wear gloves too. They give me confidence. I can’t even go there in my imagination with the wolf spider. That could possibly be the end of my gardening career.

  7. Too funny! We had huge spiders in Omaha. It helped to put bleach down our drains once a month, otherwise they had a tendency to come up the pipes and take a stroll into the family room. The cats loved it – toys without batteries. Those big spiders were very good at evading capture too.



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