Thursday, October 04, 2007

Too much of a good thing?

I checked the weather forecast in the newspaper this morning and was deeply bummed to find that the cold front — highs in the 70s, lows in the 50s — that I'd heard forecast for the weekend seems to have stalled somewhere north of us. I often find myself studying the weather maps at this time of year, looking for those curved lines that mark a front headed our way. After nearly 50 years in Texas and 25 years in Austin, you'd think I'd know not to get my hopes up this early but . . .

I know. I know. It wasn't really a hot summer by our usual standards. Not one day over 100 at the official temperataure recording station. And all that rain. More than double our annual total by June. What's not to like?

A Texas gardener would probably be run out of the state for suggesting that all that rain might have been too much of a good thing. I keep reminding myself of recharged aquifers and low water bills. But then I drive through my neighborhood, with its enormous pecan trees in every block, and I wonder if the rain didn't have something to do with the infestation of web worms that has sheathed branches of almost every pecan. I keep trying to convince myself that the white webs — which seem to be continuing to multiply and spread — are seasonally appropriate: nature's Halloween decorations. But I find them creepy, repellent even. Will they disappear when the leaves fall? I hope so.

And then there are the spiders. For several months I watched a spider — my daughter says it was a garden spider — build its intricately zig-zagged web in a corner of the carport. Pretty cool until it forsook the web and took to hanging out on the gate between the carport and the yard. Not quite so cool (it had gotten really big). And at first I thought the little crab spiders that started popping up here and there were cute. Such fun colors. A bright yellow spider. I'd never seen that before.

But enough is enough. Now, a stroll into the garden is an obstacle course of webs. At first I tried not to disturb them, carefully ducking under or stretching a section so I could get around. But now I'm just fed up. There is a web between every upright stem and post in the back yard. I knock one down, come back an hour later and find two more in its place.

I blame the rain.


mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Just what I've been saying. Oh! The webworms this year. I've never seen them this bad. And I can't go anywhere in the garden without running into a cobweb. I like spiders but I'm tired of the sticky ick. And when is this nasty heat going away? I don't care how much rain we've had, we need some more. And some cool weather.

At least I know it's not just me!

Pam/Digging said...

The spiders hanging between every tree and bush are starting to drive me bonkers too. I've taken to walking through the garden with a stick, swatting through the air in front of me because I can never see the web or spider until I've run into it. And don't even think about going out there in the dark.

Isn't it fun to grouse? Soon the cool front will arrive. It can't be long now.

Vivé said...

I admit it, S, like you I've been grousing about the rain. The spiders, yes, but for me moreso because things grew and grew and grew. Then they went limp because they'd overgrown and the rain had eased. And my xeric plants rotted at their bases. And bugs ate even the Turk's cap, the unconquerable Turk's cap. And the weeds took over absolutely everything. And for months the mosquitoes were everywhere -- chasing me into the car so they could nip at my ankles while I drove -- and the last thing I wanted to do was weed while all those blood suckers hovered.

Whew, I feel better! We called our yard the Mekong Delta all summer, like your "Report from the jungle." It's a relief to know I'm not the only one who started looking askance at all that rain.

Bonnie said...

I agree- the spiders just creep me out. And especially when I walk through one of the webs. I'm sure my neighbors hear a random whoop from my yard every once in a while as I walk into a web, let out a yell and thrash madly to get the web (or spider!) off of me.

Dawn said...

Don't hate me, but I still like the spiders. Not that I want them in my house (yikes), but I'd rather have spiders than mosquitoes. Must be the Floridian in me. ;-)

OTOH, I'm VERY ready for the cooler weather. It was a mild summer and I loved the rain. The temp today was terrific! My favorite season is autumn with the pumpkins, gourds and fires in the fireplace. Woohoo!

Annie said...

A little of most things is nice I had a few webs in the garden a few weeks back and coincidently it has rained and shined every few hours, I walked up the garden on a warm dry morning and the patio furniture was covered almost completely with little intricate webs, I took a brush and disposed of them and later in the afternoon they were back, I think the rain had something to do with it also.

Bill Baugh said...

Lovely pictures.

Its important to keep in mind that the soil is the key to success. Take care of the beneficial microorganisms in the soil and they will take care of your plants!

Mr Bill