Ok, so there are some cool things about Minnesota, but what I find truly relaxing about the land of ten thousand lakes is the LACK of certain things. We're talking no scorpions, no tarantulas, no lizards, no alligators, no malaria-carrying mosquitoes, no hissing scorpions, no cobras, no pythons, no jellyfish or portuguese man-o-war. There are two types of venomous snakes which are isolated to the southeastern counties, and basically one, possibly two, potentially lethal spiders. The Northern Widow is a relative of the black widow, but I've never come across one. I've been told they like to hang out on the underside of the toilet seat in outhouses - which is why I never actually park my butt on the potty when I'm at my dad's cabin. Reports of the brown recluse are spotty, and I think some people have yet to figure out if they really exist up here or if they're just tag alongs that come in by chance.
Later, I asked my husband if Ethan told him about the spider. Our conversation:
Hubby: "Did you kill it?"
Me: "No, I didn't kill it."
Hubby: "Why not? There's some bug spray in the garage."
Me: "That stuff never works, it just chokes the insect and makes it mad."
Hubby: "But you should kill it. What if it gets in the house? It's going to turn cold soon, you know. It'll come into the house."
Hubby: "But you don't know, do you? It could be poisonous. It could bite one of the kids."
Me: "The only poisonous spiders in Minnesota are black widows."
Hubby: "But you don't know for sure, do you?"
Me: rolls eyes.
Commence project identify an arachnid - otherwise known as proving the paranoid husband wrong. As a side note: I'm not sure why my husband is always the one to worry about the kids getting hurt. He panics about everything - falling tree branches, riding bikes, rollerblading, he won't even consider getting the boys a bunk bed. I'm the one to say, "eh, they're kids. Let 'em live a little." Weird huh, considering I'm the one with all the estrogen?
Anyway, it didn't take long before I figured out exactly what kind of spider I was dealing with. The bright yellow body and the way she sat upside down were good clues, but more telling was the zigzagging webbing pattern. My little gal is a common black and yellow garden spider, also known as an argiope. They show up in the fall and tend to die soon before or after the first freeze *sticks tongue out at hubby*. They're non-threatening to humans and are really good for the garden - though after all the mosquito bites I got on Monday she wasn't doing her job that well.
The point to all this? Well, there isn't one, except that was the most exciting thing to my weekend. I became a field biologist and identified a spider. My question to you, dear friends, what is the most frightening insect/snake/lizard/animal you've come across in the wild? And stay tuned tomorrow, I shall post a review about a book with a slightly more frightening setting - the Australian desert.