Tonight, I decided to do laundry. I'm not out of anything but why wait until I desperately dry jeans with a hairdryer after washing them at 6 a.m.
I have the basement door closed as I don't want Pilcher or Meeha down there yet. When they consistently come when called, then the door gets opened and we gradually move the litter boxes to the basement. (I apologize in advance for, upon your visit in early November, finding three litter boxes in my living room as I slowly move them downstairs.)
This means that the basement is dark. The light by the washing machine has never consistently worked. Some days it comes on. Most of the time, it does not. In order to not fall down the stairs, I leave one of the incandescent lights burning all the time. Yes, that's inefficient and, at some point, I'm going to open the door to a dark basement because the light's burned out. But this is something I'm willing to suffer through for an eventual greater good.
You know I don't own a dryer so my laundry is hung on lines to dry. I had done a load of whites last Friday, when I knew I could leave the door open because they were scared of me and wouldn't come out of their hiding places for all the kitty treats in Target. I had not been back down there to retrieve the dry clothing. First thing to do is take down enough that I can get to the darks on the floor. It was at this point that I noticed the very, very fine spider webs between the lines.
I looked more closely at the light bulb and saw it was festooned with webs as very, very tiny spiders, probably newly hatched from some inconspicuous egg sac, rappelled and climbed up their very first webs. Normally, I leave spiders alone. They do a great job of eating the insects we don't like. If possible, I'll shoo them onto a piece of paper or something else and cart them outside. But these, the size of a pencil point, were in the way. With a shrug, I flattened a half dozen between my hands and wiped them off on my jeans.
I started to put clean laundry in the basket that sat on the floor and noticed at least a dozen spiders of differing types and sizes had made webs around the inside of the basket. I sighed, dropped the clean clothes, picked up the basket, turned it over and banged it on the ground. Spiders fled in all directions. The ones that made the mistake of coming towards me were flattened with a quick step. I still wound up using my slipper to harass spiders out of the basket and onto the floor. And the ones who had set up housekeeping under the lip of the basket dropped quickly to the floor when the basket was moved. It took probably a good 10-15 minutes to make sure there were no spiders in the basket before I deposited the clean clothes to bring upstairs.
I could use some Osage oranges. A green, pleasant smelling fruit discovered by a Scotsman in the south central US, anecdotal stories are that if you place one or two of these softball-size fruits in the lowest level of your house, in my case, the basement, it will repel spiders, cockroaches, fleas and other arthropods. Many, many years ago, I did try it but I don't remember if their smell worked wonders or if it was an old wives' tale. I've never seen roaches in the house and fleas won't be a problem unless the ladies overcome their fear of the outdoors. I would be willing to conduct trials using the oranges for the simple reason that I'd rather not walk into a web of a dozen spiders no matter how small.
I will keep my eye out for them. They ripen around this time and there are a few trees on the way to work. I'm a timid sort so the prospect of knocking on the door of someone I don't know and inquiring if I can remove the detritus of the tree in their front yard makes me a bit queasy. But, the first time I see one of the quarter-size garden spiders scuttle across the bathroom floor, you can be sure, I'll be thinking, "Out! Out! Damn spider!"