I know that helping a slighter dumber member of her species beat Natural Selection is not exactly what a hardline ecologist would advocate, but I couldn't help it. Neither could Larry.
We felt for this girl, and partly because we let the "pest" control technician kill one, right there in the same corner of the same porch, a couple years ago. He sure doesn't do that anymore - each guy who comes out tells us he's been duly warned not to harm garden spiders.
We also owed her. She's kept the entry to our house free of mosquitoes and has waylaid and lunched on one of those nasty stinging horseflies that ventured up.
The fact that this one chose to build her web across the doorbell is rather inconvenient
but she pays her rent, and, I mean, we're not ridiculous about it, we've removed other encroachments of the web that began to cover too much of the doorway and told her sternly to expand in the other direction.
She seems healthy enough, but we noticed she wasn't fattening up as nicely as her cousin down in the yard. She'd had the foresight to build deep inside the portico, which protects her web, but has a downside: fewer bug passersby to catch and eat. Still, she'd caught some, she had grown. Maybe she was just settling into a lower-metabolism state for the coming autumn.
But something else occurred to us. Because of her seclusion, it also rarely rains on her web. All living things need water in some form and she hadn't had many juicy insects lately and wasn't getting much liquid.
Webs get rained on naturally so at worst it couldn't hurt. Here, Larry endows her web with a fine mist of water.
And though it's hard to capture, I can tell you, she skittered over to the droplets and began slurping them up like they were ambrosia.