Nov 242008

You might think it is too late in the Fall to be hearing about the spider in my window; you would be wrong. Just this afternoon, I looked out my window to see the spider creating a giant 2-foot diameter web. After completing the web, it rested in the middle before hiding once again.

This spider has had some interesting behavior. I’ve seen it out at night a few times; as the nights have gotten colder this has stopped.
Cross orb weaver Cross orb weaver Cross orb weaver

I think there may have been two spiders near my apartment at one point. I saw a desiccated spider body caught on a web at the same time as the live spider.
Cross orb weaver

I’ve often wondered where the spider goes when it gets cold and windy. A few weeks ago, I found my answer.
Cross orb weaver
As you can see from this photo, the spider is actually hidden in the sill, specifically between the outer lining and the window.

More interestingly, the spider actually had two legs out hooked to a thread. The thread ran to the center of the still intact orb. In other words, the spider was still hooked into it’s main web and could detect if an insect landed on the web itself.
Cross orb weaver
I’ve never heard this behavior described before.

Here’s a photo that really shows off the web
Cross orb weaver

I’ve taken a couple of videos of the spider. The spider doesn’t move a lot, and when it does, it’s difficult to capture all of it’s movement. (I think this is why you always see spider webs being shown fast-forward.)

I had to swap out the audio of this movie since what I had from the television was even more annoying than the music I swapped in.

 Posted by at 5:24 pm
Oct 242008

I wasn’t sure I would see the spider hanging outside my window this time of year. It’s been around 40 degrees for the past couple of nights; and I’m not sure what spiders do in the winter. I was a bit surprised to see it outside my window when I got home this evening. After taking this photo, it nestled into my window sill.

Sider over Brooklyn

 Posted by at 12:40 am
Sep 102008

My friends Peter and Val stopped by my apartment for brunch this past Saturday. I enjoy having friends over for brunch on the weekends. It’s a great way to start the day: I get up early to straighten up the house and clean; I cook a nice meal with friends; we all enjoy a leisurely meal with nice drinks; and we still have the rest of the day to enjoy.

Peter and Sam
I tend to make and gather an excessive amount of food for brunch. You can see Peter and I sitting before the brunch table. We enjoyed croissants, beignets, and French bread from Almondine, an assortment of jellies and jams, eggs benedict, grapes, melon and prosciutto, raspberries and blackberries, prosecco, bloody marys, coffee, and orange juice.

Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict can be a bit difficult to make. The hardest part is trying to make sure everything comes together at the same time, especially when you are preparing the dish for multiple people. I’ve written about making Eggs Benedict before. One item I should note: fresh eggs are very important for this dish. Not only do they taste better, but preparing the poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce is much easier with fresh eggs.

Despite the challenges in preparing Eggs Benedict, it is worth it: this is a luxurious dish. It’s easy to make vegetarian- and kosher-friendly: just swap out the Canadian Bacon for cooked spinach (Eggs Florentine) or salmon. It’s not possible to make this dish vegan-friendly.

Almondine in Brooklyn, NY
Well before my friends arrived at my house, I took a walk down to Almondine in Dumbo. The baker at Almondine is Hervé Poussot, formerly a pastry chef at Le Bernardin. The story of Almondine is that it was opened with Jacques Torres of Jacques Torres Chocolate. (His store is across the street.)

Almondine has the best croissants in Brooklyn if not all of New York City. The breads, pastries, and cakes are also amazing. I have only been to a handful of bakeries that compare to Almondine. If you are in DUMBO, I definitely recommend stopping by there, and if you are not in DUMBO, it’s well worth the trip.

Brunch with friends is always a lot of fun. I’ve made these dishes for other friends as well, and I’m always happy to have people over.

[Thanks Val for sending me photos of Peter and the food!]

 Posted by at 9:12 am
Sep 082008

I haven’t seen the spider in my window since the rainstorm this past Saturday. However, I did catch it weaving a web the other day. I think I pushed my camera a bit to the limits; macro mode can be a bit difficult to use.
Araneus diadematus or Cross Orbweaver weaving a web
Araneus diadematus or Cross Orbweaver weaving a web
Here is the final image magnified and over-sharpened:
Araneus diadematus or Cross Orbweaver weaving a web

I also captured some images of the Araneus diadematus (Cross Orbweaver) eating a fly. I’ve decided to just link to the images, as some folks might be a bit squeamish:

 Posted by at 11:07 am
Aug 242008

A spider has been hanging outside of my picture window. Spiders eat mosquitos, so I’m glad it is around. Tonight I tried to catch it so that I can release it in the garden. There’s a huge storm coming tomorrow, and I wouldn’t want it to get washed away. It was too fast for me, and scampered up to the top of the window. Does anyone know what kind of spider it is?
Spider over Brooklyn
Spider over Brooklyn
Spider over Brooklyn
Update: After a little bit of searching on the web, I think it is safe to say that this spider is a Araneus diadematus, or Cross Orbweaver. See more photos at and Wikimedia Commons.

 Posted by at 8:34 pm
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