True or False
"Daddy-Longlegs are one of the most venomous spiders, but their fangs are too short to bite humans"
Many of us have heard this wisdom passed down from generation to generation but is it true?
The answer is no, and also no because...
As for the most obvious no, Daddy Longlegs make their living by eating decomposing vegetative and animal matter although they are opportunistic predators if they can get away with it. They do not have venom glands, fangs or any other mechanism for chemically subduing their food. Therefore, they do not have injectable toxins. Some have defensive secretions that might be toxic to small animals if ingested. So, as far as harming humans, this old tale is false.
Another reason this is technically not true is that Daddy Longlegs are not spiders. Though in the arachnid class along with scorpions, ticks, mites, and spiders, their order is Opiliones. True spiders are in the Order Araneae.
One way to tell the difference is by looking at their bodies! Opiliones have a single segment for their head and body, surrounded by 8 creepy-crawly legs. Spiders have two segments for their head and body while still sporting the creepy-crawly leg look.
So, when you next see one of these leggy beauties, feel free to let them crawl all over you...if that's your thing...
Janet Douberly is technically not a spider at Downtown Greens.
This article was published in the January 2023 edition of Front Porch Magazine. To use the full publication, use the link below.
2023 or Bust
New is the year and familiar are the projects ahead of us! As the new normal we’re all adjusting to rolls over us like a 400 pound black walnut limb, 2023 brings us new and familiar tasks that come with caring for our land and community. New is the compost system that will feed our vegetables, new is the native plant meadow on Daffodil Hill, and new are the hopes and dreams that we possess for our 56 acres of land. As we saddle our “new” we also undertake the familiar - the impending spring cleaning, the usual garden maintenance, the kickstart to familiar fundraising, and the turning of beds in the Youth Farm Program for another season of kids learning. We look forward to similar mushroom workshops and new foraging programs, welcoming back garden volunteers and celebrating new ones. We have removed familiar invasive plants to pave the way for new Virginia native plants... Are you picking up on the trend here? While we adjust to the new normal we recognize that the familiar can bring the comfort we’re looking for. We aim to embrace both.
This new year for Downtown Greens may look similar to the years past, but our team dynamic has developed like a fine stinky cheese. Fortunately this lends to comfortably settling into our new groove for 2023. Our Garden Coordinator is nearing their 1 year anniversary in March and after adjusting to their position here is excited to roll out new programs for spring and summer. With our expanded Take What You Need Garden beds we will grow new kinds of fruits and vegetables for the Free Fridge and Pantry. We’ve compiled a photo album that will help us catalog what’s blooming and when in hopes to better identify plants and their bloom times around the gardens. We look forward to the daffodils in March, the redbuds in April, eating serviceberries and mulberries in May, monarchs in June, and July blooming Liatris. We have hopes of achieving our goal of fundraising for our new land and the conservation trust locked down, and so much more. We’re taking what we learned in 2022 and applying it to our future with vigor.
As we roll over into another year, we are met with similarities and the potential for new developments. While there may be a new normal happening for a lot of us, we can revel in the fact that some things will never change - our love for gardening and environmental stewardship, our dedication to youth education, and our commitment to our community and neighbors. With the growth we’ve experienced in 2022, we hope to take what we’ve learned, and what we’ve lost, and begin anew. Our Lower Garden looks different with the snagging of our great Hackberry tree and our education department looks different with our Education Coordinator expanding her horizons (We miss you, Savannah!) But you know what Heraclitus said about change… it’s the only constant in life. Unlike our black walnut trees last January, we strive to bend and adapt as these changes wash over us like 14 inches of snow.
Cheers - Salud - Jubel - Proost - Good health to 2023!
Em Ford is the Garden Coordinator at Downtown Greens who is hoping the lower garden isn’t leveled again by another winter storm.
This article was published in the January 2023 edition of Front Porch Magazine. To view the full publication use the button below.