My daughter's godmother is my go-to source for all things local. I called her up, described what I saw and she informed me that it's a black widow spider. OMG! Mama Bear mode kicked in and I stood sentry, waiting the stomp the threat when it appeared.
After a few minutes, the kids wandered back over, just as I noticed a flash of orange crawling over the dead caterpillar. Not waiting for my brain, my sandaled foot went for it and missed. The spider at least. Green goop splattered everywhere. The spider fell onto the grass and my kids were in heaven. Arms out and flailing to keep them at bay, I stomped again. This time brain and foot working together. It was pulverized. I hit it again just for good measure. In the nanosecond it took to register the black widow was no longer a threat, the grossness of it hit. Bug watching and bug squashing are two different things.
With the nice weather the last few weeks, the kids and I are always in and out. Doors open, kids running wild in the backyard. Lots of possibilities raced through my mind. I thank God I was out there and noticed the caterpillar first and was able to get it. I don't even want to think of what could have happened if I wasn't and I didn't.
For those of you unfamiliar with black widows, and you have small children, here's how they look and what they're capable of. If that's too much to remember, just file this mantra away somewhere in your brain - black and orange catch your eyes, pulverize, Pulverize, PULVERIZE!