A special critter edition of Treasures of My Garden comes your way today, courtesy of a morning spent cleaning up the yard in preparation for autumn.
One of about, oh, a billion diadem garden spiders we saw today. They've all been staking their territories on our fence and the females are huge this late in the year. The kids were fascinated, though not nearly as much as arachnophile Mommy. ;) I could have spent all day watching her.
Earlier in the summer, we got a special gift from our neighbor. Though I couldn't manage to get a picture of them then, it seems that at least one of them may have stuck around. I found this guy in the middle of a huge pile of rocks that I was trying to move (don't ask). Both Annie and Airius were eager to catch him, but neither one has my mad toad-catching skills. I took pity on the guy and let him be when the kids chased him into the borage. Fortunately, I didn't move the rock pile far. He may stay yet.
A spotted leopard slug, one of several, also found in the rock pile inhabited by the toad above. These bad boys are very common in our garden and especially love the stump of the redbud tree we lost in a lightening storm last year. They get enormous and are my least favorite garden critters.