Wednesday, July 9, 2008


So, yesterday I wrote about peace in the storm and a childhood I'm writing about what comes after the storm....did the title of this post give it away yet? Just in case, it slithered on by without your recognizing it.....SNAKES come after the least they do in greater numbers after the rash of storms we've had lately.

This time of year we have a lot more snake sightings then at any other time; mostly it's because when the pototoes are in field or it's in between harvest and sowing, the snakes are very visible to predators and so they hide in tall grasses far away from our weed-wacked and mown lawn.

But, with the very high cover crop surrounding us, they breed and deliver unhampered by the hawks and eagles who normally would grab them up.....and they get braver - occassionally venturing into our lawn area to catch a few rays or something.. This summer though, add in the rain that is flooding the fields and those snakes are coming out into our yard to sun and get warm on a more regular basis.

Luckily we don't see many venomous snakes although mocassins reside in the front ditch with its constantly running water...but I've yet to encounter a mocassin in our yard in the four years we've been here. I have however had a rat snake in the eave in my youngest child's room and another slither across my flip flopped foot outside by the shed. I've even had one catch my eye as I sat in the rocker on the front porch one night admiring the sun-set.....he had curled himself around the porch railing and was staring at me. In the gradually declining light, I realized that something was "off" about the railing and stood up and leaned over to see just what that something off was - only to realize it was a snake..........just an inch or so from my nose.......not fun. ( I feel I should mention that that particular snake was a baby that David used a pencil (cough) to get rid of....I was still justifiably scared...have YOU ever looked straight in the eyes of snake?).....

Anyway, back to this summer and the snakes coming out to sun themselves....Cousin Jeremy (David's nephew) came down this week to spend a couple of days...he arrived about 8:45 p.m. and drove rapidly up the driveway. After saying his hello's, David took the labs and the tripod out for their last romp of the night before bedtime and they took off down the driveway only to skid to a stop and begin to whine and sniff at something.

As David neared the place where the dogs stood, he realized they'd found a "kill" and he picked up the pace to avoid them either deciding to eat it or to roll in it (neither is a pleasant site.....). He was a bit awe struck and a bit horrified to realize that Jeremy had run over a 6 ft pregnant snake apparently on her way back to the cover crop....but the car had not killed either it or the babies. Calling the dogs back into the portion of the yard that is fenced, David grabbed a shovel and put the snake out of its misery but left the babies to see if they could survive (doubtful; they were tiny and will likely be picked off by predators, but at least he gave them a chance).

The next morning, we woke up to the sight of five or more vultures taking care of the mama snake and wondered if those babies made it to the relative safety of the cover crop.....and then, after coffee, we fired up the weedwacker and the lawnmowers and cut down as much of the field edges as we could, cleaned out the ditches and tried to make it so that we would at least see the snakes before we either stepped on them or drove over them.

I know that some folks would not feel secure living out here among snakes and banana spiders and all the other wild life that comes with living in the country such as the possum that has decided to take up residence under the house, but I love it. I'm more aware of my surroundings here then I ever was in a subdivision - I need to be what with snakes and spiders and all; I'm more in tune with myself then I could be in the constant man-made noise of life surrounded by people instead of nature. I am at peace with most of what life out here brings - I go to sleep to the sound of hundreds of frogs and crickets and wake to the sound of tractors in the fields and birds in the trees....if I have to watch where I step and keep a close eye on the porch railing, it is a small price to pay for everything else I get from living here......

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