Cabin Life – #81

I just got back from the neighbor’s house, where we had a couple of beers The Big Snakesby the fire.  Even though I tend to have a beer by the fire whenever it’s not raining, it is nice to share the fire with friends.  Plus, how often do you get to drive a four-wheeler to your friend’s house?  On top of the pleasant evening, it is actually starting to feel like summer.  We’ve had almost three whole days without rain.  I am really excited.

There’s been a lot going on out here at the cabin.  I bought a new woodstove and am waiting for it to be delivered.  The new woodshed will be up and doing its job within a week.  The chickens are growing and the coop will be built and operational in two weeks.  The peas in the garden are growing like crazy, and the few that I’ve eaten were sweet and crisp.

But on another note, the snakes may be getting a little comfortable in the yard.  Now, granted, I don’t mind snakes and appreciate the services that they provide, but I had a bit of a run-in with a few, and they’re getting on my nerves just a touch.

Last week, we had a warm, sunny day for the first time in a while.  I got the four-wheeler going and took a ride down the road.  It’s about a mile to where the pavement starts, and I cruised up there and turned around.  Not long after I turned around, I was startled by something on the handlebars.  There was a decent-sized garter snake winding its way around the cables and controls down back into the body of the machine.

The snake wasn’t big, and before I could grab it, it slithered down the controls and under the plastic body.  I glanced down in there to see if it was easily accessible and noticed a bunch of stuff that kind of looked like a nest.  When I leaned over a little farther, I could clearly see two more little garters curled up in the nest, and the one from the handlebars making its way around.

I was startled, but took off for home and figured I’d dig them out when I got back.  I pulled into the yard and my friend pointed out to me that there was a rather large snake head poking out from under the seat, right where her legs had been dangling on our ride.  Now, I’m not afraid of garter snakes and routinely remove them from places where I don’t want them (like in the chicken cage).  But this one seemed big enough that if it did bite me, it would hurt.

Unfortunately, it’s head was resting directly on the release that would allow me to remove the seat and therefore remove the snake.  It seemed pretty docile, maybe a little woozy from the ride, but I grabbed a glove and pushed the snake’s head back out of the way and released the seat.

As I pulled the seat off, I was amazed at the size of this snake.  It’s body was wound around itself quite a few times, and it’s girth was enormous.  I followed the contour of its body all the across the width of the four-wheeler and realized that this snake had a head at either side of the seat.  This was two snakes, both equally large, wide and, luckily, docile.

I grabbed each one and tossed them into the long grass at the edge of the driveway.  They were hands down the largest garter snakes I have ever seen, and the fact that they were that close to my crotch made me uneasy.  I decided to leave the four-wheeler parked in the shorter grass, and walked over to the rock pile where it had been parked.  As I walked up and picked up the tarp, I saw seven different little snakes take off into the grass.  Hopefully they find a nice place to nest.  It just can’t be in my house, car, or four-wheeler.

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Cabin Life – #76

I don’t usually think about snakes, but I’ve had a few run-ins in the last The Wounded Snakecouple of days, and I haven’t really had a choice but to think about them.  Now, I’m not one of those people who screams like a little girl when he sees a snake (anymore), and when I do happen to think about them, it’s usually because a garter snake is slithering away out in the driveway or curled up on one of the rocks out in the yard.

The other morning, I stepped out of the front door and was handed a small garter snake.  My friend had picked the ten inch snake up right outside the door.  We each let him run through our hands and then dropped him back into the grass.  Now, I know it’s bad to handle wild animals, but it’s nice to feel the soft motion of the snake on your hands.  It’s also a reminder that these guys aren’t out to do us any harm, and just want to eat the bugs around the garden.

Later that day, I was testing out the weed eater.  The recoil spring had come out of its housing, so after twenty minutes and an extremely cramped hand, I got the thing running and went to test it on some tall grass.  The weed eater worked fine, but as the grass fell to the ground, I noticed another snake slithering away pretty quickly.  He only went a few feet and as the weed eater ground to a halt, I checked the snake.  I was afraid I had hit him with the string and I was right.

There was blood coming from a small cut on his back, and the tip of the tail was bleeding as well.  I felt bad and considered grabbing him and putting a couple band-aids on, but that just didn’t seem right.  I hate to hurt animals, although I’m not opposed to eating venison and wild turkey.  But this snake, which was much larger, almost two feet long, wasn’t going to be dinner.  Luckily, the wounds hardly seemed fatal.   He slid under a board that was on the ground, and stayed there for a few hours.  I would see his head poke out every once in a while as I walked by, and just hoped that he wasn’t hurting too much.

I checked under the board the next morning, and he was gone.  I felt good that he hadn’t just died right there, even though I knew he could be dead ten feet away.  I worked all day and then in the evening walked over to the fire pit.  I thought I saw something on one of the rocks, and upon closer inspection, it was the same snake.  I could see the scabbed-over wounds, and he didn’t look any worse for the wear.  He hung out for a few minutes, and even let me take some pictures.  I was glad he was alive and appeared to be doing well.  And there’s not a doubt in my mind, that even though I hurt this snake, he’ll still stick around to eat the bugs and help me out.  And that is one very clear example of true forgiveness.

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