Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Serpent Situations

Hello Mr. Bull snake
You cannot live in and enjoy the Great Basin without a run in with a serpent at some point. Snakes, and deserts, go together. Actually snakes inhabit every continent and island on Earth, besides Antarctica. Most of them are not evil, or poisonous, and are quite good for the ecosystem, or circle of life, or food chain.
Bull snakes are particularly helpful in that they "keep away" rattle snakes. This is the first snake I have run in to in this valley (we have been here a year). Even though he was but a little slither, he gave my little heart a quick beat.
When I was but a wee Wild Nevadan, I was in Kingston for a visit with the grandparents. I was after the left overs in the brownie bowl, chilling in some high heals and dress up gloves, when I noticed a little snake in the book case.
"Grammie, did you know there is a snake in your bookcase?"
"A snake! Jim!" She hollered. To me she says, "Get up on that chair."
I did as I was told and for five minutes there was a little rodeo while Gramps wrestled him out the door. He was a harmless, though fierce, bull snake.
Years later, snakes became a little more scary. When we set up shop in the wilds of the Kawich Mountain Range the timber rattlers around there were not used to much human activity. They were enormous, and we had a run in with one about once a week.
If Dad was around, he would chop off their heads with a shovel. If it was the girls, we took turns blowing it to smitherines with Sandy's pistola. We stayed a good distance away. After it was good and dead, we took pictures of ourselves by the snake skin, like Annie Get Yer Gun. I wish I had one to share today. They were hilarious.
For some reason, the dead rattler was always around for awhile after it died. I'm not sure why, but after a snake dies, and even has its' head chopped off, it still squiggles around like it is still alive. I once watched a fully skinned snake carcass crawl out of a five gallon bucket of water. Ewww. Creepy.
So, snakes, even the non-venomous variety give me the willies. I just move on when I bump into one. When I was working Round Up with the Fallini Fam, and I bumped into their ginormous Bull Snake while watering Suzie's flowers, I went after someone to kill it. I was told Mr. Snake keeps away the rattlers. Even though I thought that was helpful, when I saw him again, I went to the other side of the yard.
A couple summers ago, when Colton was a new walker, and had just turned 1, we were 'camped' at Kingston again. My frail grandmother and new little guy had just taken an aided shower together, and I was setting them up in the living room of that same little yellow house, to be dressed.
While I lotioned up the both of them, my eye caught movement on the cold fireplace. A snake. It was like I was seven again. Grammie did you know there is a snake on your fireplace? The truth is, I did not have the gumption to wrestle that snake out of the house. I called Jim. It was almost the exact same rodeo I had watched as a child. Amazing how the circle comes around.
Yesterday I was out and about, along for the "tending" of water, when I happened across Mr. Bull snake. Because, he was in open territory he did not appreciate my stop to take his picture. I was perched on the ranger, and he apparently thought it was the safest place to hide. He slithered under us.
It was time to be on our way. Pictures, taken.
Even though he is not actually evil, my heart rate was a little quick.
Bye Bye, Mr. Bull snake. I hope I do not see you or any of your serpent cousins any time soon. 
May 15, 2011

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