Thursday, March 21, 2013

# 414 - Rattlesnake - Moving Countdown


It was so nice to come home to a real bed on Monday night, exhausted. Over a long weekend, we stayed on our acreage. We love camping out, but sleeping in a tent has its hardships.

We stayed on our land this weekend through Monday to do some things in preparation to moving onto the land next month because our house in the city is being sold.

We're about to be homeless. Literally. We're trying to figure things out, but there are so many considerations...where to stay while we either find an RV or do a quick-build for a cabin that will eventually be a guest cabin or build a large workshop with an area zoned aside for living quarters.

It will be challenging and exhausting, at least for a few weeks.

Considering this cabin as our temporary housing
while main cabin is being constructed.
This would cost as much as a nice RV, yet
provide much more room during this phase.

However, for now, camping allows us to be directly on the property without having to come and go; we can be there on site and get a considerable amount of work accomplished. I cannot do the hard labor that Deputy Dave handles, but I can sit on the lawn tractor and mow acres of land with fierce determination. I can go into high brush areas with my head tucked to avoid being scraped by the low hanging tree branches and my mind chills out while the blades of grass and massive ant beds become mulch.

I was slow moving this weekend, feeling bad after battling a stomach virus on Friday that had me being close buddies with the toilet, so the weekend had me feeling drained. Even so, once I got on the lawn tractor, I had an awesome time mowing. It was obvious I wasn't feeling well because my mow-patterns that were spread across several acres were not very orderly. I mowed like a drunk landscaper. I'd wind in between this tree and that tree, then forget where I'd started. When you are mowing acres of land that has multiple clusters of trees, it can be a maze. So, I ended up weaving and ducking and dodging and crisscrossing.

And, in most areas, the grass looked more like prairie grass and took several mower passes to get it cut. I still made great headway.

However, Saturday, Deputy Dave took the lawn tractor into the back parts of the acreage that are more difficult to reach. We have an agreement, if I am off mowing somewhere on the land, he will stay close to the "home" site or camping site and vice-versa . So, he's off about three acres away in a heavily wooded area to mow the walking trails and after a while, I hear the POW, POW, POW's of a gun, which I knew was the 38 he had in the pocket of his overalls. Yes, we are packing fire power, mostly because of the worries of confronting wild boars and such.

I had been using my time at the campsite to do some peaceful thinking, reading, writing and was listing to Pavarotti. Classical music was playing as I began to hear gun-shots. I grabbed my IPhone to start videoing.

This video hit home for me that I live a life that most women don't...I guess I have more knowledge about weapons, ammunition, fire-power and such because by the time I began to video, I had already automatically counted four shots, which I immediately calculated to know that only one shot was left in the gun that holds five rounds. As I was thinking this aloud on the video log, POW, the 5th shot rang through the woods.

It didn't hit me as odd until later that day...Do all wives actually count shots of an unplanned shooting after remembering the kind of weapon that is being carried by their husband --- knowing how many shots have been fired, how many are left and exactly when it will be necessary to reload?

At that moment, I knew Deputy Dave would either be reloading or heading back to camp for more ammunition. I was fairly certain the shots were because of a snake.

I'm more of a machete kind of girl, but he's very comfortable with any kind of gun. We make a good team.

I continued to run the video-log and here he comes around the corner, yes it was a snake, but he left it where he shot it and retrieved it soon afterward.

On my second video-log, that I cannot show right now, Deputy Dave shows up with the snake he shot and we both realize, as I'm filming, that the snake is a rattlesnake. Of course, I have to reach out and shake the rattle, then I realize the snake is alive, even as it is being firmly grasped by Deputy Dave, his grip firm at the neck of the snake.

I cannot say much more than this because I'm discovering that some deadly snakes should be "allowed" to roam freely on your land, even on your pathways because they are "protected." These same snakes are on record as having the capacity to EASILY kill pets and children. Many adults who suffer a strike either die or lose a limb.

Live and learn.

In the country, we know snakes are all over the place, but the ones that are deadly venomous are not exactly a best buddy.

This particular snake is one of the most deadly in our parts of North America. It has some of the longest fangs on record, and I can attest to that fact upon personally seeing the long, curved fangs that ended with little needle sized protrusions that work like hypodermic needles to inject venom.

The fangs grow larger toward the jaw-line to allow the snake to really sink their teeth into their prey. These snakes can easily pierce thick clothing and most boots. 

The rattle on this snake that found his end on our life did have four buds/rattles which means the snake was four years rattle per year. Since this snake was coming out of a den near the area my brother recently camped with a boy-scout troop, I am thankful none of the kids accidentally stepped on this snake or came upon it without knowing how deadly a bite could be for their smaller stature.

This pit-viper had swollen cheeks indicative of a venomous snake. The rattle made an eerie sound. I am a Texas gal and it still had me doing the heeby-jeeby dance.

Most of all, I really didn't like the fact that these snakes can birth up to 20 live one-rattle slithering babies every year; rattlesnakes give birth to live young. And if you are a big snake lover who "raises" snakes in your controlled setting or fish-tank, more power to you. But, we don't have the luxury of being warm and fuzzy to a creature that could easily snuff out a child's life. Additional horror, it is also highly unpleasant to know that these snakes also have nocturnal activity.

They eat rodents, squirrels and rabbits along with some amphibians. But, these snakes are highly deadly to animals, pets and are either deadly or medically devastating to adults.

And the previous day to Deputy Dave shooting this snake, we'd been taking a nice leisurely walk to our lake, while wearing our flip flops through this snake's home-zone. Smart people, that's us. We don't live on the acreage as if we are in fear...we don't bundle up in layers of clothes and we don't wear steel-toed boots while walking around, we are comfortable out there while knowing there are predators of all sizes that might be around the corner. We've owned land in the country and have been raised with enough country-life to be comfortable in that setting.

However, for almost fifteen years, we've enjoyed being out there and have had years of living with nature, in peace. A few close run-ins with nature keeps us alert to the fact that this acreage is not an indoor arena, but we enjoy incredible freedom and comfort while in the country, but that means living more closely to creatures such as rattlesnakes.

Scary thought, especially since the coloring on these snakes perfectly enables them to be well camouflaged as they slither through the leaves on the ground. You can barely tell they are there, so my flip flops might give way to stomping shoes during our hikes.

Oh hell, I've been hiking there for nearly fifteen years. My flips flops aren't going anywhere but on my feet, but I might trade them in for the rubber galoshes a bit more often.


A Primitive Homestead said...

We must have been raised the same. Yes I can shoot a gun and I count the rounds fired like you. Born & raised in the mountains. Snake hunters would hunt on my Pap & Grams property. Wearing there high boots and leather chaps. Pokes we called them the large canvas draw string bags for carrying their live diamond back rattle snakes. As a young girl threw my teens I roamed the mountain as a play ground & no fear of these deadly creatures. New their dens were about but just grew up that way. Don't like the creatures & for sure they enter my yard they get their head chopped off with my hoe. A very young girl neighbor called me had a black snake in her trailer could hubby come vet it. Now her is a laugh for you. He took a fish net. After watching him continue to get it in a net & it slither threw the holes I who took a hoe chopped it's head off on her carpet. Hubby not impressed I got blood on her carpet. Put the snake in a bucket take out. She was not upset with the blood just happy what was thought by her small toddlers to be her pocketbook strap was no longer in her living room. Rattles copperheads black snakes loose their life if they enter my drive yard garden God forbid my home. Sounds like the guest to be cabin would be a good option. Til then how about a air mattress? You need comfort and rest to. Have you ever looked into the zero turn wide deck for mowing? I am sure you could it. To me starting one is like directing a horse while riding it. I am so happy your dream is coming true. Blessings! Lara

LindaG said...

Congratulations on selling your house!
We just put 300 feet of PVC in the pasture for water to a garden out there.
Have a blessed Friday! I'm glad no one was hurt. ♥