Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Snakey Encounterings

Well, the first slithery visitor of summer slid into my yard while I was on the phone in my hotspot. I only can barely afford a mobile phone and after today, I am keeping it well charged and close at hand.
He was black and very, very active. I freaked big time. I am not a big reptile fan. No Steve Urwin here. Grabbing a snake by the tail has never been my bag of tricks and nor is it ever likely to be. I see snake and my heart pounds, I start to sweat and I am looking for the nearest sharp instrument, perferably a hoe with a long, long handle and my instinct is to chop, chop,chop and chop if I can stop myself from running for the hills first. Fight or flight. Fight or flight. Fight or flight. I tell my son he should run indoors and NEVER EVER approach them, even for a better look. You leave them right alone. I rang the snakecatcher and had a chat. I wanted the ins and outs of snake habits from the horse's mouth so to speak as well as my own research on the internet. 'Stand still', he told me. 'Don't run. They don't want to bite you, because they can't eat you. They do not want to waste valuable venom on you.' Gee, that's a comforting thought. I hope the snake remembers that before he or she bites either me or my son or the cat or one of the goats. I am now worried about the cat as I think there is a snake or snakes under the house. In fact I am positive there are snakes there and HOPE there are no holes into the house from under there. I do not want to wake up with a copperhead or eastern brown in my bed or cupboard or bathroom, thank you very much.
He stated that the fine for killing a snake was $5,000. My family must have owed the Australian government a lot of money over the years. We have killed them for generations. The idigenous people say they are good tucker. I will never know, because they definitely do not have a cloven hoof, nor do they chew their cud. They also do not have fins, despite the fact that they do have scales. And they do not normally swim in water and do not have gills. I hate snakes. Maybe I could call in some indigenous snake catchers and they may not leave much evidence behind and come away with smiles. It is a very environmentally sound idea. The snake is going to serve a higher cause.

I am going to get rid of the wood pile in the corner of the yard and have a bonfire if I am allowed a permit. It will be impossible to burn off in my usual place as the guy who rents the farm paddocks has filled this huge shed with hay bales from the lucene and clover he and his son harvested. I am sure I would be very popular if I burned off a bit of wood and a spark or two was blown into the hay shed. I am going to dig a bit of a shallow hole and wet the ground with water all around when I do burn off the rotten planks and sticks and bits of pine cones and broken branches. The dead cypress trees are leaning at an angle in this high wind and they do need burning asap as soon as it is safe to do so. They are probably going to fall over the driveway and some are at awkard angles. Another matter to be looked after.

At first, I thought the snake I saw was a young Eastern Brown or a Black red belly, but it was correctly identified by the young chap from across the road who does my mowing and helps with the gardening. He said it was a Copperhead. He did see it. When he started the lawnmover, it moved out of the grass like greased lightening and headed off past the compost bin into the orchard.  I shall be very careful for the next few weeks, months around the fruit trees. I had a funny feeling about a snake being there for some time. Strange that but I always felt as though I was on high alert around that water tank area and the fruit trees.
I also cannot let my son roam around I have to know what he is doing at all times. He is going to hate it. But snakes are snakes and kids are kids. They have to be kept separate from each other otherwise there are disasterous results from close contact of the two species.

No comments: