Sidetracked Again By Mother Nature


Catching this beautiful little black garter snake this morning brought back some fond memories of my childhood. I caught two snakes today, this one and a copperhead, which I will talk about in a bit. This little guy was chilled out where I grow my peppers, it was probably stalking the one of the abundant insects or little frogs that love these peppers so much for some reason. No need to relocate him, he is a welcome sight for me, helps keep things in a healthy balance in the garden. Most snakes, if not all snakes, have a place and a role in nature, and lucky for me there are but a couple of poisonous snakes to contend with around here, I will get to that in a bit.

Growing up in southeastern Texas gives a person plenty of opportunity to be exposed to snakes, reptiles, and a good variety of wildlife. My wife will be the first to tell me that most people with an ounce of common sense have an inordinate fear of snakes. But I was different in the beginning when I was very young, I had a fascination with snakes. In my school days I remember seeing a big rattlesnake coiled up underneath my dad’s work truck and, according to my mother, I was stopped shy of grabbing it, which probably saved my life according to my parents.

I remember a time when I caught a small garter snake and approached them with it in a gentle and educational way, and they both began to panic. I was trying to show them how I hold it and how I respected it as a wild creature. I spent allot of time as a kid learning to understand the difference between poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes. An early introduction to snakes knocked any fear of snakes right out of me and since then I have always enjoyed having a snake companion through the years after that even if it was just long enough to carry one home and release into my mother’s garden where it can do some good.

I don’t mind catching a nonpoisonous snake whenever the opportunity presents itself. However, I have a healthy respect for the poisonous ones and give them their space unless they happen to be close to where kids might play, then I may help them relocate or to get on to the great beyond like this copperhead found in my yard below the evil grapefruit tree I was going to take pictures of for y’all. Notice that his head has been severed, yet she is biting herself. A poisonous snake with his head severed can still bite for a long time, many hours, if not days, after it has been cut off. I don’t bury heads, things dig up buried things, it goes into the burn can for disposal.


I detest people who simply kill a poisonous snake indiscriminately just for the sake of killing it. When possible, I relocate the snake, sometimes they just too close though, I have allot of young feet pounding my yard, so I like to keep it as safe for the small human children as I can. There are four kinds of venomous snakes living in Texas, we encounter all but one regularly here in southeast Texas, the coral snake. Now, copperheads, cottonmouths (water moccasins) and rattlesnakes are pretty much everywhere all the time. Where I live my property backs up to the river and I also have a 4 1/2 acre pond, so I see those three pretty regularly.

I will be jointly posting this information on Guide To Ball Pythons because the information just might be beneficial there for readers. For those of y’all who have yet to visit then this would be a good time to see what I’m doing there as well.

Shake Your Tail Feathers


For the past few months I have been following the advice of the diabetic dietitian I formally was insured to see which is to walk at least one hour a day covering at least one mile in distance.. I don’t go to a gym, nor do I visit any circular monotonous track, because I have plenty of room to walk on my property. Hell, the walk from my front door to the main street where my mailbox is located is just shy of 1/4 mile, so I have plenty of places to walk. In preparation I did cut a pathway for myself through a section of my wooded area because it was going to be easier to go through it than around it. While on the topic of taking advice, I was told I needed to write more on my blog to get back into the swing of things by a good southern doctor friend of mine, she knows who she is and that’s what counts here. In the end, I do walk for over 1 1/2 hours each evening and now write more on my blog, if this can be called actual writing to y’all. I enjoy my walks because it is very peaceful, very relaxing, and doctors say it benifits my health. Bonus.

Over the last few weeks I have noticed that the water fowl down on the pond and surrounding it have been acting differently which means that they are either spooked or they have just moved on. I am pretty lucky because this pond always attracts some spectacular wildlife to observe. When I looked a bit closer at the overgrown side of the pond I found 2 different places that a predator had made a meal of a few of the young ducks. This didn’t surprise me as my property backs up to the woods, a creek, and a few thousand acres of absolute nothingness. There have been some small paw prints in the mud around the area so I know there are dogs running around. I never minded them because they stay well out of sight and down in the bottoms of my property. I have seen one out of what I expect to be 3 or 4 of these “wild” dogs. I have had to pop that one in the ass with a pellet gun twice because it was getting closer with curiosity and I don’t need that in my actual yard around my house or other buildings. So, we tolerate each others presence so to say.

Later in the afternoon yesterday I had company on my walk, my 17 y/o daughter wanted to talk to me alone. Without getting to much into the talk right here so we don’t get sidetracked let me just say it was about her boyfriend and some problems he is having financially. In the end I was asked if he could move in. When I am done here I will get into that father daughter talk. That being said, the company was a pleasant change to my normal routine. As she gets older she seems to need daddy less and less each day. So, we walked, talked, and enjoyed the peaceful trek. About 45 minutes into our walk we noticed an odd smell, the distinct smell of something dead. This is a smell, for those of the all who don’t know, that is unmistakable, and as we got closer to the source it became much stronger in the air. She tried to guess what it could be that had perished in the woods and then she began to worry me a bit because she asked “what if it is a dead body?” Where in the hell did that come from? However, one never knows what one will stumble across in the woods while on a walk. Putting on my best daddy face I assured her it was not a dead human body we were smelling and this I know for a fact. There is a distinctly different smell between a rotting circus of an animal and that of a human being. What can I say, I have been around the block once or twice. Just imagine learning some of life’s lessons which can not be taught by another person rather they must be learned by experiencing them. Enough said about that, we have a dead animal to find now. Why? Because if we don’t then other predators will come to investigate the smell of death and then I might have a problem I don’t really want on my hands. The plan was to find it, remove it, and get it in the burn pile before it sparks too much interest with the other wildlife.

We walked ahead maybe 20 yards or so and we found the source. I was actually surprised because I was non this part of the trail Sunday evening and this was not here. There was actually more surprise in my mind than just the fact that it was laid there dead. In all the years I have lived here, pushing 10 years now, I have only seen one other coyote and she was on the other side of the creek heading away from the backside of my property. In fact, that was right about 7 years ago so its not like it is a common sight. Oh sure, we hear them in the dead of the night in the far off distance but never see them or any of their activities. But here we have a dead juvenile coyote. I flipped it over looking for obvious injuries and see nothing. I actually expected to see a bullet wound which would mean it just wandered up here and died from its injuries. But there is no clear sign. I called a friend of mine who works with the state of Texas wildlife department to find out what I needed or could do. He told me to just wait and he would come check it out. After he arrived and checked it out it was determined to be a natural death. We loaded the coyote into the bed of his personal truck, said our goodbyes, and that was that. I was in a hurry now to get up to my shop because I had a bag of lye  which I wanted to spread out where the coyote had been to get rid of the smell. Once that was done I had to go shower to get cleaned up for the night. Something my daughter had already done.

I see now that I will have to keep an eye on my land down by the bottoms because I do not need the predator threat around here. I may need to start walking with more than just my stick from now on for sure. Later last night my daughter was on the phone with her boyfriend where I heard her tell him that we had talked and about how our walk turned into a gruesome discovery. I giggled to myself as I walked by because I thought it was it was great, personally, walking and talking with the daughter who seems to have outgrown her daddy.