Sidetracked Again By Mother Nature

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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.

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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.

Can I Be An Ornamental Horticulturist?

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What do you think? My daughter is known for sending me unique gifts. I wish I knew where she got the ideas she has had over the years. I’m not exactly known for my green thumb, but she knows I grow my own “food” items like certain vegetables, peppers, and my evil grapefruit tree. Have I ever told you about that evil tree? I will do that today, I promise. Anyway, my daughter sent me seeds so I can attempt to grow my own Arachnis moschifera Blume (Scorpion Orchid). She thinks I will do fine since I do grow one flowering plant successful. I would say mother nature is doing just fine, as it is a wild briar rose bush/tree which she refers to. All I did was dug it up from the river bank 10 years ago, split it, and replanted it in a few places. Other than that I don’t ever mess with it.

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So, once I do a little research, I will attempt to grow some Scorpion Orchids, they look pretty cool.

P.S.A From Your Friends @ T.S.O.T.S.B.

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In case y’all are wondering, yes this is a picture of a portion of the overgrown woods in my backyard. I was on my way down to the river, walking a trail I walk daily, and I began to get service notifications on my phone, seems I was out of WiFi range and my 4G was unable to stay connected. I just grinned and kept walking, no problem. I thought I would share my picture as well as remind everyone that its okay not to be connected, there are outdoors to enjoy and to explore. Just keep this in mind next time you experience an outage, mother nature is awesome and always available. I’m just saying.

When The Vultures Came To Dinner

0000 Vultures 2Last night as the sun was setting behind the trees which surround the creek behind my house I was down by the pond rolling up a water hose when I saw the most bizarre scene. I have lived in this house since we had it built back in 2003 and I can’t recall ever seeing vultures either in the sky or on the ground around here. I could smell rotting flesh somewhere close but couldn’t see anything immediately. I keep seeing flashes in the shadows over the trees and when I look up I see 20 plus vultures on the decent spiral so I followed where they were going. I sent a text to my son to grab the case that has the twins and where to meet me. Within a matter of minutes he was by my side and we were on the hunt for what was dead and for dinner for the vultures. Soon enough we could hear grunting and flapping so we knew we were really close. At the edge of the trees on the creek side there is a small yet significant clearing where different animals congregate to feed in the evenings and in the mornings, mostly deer this time of year. As the vultures moved around trying to find their space to feed it became clear that this was a young doe they were feeding on. It had to have wandered in here wounded or something because I was out here over the weekend and the area was clear as we walked down to the creek.

Which just shows how remarkably fast vultures respond to the freshly dead. I don’t know allot about vultures and as we noticed these were not large birds since their wingspan was under five foot. We assembled at the edge of the trees where we considered ourselves out of sight so we could watch them. After about fifteen minutes the breeze shifted and was blowing the stench in our direction. It was time to move on. Watching the birds feed reminded me that it would be dinner time by the time we would get back to the house. My wife asked us what we were doing but I told her it would be better to discuss it after dinner, so she agreed to wait. What a coincidence, we were having venison as well for dinner. After dinner my son was the one telling the story of how the great black vultures descended from the skies to gather for their feast on the doe carcass. He tells it like an old west story, it was humorous to listen to and entertaining to watch as he imitated their flight around the living room. He was all smiles because of his adventure and seeing vultures for the very first time in person, really up close and personal.

This morning I could smell the rotting flesh up around the house as I was leaving to go to work. I hope they finish the doe carcass off through out the day because I really don’t want to have to go down there with my tractor and move it further down the river. I don’t look forward to that at all. But, it the smell is still hanging out that close to the house it will become the inevitable move to make. Hopefully mother nature will clean up her mess so I don’t have to get involved. My son took the pictures because he wanted to do show and tell today for one or more of his classes. I wish I could be there to hear how well he tells the story. I will have to ask him to tell us all again tonight after dinner.