Posts Tagged ‘garter snake’

I couldn’t think of anything to title this post.   I am considering that perhaps The Havens will need a name change in the near future.  Out in California, there is a city called Twentynine Palms because when it was settled there were 29 palm trees there.

I’m thinking that we need to change the name of The Havens to Twentynine Thousand Elms:

You see all those little seedlings down along the driveway in this picture?   Those are sprouted elm seeds.   It is like that all over my gardens right now.    Like I need another project:   pulling up elm trees.

While I was throwing water at my lavender bed today, I noticed that one of the shrubs was shaking in a most emphatic manner.   When I moved the branches aside, this is what I saw.

That is a baby rabbit, that was stashed there for nursing purposes by its mamma.   I think it is very interesting that soon after rabbits get past the two inch stage, the mother separates them out of the nest and stashes them in various safe places, then visits them regularly for feeding.   I can see that this would be a good thing because if a predator comes across one baby, it has not come across the whole litter.   It must make for a very busy day for the mother, though.

Anyway, the burden of what this little guy was telling me was something like, “My mommy told me to stay put but it is so WET all of a sudden and I just don’t know what to do now!”

Yes, very wet behind the ears.   And everywhere else, too.   Despite the knowledge that in short order this little bunny will be eating my flowers, I did NOT snap its neck after this picture was taken.   I put him back down in the lavender for his mother to take care of.

I probably was feeling kindly towards all young wild ones this morning as I discovered that the robin nest under my window that I was featuring is empty this morning.   A skunk, raccoon, owl, cat, or snake cleaned it out in the last 24 hours.   Sad.   But we still have lots of robin nests around the place with kiddios, and the parents are starting over again already.   They have chosen and high place in the elm this time, probably it will be better luck for them than a shrub at nearly ground level.

 Out in the vegetable garden, the garter snake was hunting in the lettuces.

This is basically what my father thinks I am right now, since I am part and parcel of the conspiracy to “isolate” him at an apartment in town.    Like he isn’t isolated right now, at the end of a half mile driveway that crosses a hollow and is washed out so badly the only vehicle that can manage it should be a truck, preferably 4 wheel drive.   Like he isn’t isolated now, since all his friends are dead and no one around the neighborhood can stand him because he is so opinionated; even my mother lives in a separate house and doesn’t go to visit him, he goes to visit her.

Oh, he blows hot and cold.   He tells me that he can take care of himself, does just fine, and blows off the suggestion that the fact that he was admitted to the hospital malnourished and dehydrated belies this statement.  Then in the next breath he wants to know what he is going to do for food at the apartment  if he is” isolated” in town.  This is because deep in his heart he knows the only square meals he gets are the ones my mother prepares for him, and if he’s in town she won’t be catering for him.   Jim and I will be, but he doesn’t know that yet.

I am taking note of all this experience.   I will give Jesse a link to these blog posts so he can show them to me when I get old and difficult and need help and am insisting that I can do it all myself.


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Sometimes I feel like my life epitomizes the metaphor used in the old movies to denote time passing:  the calendar pages slipping off the peg and sliding onto the floor in a pile.

The things I have been doing since I last posted!    I probably can’t even list them, but right at the top is the fact that I just cleaned my back bathroom fairly thoroughly because (since it was his day off) Jim replaced the sink faucet in there, which had been dripping steadily for several weeks.   In the process of the job, which also involved replacing the stopper apparatus and both cut off valves (which were frozen in extreme old-age arthritic decrepitude).  Everything had to come out from the cabinet under the sink in order for the worker to be able to crawl in there.  There is an impressive array of first aid equipment under there, along with quite a collection of various hand made soaps and several years accumulation of crud, among other things that shall remain unlisted.

But I would say that the proper term for what happened to that room was it became filthified.

So I purified it.

I also have been at rapt attention in front of numerous tutorials on Art Journaling, which I found over at Wild Precious Studio, my new passion as far as favorite web pages go.   This is a circle of artists that nurture their own creativity and the creative soul of the people who associate with them.   It is a kind a lovely spot on the internet, and quite inspirational.    I fear that I will be inspired to go shopping, as I now have a want list of materials that isn’t quite as long as my arm.   Fortunately, I do have some things to start with, so I can get busy soon.   Meanwhile, I did cut into my new paper and make a couple of cards, one of which still needs embellishing.   The other one has already been used since I made it specifically for Jim for the anniversary of the day we met 29 years ago.

I was trying to express the immediate sense of connection we had the moment we laid eyes on each other.

Let’s see, what else has been going on?  I wrote a poem, which needs some polishing.  Lots of massage happened, with the associated laundry floating through the house.  Our wonderful niece came and spent the weekend with us and made us an unbelievably wonderful lemon raspberry tart in a lemon butter tart crust.   Jim made us tempura onion rings for dinner one night, too.   Amazingly enough, in the past two weeks I have actually lost 3 pounds.   Go figure.

I had to buy new shoes, my old cross trainers wore out.  I felt sincerely like they should have lasted longer than 6 months, but athletic shoes just don’t stand up to the life they lead on my feet.  In all fairness, I don’t think the researchers at New Balance have any inkling of what constitutes “cross training” in my lexicon. . .

The garden is coming along.    These are the baby lettuces from Cook’s Garden Spring Lettuce Mix.

In a few weeks we’ll be eating them.   While I was taking this picture I was being harangued by this fellow, laying claim to the plum thicket which is maybe 20 feet north of the vegetable garden fence.

We’ve been going through a whirlwind  of weather lately.   We have experienced rain, gale force winds, sunny weather, grey gloomy days, and the temperatures have ranged from 88°F  to 28.    In other words, normal weather for spring in the Ozarks.

It got warm enough to cause the snakes to emerge.   This is the female garter snake that was hanging around last year.   Apparently she made it through the winter just fine.

We’ve been deeply involved in processing last year’s garlic also, separating the heads into cloves and peeling them.  We alternate batches:  chopping it for freezing one time and roasting it the next.

I also spend quite a lot of time wandering around the yard looking for things to delight the eye.   These shots were taken in the front “lawn” one dewy morning last week.

The labyrinth and savanna from the gate beside the house.

Last night a male great horned owl perched in the pine trees by the pond and proceeded to spend the next hour calling.   For about ten minutes I could hear a female answering him.    I hope what he was saying was “Hey, Baby!   Come on and live over here, I just had a fantastic rabbit dinner!”

I left my bedroom window open so I could listen to them calling back and forth, and fell asleep in between owl sentences.   I woke up at about 3 a.m. freezing almost to death since the temperature had dropped so much during the night.

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I was going to wax poetical about autumn and the changes that go on during this time of the year, but so many people have made posts lately in the same vein.   And it seems like they have done a better job of the poetry than I feel like I can.    So I’ll just tell you to go visit Frances or Carol or Sue O’Keiffe and be dazzled.

Instead I am posting a few pictures that I have captured in the last few days here at The Havens as things prepare for the coming winter.

I annoyed this caterpillar severely for quite a while, making it walk from one side of the echinacea leaf it was on to the other in my quest for a grand portrait.   This appears to be a golden wooly bear caterpillar, which is the larval form of the Virginian Tiger Moth.   Oddly enough, this moth is pure white in form, making its naming a mystery.

Just in case you were wondering, you are looking at his (her) head end.  Shortly after I annoyed the caterpillar, I continued in my deadheading chore and came across a garter snake.   It was a little sluggish since it wasn’t that warm of a morning.   Frankly, this snake would have been happy to eat the caterpillar pictured above, and their habit of consuming plant-eating insects are one of the reasons I like garter snakes.

Earlier that morning I was walking Ruby in our customary place and caught a good sized skein of geese as they circled around discussing whether it was time to head south or not.

Later in in the day I found that the honey bees were visiting the cleomes.

Jim was putting the new tarp over the leaky roof of the woodshed and disturbed a gravid praying mantis who was hunting there.   (We have noticed that the wrens think the wood piles are the buffet du jour also.)   Anyway, in order to preserve her from the activity around the site, I moved her over to the Petite Prairie.   Frankly, I don’t think she looks all that grateful.

Last night when I let Ruby out for her evening constitutional she tore out to the root cellar and proceeded to bark in a very meaningful manner.   I thought it might be politic to go see what she was so interested in, not really wishing to deal with a skunked dog right before bedtime.

But it wasn’t a skunk, it was a young possum, which she “treed” in the fig bush.   I know there are a lot of people who don’t particularly like possums, but I believe that the scavengers and carrion eaters play an important role in our lives.   Anyway, I found this shot rather humorous, because the poor thing is trying desperately to “Play dead” while at the same time clinging for dear life to a branch that really isn’t big enough to cling to comfortably.

“Nothing to see here, folks; move along, move along.”

Lastly, but not least, I am including a scan of all the discarded avian raiment that I have found when walking out and about this year.

And so I go out to embrace the changes in the season, while reminding myself to treat my body lovingly and carefully as the pulled muscle in my groin heals.

No, don’t ask how I acquired that injury.   The answer involves Way Too Much Information.

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