Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Year of the Snake

dyed "snake" sock blank

2013 is the year of the snake.  I celebrated back in January with my fiber pals at Raveloe.  We dyed long thin sock blanks to look like snakes.  Everyone had their choice of what to do next.  I unravelled mine and knit socks as intended.

Year of the Snake socks

I am happy with the results, and even though it was January, I figured I was sort of done with the year of the snake and wouldn't think about the Chinese Zodiak again until January 2014 or the next time I ate in a Chinese restaurant with the Zodiak placemats.

Silly me. 

My property has a pleasing amount of wildlife living on it, or at least passing through.  It feels good to see lots of plants and animals around the yard; I feel like I've made good choices and have created a healthy eco-system.  We tend to see one or two garter snakes around the place each summer.  There is a creak running along the edge of our property and because of that there seem to be a lot of frogs, and frogs are a favorite food for garter snakes.

For whatever reason this year we have many more garter snakes than we have had in the past.  In the spring I would see at least 2 every time I worked in the yard or flower beds.  I started trying to count them based on size and markings, and I think I tracked at least 6 different snakes.  They make me really nervous when I mow the lawn, because as I mow I see them quickly slithering away from the mower.  If they head for a flower bed I figure that they're safe, but sometimes they make bad choices, like slithering into the unmown grass, or onto the concrete sidewalk where I know they won't stay until I'm done, or back towards the mower, so I had gotten into the habit of picking up the ones who made bad choices and carrying them to the flower bed.  When I did this two weeks ago, I found out that while garter snakes are only mildly venomous, I am one of the lucky few people who have a reaction to their bites.  Not terrible, but my hands puffed up for a day, and that snake was set into the flower bed less gently and from a greater distance than the others.

Then last week my worst fears came true, and I inadvertantly hurt an animal.  I'm still upset about it and don't know how exactly it happened, but now there is a snake in our yard that we have nick-named "stumpy."

Finally yesterday morning I was doing some landscaping before going to work.  We had some topsoil left over from the spring and had stored it in the yard on a tarp.  We folded the tarp up over it a few times to try to keep it dry.  When I unfolded the tarp it was FULL OF SNAKES.  Like 2 in each layer.  One was a baby, which was super exciting to see, but I'm a little nervous now that I know about the allergy, so I left the tarp open and walked away, hoping that they would leave.  I had  to keep checking under the tarp before shoveling the dirt so I wouldn't accidently hurt any hiding snakes with my shovel.

So yeah, it's definitely the Year of the Snake at my house.  What's next year?  I hope it isn't the Tiger yet.