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.


Brenna said...

Wow, I had no idea that garter snakes were venomous at all. We used to play with them all the time growing up.

Rachel said...

We learned that if you leave a tarp on our lawn it quickly becomes the year of the rat! Also, don't worry, next year is the year of the horse, so that should be nice. And 2015 is the year of the sheep so you should enjoy that.