Tuesday, August 06, 2013
The Year of the Snake
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.
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.
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.