Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Snake eyes..."

In preparation for this past week's round of severe weather here in Maryland, I went out on the elevated deck, stowed some furniture, dismantled the gas grill, turned it on its side to keep it low and lessen the tendency to blow around, and stowed all the bits and pieces inside.  Though many areas of Maryland had weather issues, fortunately things were ok here - well, except for some heavy rain.  

So, yesterday's project was to upright and reassemble the grill.

Much to my surprise, when I opened the top of the grill after putting it back upright, guess what was lurking inside?  A coiled-up, and turned-topsy-turvy (translation: rather uncomfortable-looking) 4-foot-long black snake, complete with beady, piercing eyes looking my way!  He was as genuinely surprised to see me, as I was to see him.  Needless to say, I had to figure out how to peaceably evict him and send him on his way.  I wouldn't hurt him, as black snakes keep rodents under control.  And that's a good thing, out here in the sticks, where I live.

With a goodly supply of mothballs and a lot of loud noise (yes, I admit, even a few four-letter words), I convinced him to start moving under his own power.   He slowly ambled out of the grill and dropped to the deck, then slithered away from me till about a third of his length was out over the edge of the deck (12 ft in the air, mind you).   At that point, just like Wile E Coyote in one of the many the Road Runner cartoons, he learned about the effect of Newton's law of gravity.  PLOP!  Down he went, into a big black lump on the grass 12' below the deck...   From where I stood, this definitely was hilarious, but he most likely failed to see any humor whatsoever in it.

Surviving the fall, and now out of imminent danger, the snake skulked off into the woods behind the house.  What ever possessed him to climb 12 feet up on the deck in the first place is beyond me, but I'm glad he's relocated now.  He can live very comfortably in the forest right beside/behind the's very you can see from the following sunrise picture - less than 20 feet.   And black snakes have been said to be better mousers than a cat.  

A snake's paradise - just a few feet behind the house!  Taken from the deck.

A year ago, I recall chasing away what might have been his father - a 6 foot long black snake, twice his diameter - which liked to call my front entry a suitable sunning spot.  That made him the official "welcoming committee" for any summer guests - I'll never know how many folks turned around and left after seeing this happily sunning itself by the front door... 

 My welcoming committee of one...

I excavated and filled in some big voids under the driveway and sidewalk, one of which may have been its den, since it contained unidentified rubbery eggs.  Then I surrounded the house (and saturated the area) with mothballs.  Within two weeks, there was no more evidence of the snake or its family.  But, as if to take its place, a family of field mice set up housekeeping in the garage. It took till late last fall (and a lot of mousetraps baited with peanut butter) to finally eradicate them.  As their numbers thinned, I'll never know if perhaps "son of black snake" was helping chase them away,  and I didn't even know it.

Just recently I've begun sunning myself on the deck. Wearing the summery short pink sleeveless dress shown below (which the better half regularly tells me she hates, even just around the house), I lay on a blanket on the deck, to try tanning my pale arms and legs.

Needless to say, I plan to get some kind of a cot or lounge chair before going back out.   No more "on the deck" sunning sessions for this girl. I don't need surprised with a snake head popping up through gaps in the deck floor, right in front of my nose  While snakes don't particularly scare me, that would be quite unsettling,  for both the snake and me!

My Sunbathing Outfit

Today's project was to stop by my friendly local auto parts store to get some replacement wiper blades for my car.  

The male clerk "miss-identified me," which always makes my day.  I had grabbed the wrong blades off the shelf, so he went back to select the right ones.  Secretly not wanting to damage my nails, at check out, I asked if he'd put them on my car.  "Sure will, Miss.  It's something we always do for the ladies."   After he finished, I thanked him profusely for saving my nails, and assured him that I'll now be one of their customers.  He blushed and said "Thanks, women always have such beautiful hands and nails, and we want to help them stay that way."

A wonderful gesture....and so do I!

Though summer is still officially not quite here yet, following is a local early September scene...sunflower fields, typically planted after the wheat harvest.   This was taken several years ago in the hills north of Baltimore, with thoughts of the forthcoming Autumn in mind.

September Maryland Sunflowers

Please enjoy...


  1. Those sunflowers look so lovely. Great picture.

    As for the snake .....hmmmmm us girls from the UK would run a mile from something like that ......

    1. Becca,

      I think I messed up, and my reply to your comment didn't post as a reply. Please see it below!



  2. If you live in rural settings snakes are part of the flora and fauna of the environment. They tolerate us and we have to tolerate them.
    I like the pink dress. There are items in my wardrobe that I like that my wife does not like too much so we try to meet half way.

    1. Hi Pat,

      Exactly right on the animals being part of the environment here! I can (mostly) deal with them!

      As for the pink dress - thanks, I like it, too! A lot... But I don't think the world is ready to see me wearing it!!!!! For now, it will stay inside the house...

      Since the better half had her medical issues earlier this year (which, while somewhat better, are ongoing), her "enthusiasm" for this type of activity has seriously dimmed, so I'm not pursuing it with her right now. Hopefully there will be a time for discussing it, after she is closer to "back to normal."

      Meanwhile, I plan to continue to wear the pink dress for sunning myself (once I get the cot or lounge chair for the deck....LOL!) Being sleeveless, with a big neck opening and just the right length, it's perfect! The better half will just go elsewhere in the house for that time frame, then she won't get upset.

      Thanks for reading, and for commenting!


  3. Hi Becca,

    The sunflower fields were quite spectacular...glad you enjoyed seeing the pic!

    My little buddy the snake was a total surprise, especially up on the deck, which has no stairs for access. But out here in the country there are all sorts of creatures big and small, and they were here first. I'm glad Mr. Snake wasn't hurt in the fall from the deck. He needs to keep helping eat the field mice, which migrate from the nearby woods and cornfields.

    Now if the animals were something on the order of a rattlesnake or a skunk, I'd be calling the County Animal Control folks. But the non-fatal, non-stinky variety, I can generally deal with myself...must be my male side coming through.

    Thanks for reading and commenting, hon!