Monday, May 15, 2006


"That's strange," I thought. "Turkey vultures don't usually sit on the ground cawing over and over again ... they're usually either quietly eating or fleeing." I was on my way to feed the horses and the place where the vulture sat wasn't too far, so I decided to amble over and check it out.

Ambling is big in the country. Never walk when you can amble. Or mosey. Moseying is the pinnacle, of course, but ambling will do in a pinch. I was in the rubber waders, not cowboy boots, so I went with ambling, since a mosey is quite chancy to pull off in waders.

But I digress.

I decided to amble over and check it out. As I approached the cries got louder and louder, doubtlessly saying something along the lines of "Get away, fool, this is my meat!" I suspect turkey vultures are not, as a rule, very polite.

In any event, this particular one flew off in a huff of falling feathers as I got closer (and apparently more alliterative). I closed in on the spot where he'd been standing, thinking I'd find a half-dead rabbit or somesuch.

Nothing appeared immediately, so I stopped and took a closer look. I'm not sure why I stopped instead of continuing to amble ... Maybe my feet were tired from being in the waders, or maybe the sun was in my eyes, I don't know. But stop I did, to have a look around.

And lying there, not ten feet away, was a five foot rattlesnake.

It wasn't coiled or anything, it was just lying flat, strung out. It hissed once at me, kind of feebly, and I figured it must be dying (hence the vulture). Still, a five foot snake only ten feet away doesn't leave much room for error (or lunging), so I hastily backed away, heart pounding.

Rattlesnakes are poisonous, as everyone knows, but they don't kill very many people. Partly that's due to their population dropping so quickly due to humans doing their best to eradicate them, but mostly it's because snakes don't see us, or donkeys, or horses, as food. We're too big to eat for them. So mostly they stay out of our way and I, for one, am happy to stay out of theirs.

Maybe next time I won't complain when Annie makes me tote the shotgun on our walks. But mostly I'll just do my best to stay out of their way.


Denise said...

Jeff, I know that feeling very, very well! I think I told you Rick and I were sitting on a bench underneath our favorite tree on the property when I looked over my shoulder, and there was a huge, and I mean huge, ratttlesnake. Rick said it was about eight feet long. I jumped up, screamed,"SNAKE!" and that was all she wrote. Scary, scary, scary. You need snake boots. I've looked into them -- you can get them at Academy. We need them snake boots, pardner. Good thing you didn't get bit. I think I'll wait to visit you and Annie when it's cold outside and snakes are hibernating!

JimmyMac said...

Let's see...
snakes all over the yard, scorpions fall from trees and sting innocent breasts, and haven't you mentioned skunks!
Somrtimes the term "city slickers" doesn't sound so bad.

P.S. I loved the amble/mosey digression.

annie'sbuddie said...

Snake boots are good things - I wore mine during my visit to SFR. They make me feel invincible and are great for sauntering - haven't found ambling or moseying in them yet.

With proper attire & acutrements, one might almost mistake me for an action figure! Like maybe "Steel Ball Hippy Barb".

Draw that one Jeff! TeeHee!