Friday, May 9, 2008

Swamped in Cherry Bottom

What a week. I planned on having at least three more posts up, but there has been more work and unexpected incidents. Will have the posts on the feature film up this weekend.

This past Monday was a 20 hour day. Farm life is simple, you 'make hay while the sun shines'. Grab a five hour nap and get up to do it again. Unless you have about three inches of rain, then you deal with the problems that causes. Like a leaky roof. It's an old farm house, so it comes with it's share of character.

Some of my tardiness can be laid off on the fact that I got a nice, second-degree burn on the palm of my hand over the weekend. Hadn't gas welded anything in awhile. After I welded up a broken handle on a rototiller, I went to move it about five minutes later. Without my welding gloves on. It's a lovely, silver dollar-sized burn, right where your palm folds over when making a fist. Yes, it hurts and it bleeds nicely also. Didn't hurt the rototiller at all.

All the wet weather has given the bugs and varmints impetus to harass people. When the Wisconsin Wildman showed up the other day to scream about politics, we stood in the driveway and talked about current events for a while. My ankle started to itch, raised my pants leg and found six ticks! WW was standing there in t-shirt, shorts and sandals, he just looked at me, "Why aren't there any on me?"
"Hell, I don't know, maybe they like that cruise ship soap that I'm using, maybe they like the taste of me." It ended the conversation, then and there. He jumped into his truck and I went into the house. I was now itching, just south of my navel. Where I found that I had five more ticks, one of which had already hooked into me. They wanted to have my genitalia for breakfast. Not the way to start the day.

Later in the afternoon, working in the tractor shed on a piece of farm equipment, I walked outside, looked up the lane towards the old log cabin. There was a stick next to the school bus, just past the dump truck. Which wasn't there five minutes earlier. It didn't seem to be a car part from my father's esoteric collection of motor vehicles. He also has an ambulance. I have no problem with prop cars when I want to shoot a video!

The stick moved, raised it's head. Hmm, a serpent in the lane. Not good. I walked over towards it. Got about twenty feet away from the sucker. He was stretched out, digesting his meal of chicken eggs. My neighbor had told me that she didn't get any hen fruit that day, which didn't make any sense. It did now.

From a distance, it looked like a chicken snake. Which, surprise, surprise, eats chicken eggs. This one was about five feet long. He pivoted his head towards me. It was more triangular than I liked, so I went back and got a pistol. I prefer a shotgun when dealing with snakes, but you use what you have.

Now, I know that all of you gun control people out there are probably screaming about this, but how many large snakes have you faced in your life? I get to deal with about three a year, sometimes more. This was the second one this year, the first was a small copperhead that wanted to bite me when I opened the door to the tractor shed. I crushed his head with my boot heel. Remind me sometime to tell you the story about the python.

Most snakes take off and run when they see a human or a dog. Not this one. He just stayed there, sunning himself. I was about twenty feet away, had to call Thor back. He wanted to inspect the reptile. I stood next to the dump truck, getting an angle that would lessen the possibility of a ricochet hitting any farm equipment. The first round hit him about four inches behind the head. He coiled up, wanting to fight. I put two more rounds downrange, hitting him right behind the head and then a head shot. Now he was flipping around, snakes will do that for hours, even with a kill shot. I walked closer, missed, hit with the next round and then missed again as he flopped some more.

Thor was wanting to get in on the action, but stayed back after I called him off. He could sense the danger and tried to stay between me and the snake. I walked over and poked the snake with a tree branch. It was a water moccasin, also called a cottonmouth. One of the few snakes that are aggressive and will come after you. Nothing like a poisonous reptile in the driveway.

I went and got the neighbor, to get his opinion. This was the first cottonmouth that I had seen in a long time. Snakes vary in color, due to age and injury. I pried his mouth open and we both looked at those needle-like fangs. I picked him up and threw him into the back of an old pickup truck. Want to get a photo later.

We got another couple of inches of rain yesterday and that slowed me down. The electric system is so funky that I can't use the computer during a storm. We either get an electrical surge or a power outage, either one kicks in my battery back-up and throws me off the internet and the computer. Spent most of the day reading a book, "Free Lunch" by David Cay Johnston. This book should be required reading for everyone in the country. Especially in an election year.

I won't even go into the emails that I should have answered earlier this week. There are a couple of people out there who are probably wondering what I'm doing. I try to answer my emails immediately after I receive them, unless they require research or other work. Will get those caught up ASAP.

It's Friday, wonder what the weekend is going to be like.

Probably just another boring day in the country.

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