I Thanked It For Warning Me…

Then chopped off its head.

Yesterday, in the 95 degree late afternoon, I trudged down the stairs to the garden with the express intent of opening the greenhouse door to let a breeze through.

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I was wearing a dress and loafers.  (ie.  Ankles exposed)

Just as I reached the garden gate, and having noticed nothing out of the ordinary, I heard it.  The sound you will never mistake once you hear it.

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“There is nothing so eloquent as a rattlesnake’s tail.” –  Native American Proverb

Oh, how true.

You don’t take time to stop, look and ponder where the sound came from, you scream and jump as far AWAY from it as possible.  No thinking involved.  Just FLIGHT.

The rattlesnake, on the other hand, seemed to only be thinking FIGHT.

It must have been laid out across the ground in front of the gate sunning itself, BUT THEY ARE SO INCREDIBLY CAMOFLAUGED, I never saw it.

The rattle screamed it’s warning and only then did I noticed the snake recoiled in strike position.  Not the typical round coil like you see in pictures, but a sort of standing up S shape.  Head raised off the ground a good 8 inches and tail perched in the air rattling.

I was alone.  No husband to shout to for help.  No kids to command, ‘Run Inside And Get Papi!’  Just me.  And one of nature’s most awesome, fear instilling creatures.

And four gallons of adrenaline pumping through my veins.

Within 15 seconds, after a cautious sprint to the barn, a flathead shovel found its way into my grip.

The rattler stayed in the same FIGHT position the entire time.  Not retreating, just rattling and ready to attack.

A plethora of thoughts went through my mind before killing it, including, maybe it could be trapped and relocated.  Eh hem…NO.

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After looking it in the fangs and thanking it for warning me,  I dispatched of it.

“A rattlesnake loose in the living room tends to end all discussion of animal rights.”       – Lance Morrow, essayist, American Journalist

–  The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  Yes, I saved the rattle.

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About The Goat Cheese Lady

I am Lindsey. At first I was a city girl. Then I was an urban farmgirl, attempting to balance city and farm life. Now, after moving to the country, I have embarked on life as a rural farmgirl, complete with my husband, the Animal Whisperer, man of exceptional knowledge and patience, two boys who are louder than my sister and I ever were, a herd of milking goats, and a flock of egg-laying chickens. Coyotes, mice, country dogs and prairie dogs are frequent visitors. Just 45 minutes north is Colorado Springs, the setting for our first six years in the goat world. Our family. Our city friends. Our introduction to cheesemaking. But we...and our growing farm and soon-to-be creamery...have set up shop down off of Highway 115 in Penrose, Colorado.
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8 Responses to I Thanked It For Warning Me…

  1. Holy cow!! I jump at the appearance of a harmless garter snake! Great job! No room for rattlers around the farmstead!!

  2. rselder@comcast.net says:

    Hi Lindsay. Scary story! I grew up with rattlers. I hope the boyz got a chance to see it before you had to dispatch it. The rattler has a job to do and apparently your habitat work and your agriculture bend is doing it’s thing… gathering diversity. I hope you ATE the rattler, as many, many people do and saved the skin – belts, hat bands and more. You stretch it on a board… I realize you have many bare legs – goats and boyz and more up there, so I do not judge your decision… I am certain I would have made the same or similar decision. I am betting the boyz can read up on them and learn more. We had many encounters with rattlers, mocasinz and other poisonous snakes, but were in their territory on the prairie, so we just left them to go, after we thoroughly inspected them.

    There should also be reptile rehabbers in El Paso County -or at least there used to be… I was one of them that would accept reptiles. Only had one call about rattlers and had a turtle come though which we let go in Fountain Valley Park. So there are the options of rehabbers, or at least should be. Personally, I think hanta virus is a karmic conclusion of the culture as a whole killing every snake they see… My own family, on the farm, would blow the head off with a shotgun and THEN decide what snake it was… usually a bull snake. So they eliminated all the rodent hunters around the house and barn in a few years.

    Glad you did not get struck. Another interesting note… in Texas where they have the rattle snake festivals and bag up many, many rattlers to kill during the “fun”… Now they are noting they are left with rattle snakes that don’t warn with a rattle… non-rattling snakes. They figure all the rattling snakes are the ones that get caught and the non-rattlers are breeding more non-rattlers. That’s scary too! It is a complex world, isn’t it? Thanks for the nice read! Becky I have 2 more jars for you plus the one I am using and think my son has another… so we have 4 right now – 2 empty and 2 being used… I am also thinking I should give you another check for $130… which is 13 weeks of milk… Not sure where we are right now with you, but I’d rather be ahead than behind. Thanks, we so love the milk! Granddaughter doing great with it!

    • Becky, I appreciate your thoughtful response. No, unfortunately we did not eat it. I’ll need to do some research on how to skin it and cook it so that I’m prepared for next time. I’ll also look into the reptile rehab idea. Thanks! Lindsey

  3. Melina says:

    I saw non-poisonous snakes in my back yard 3 times yesterday! It must have been a good day to be a serpent on the move. Thank you for killing this one before he took a slither through the neighborhood. Brave girl!

  4. Ann Cott says:

    YIKES!!!

  5. Dawn Trent says:

    Oh my goodness! That gives me chills!

  6. Roberta says:

    Oh my goodness! I have seen them along 26th street, north of Bear Creek Park, as well.

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