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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mind Power!

I keep power tools in the pumphouse. They are useful in emergencies. Every occasion that calls for power tools is an emergency. How do I know that?

Mindpower!

This Normaphoto shows how serious and full of mindpower I am in an emergency. I have been inside the pumphouse assembling tools and fasteners toward rehanging our back door. 

A snake got in! 
Early in the morning I took coffee into the back porch and noticed something coiled on the concrete floor that did not belong there.  Without glasses, I couldn't distinguish its head shape or markings in dim light. 

"Are those dark spots only blotches or diamond-shaped?" I asked.

"I don't know," replied the snake. "I just came in through that gap in the door-sill corner and don't know what sort of thing I am."

"Well, you're only about 15 inches long and a little thicker than a crayon, but I can't see you well enough to tell if you're a gopher-snake or a young rattler. Do you rattle?"

"I don't think so, but I'm really new and rattles come later --best be careful!"

"Right, then here's the plan: I'm going to grab you very quickly and gently behind your head and lift you off the floor."

"What if I bite?"

"If I grab right you won't be able to, but you may wrap yourself around my forearm for security. I need to have one arm free to open doors and gates."


So I transported porch-snake back into the wild, directed him toward the creek and gave him a little toss.  I was determined not to look too closely at his markings because, well, I knew he wasn't a garter snake (insectivore) and didn't want to be too frightened. Still, the experience rattled me and I immediately repaired to the pumphouse to organize materials and tools for the job ahead.  Norma took a photo from the west pumphouse garden:

It furnishes photographic evidence indicating my morning meditations were not strictly nicotinic. I was planning methods of making the back porch door secure and snug in its frame, and projecting a lively psychic-improvement industry to attract all those who like that sort of thing. Here's a catchy ad-phrase: "Hey Kids! Get Mindpower! Give me all your money!" 

Do  they still print those in the backs of comic books? Maybe this new century has them in magazines about country life in crazy old farm houses like mine.  I believe using Mindpower to work things out with snakes and kids and each other is an important first step in evolution that could take us anywhere, and doubtless will.  To all, happy September!

24 comments:

  1. What an unnerving welcome to September! I've always admired your mindpower, but I also heartily applaud your courage. There's no way in hell that I would ever touch a snake - - not even a talking one. I'm certainly glad that things worked out. You are unharmed. And the snake has a new lease on life - - far from the pumphouse.

    When I lived in Texas I found a snake in my kitchen once - coiled in the middle of the floor in the middle of the night! I managed to get it outside with a shovel and a broom. I didn't hurt it. I have no clue what kind of snake it was.

    Wear your glasses next time you go to the pumphouse, and - heck - bring a shotgun.

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    1. Kitchen snake, Yikes! Then you know the routine. My first thought was to get some tools but thought the critter would hide while I fetched them.

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  2. You are too brave (foolish). If that was a rattlesnake it is poisonous even with no rattles. They are born able to inflict a venomous bite. What if his move to bite had been faster than your grabbing behind his head? Please be certain what you are picking up.

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    1. You're quite right about young rattle-less rattlers being especially dangerous. Even gopher snakes have a respectable amount of venom. I try not to alarm them but sometimes contact is unavoidable.

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  3. Sigh. Much, much braver than me. When a snake took up residence under our front steps for about nine months of the year I only used the back door. It was venomous, but by Australian standards, not very.
    I am very glad that no snakes and no Geo's were harmed in the making of this post.

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    1. Many years as a gardener taught me much about snakes. They want mainly to be left alone but often crawl into the wrong places for it. I have done so several times.

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  4. So how does one grab a snake just right to avoid getting bitten? And I'm with EC - glad that no one got hurt.

    That is an amazing photo of Geo. thoughts coming through the pumphouse wall! Care to translate what you were thinking? :)

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    1. O Jenny, it's a combination of gentleness, speed and necessity. Best never to touch snakes barehanded because they frighten easily and will defend themselves. When I gardened professionally, I used a caliper-type picker-upper with rubber tips, same one I used to police trash --then released the little creatures away from my work area. I touch snakes only if I have no other recourse and try not to hurt them. What I thought in the pumphouse was, "Yikes, there was a snake in my porch!"

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  5. Sounds as if your adventure ended well, for you and the snake of indeterminate nature. A brave lad you were. The idea of your drama is a bit unnerving. Reminds me of the time we were on a shoot in the highlands of Belize with "open" accommodations-no doors or screens and with a thatch roof. We were told to use our flashlights at nite before using the commode because a particular snake liked to coil in the cool of the bowl.
    Thanks for sharing another adventure from the magic pump house.

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    1. My pleasure, Tom. And true, there is some instructional magic in the pump house that I hope survives the encroachment of municipal utilities. When I was little, living on a medieval Portuguese truck farm, snakes would occasionally venture up the pipe from the cesspool. Just another thing to check before sitting. You've led an adventurous life to have experienced that.

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  6. All's well that ends well? Isn't that what I should say here? Really, you were lucky. I was gonna scold you for grabbing that snake without knowing its, um, family lineage, but then again, I suppose if you were sufficiently careful, it doesn't matter all that much whether or not its fangs were filling with venom. Always treat a gun as though it were loaded, and always handle a snake as thought it were venomous. Sounds like good rules of thumb. And I'm glad your thumb wasn't bitten. Be careful, dude!

    We encounter snakes here, too. Quite a few copperheads, and a kid in the neighborhood nearly died from playing with some babies he found. Looked like big pretty worms to him, but had the full load of poison. A pretty good-sized garden snake used to live under our front steps, and I kinda liked seeing him from time to time. My best friend, however, would always make me go out to check for the snake before she'd venture out the door. I guess if the snake had been lying in wait for her, she would have never left.

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    1. Concern appreciated! Dude is careful. Have always had a special wariness of snakes, but this one got in the back door and I opted to capture it before it slithered under the washer or dryer. Door now fits snugly. Your garden snake must have felt safe under your steps --they're usually well-behaved. They're also the state reptile of Massachusetts, where I believe they get a tax break.

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  7. Mindpower is an amazing discovery....wait until you figure out what to do with those opposable thumbs.

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    1. Welcome, Delores! I find new uses for my thumbs all the time. Evolution is great! Can't wait for my tail to fall off.

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  8. I once 'played golf' (read hitting balls randomly wherever) at a course near Saigon, where posted hazards was cobras.
    Anyway, once camping on Rock Creek over south of Missoula my buddy D's boy Walker wandered back to camp holding a young rattler by the tail, wondering what kind of snake it was. My youngest, Emily 4 years older than the 6 year old boy shrugged I said she should have cautioned him, saying something about not interfering with karma.

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    1. Yikes! Close call on the campout --but 10-year-old girls are always RIGHT whether they are or not. I grew up with 2 elder sisters and know from experience. Golf course cobras sound like part of a new extreme sport fad. Hope it doesn't catch on.

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  9. I seem to recall that our common mother, many eons ago, got us all into hot water talking to a snake...

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    1. Indeed! I can't remember if we got chased out with a flaming sword or rolled-up newspaper the size of Oklahoma.

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  10. Last summer, we had a snake who hung around the house a lot. I didn't see it this year. It was harmless enough and probably helped with the rodents. I never saw it this year. I don't think I would ever have the nerve to grab one!

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    1. A snake policing the yard is ok. If it follows food elsewhere, that's ok too. But a snake indoors is an emergency that stimulates hand-eye coordination and reaction speed that surprises homeowners of all ages.

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  11. Yikes. I'm glad he was on the littler side. I'm never playing golf (read: randomly trying to hit golf balls and failing 99% of th time) in Saigon. Or Florida. Giant alligators do nothing for me. Although I do enjoy the Facebook postings.

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    1. Happily, beyond the two areas you mention, giant alligator hazards never generally caught on in golf --water and sand being sufficient.

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    1. I thought so. The poor little snake thought so too, but we made the best of it.

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