Thursday, August 8, 2013

Small garden snake found in woodpile.

Lots of excitement on the farm the past couple of days!  On Tuesday I moved 12+ ricks of stacked wood out of the driveway to open up the view to the gallery/studio building.  I was aware that there was likely a snake in the wood since I had already spotted a shedded snakeskin on the top.  As I moved through the pile, I came across a cute, little blue skink, a big, brown skink, and a small, harmless, garden variety snake.  He was pencil thin and maybe one foot long.

Copperhead found while moving woodpile.
At one point, I pulled a piece of wood off the pile and there lay a copperhead!  I don't need any help identifying this big guy!  I got bit by one on Friday the thirteenth, in July, 2007 and was laid up for two months!  Needless to say, I was being very cautious with this guy in the mix.  He kept moving deeper into the pile and I would pay attention to where he moved.  I uncovered him again and again until the pile was down to about six pieces of wood with him on top.  I almost felt sorry for him losing his cushy shelter in a perfect mouse habitat.  I thought of the scene in the Wizard of Oz where the Wicked Witch of the West was shrinking and screeching, "I'm Melting...My World, My World"

Luckily, I kept my distance and he was not inclined to become aggressive which I have heard some coppers can become.  He eventually moved on and I was able to move the last six pieces of wood. 
Then on Wednesday, while cleaning the horse stalls, we were swarmed by hornets that attacked! I suffered multiple bee stings and ran from the barn, throwing down the rakes.  The horses began bucking and raring and generally going wild!  I finally managed to get the horses and rakes out of the stalls and shut up the barn.  I had to quickly clean out a side lean-to so the horses would have shelter and a place to eat their hay.  

Later, after the hornets had quieted down, I crept into the barn stalls and inspected the walls for a hive.  I found the opening of the hive through a crack in the wood planks that appeared to be built between a double kick wall.  Later that night, after dark, I suited up in multiple layers of clothing and ventured back with a can of hornet spray.  I have an organic farm at the side of the state forest so it is a very clean and pristine environment.  I NEVER use any chemicals in the house, gardens, barn, and land - except - when dealing with a hornet hive which I had to do on one other occasion a few years back.  I have heard several stories this summer of horses being killed by bee stings and I am not going to take a chance with the the horses.  Or people! 

By this morning, the hornets were gone and I was able to open up the barn and let the horses back in for their breakfast. 

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