Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Relocating Rattlesnakes

So far this season I have had to relocate two small rattlesnakes and have the fire department help me relocate a third much larger snake that was under the porch where I couldn't get it.  When I say relocate, I mean physically pick up the snake and move it from one location to another; I do not mean "relocate it's head from it's body" as someone asked.  Rattlesnakes are far too valuable to kill simply because they are venomous.  We have such a ridiculous overpopulation of squirrels, chipmunks, mice, rats, and gophers to be killing anything that could help keep their numbers checked.  And while everyone says I'll change my mind the minute my dogs, myself, or someone I love gets bit, all I can say is: maybe, but we won't know 'til/unless it happens.

In the meantime, how am I relocating these gorgeous beasties?  It's certainly not a recommended way or a high tech way, it's just a way that works for me.  I have an old metal rake with long fingers or tines or whatever they are called.  I scoop the snake up on the end of the rake, walk it quickly but steadily to a place out of the way of people/dogs walking/living, and gently lower the rake to the ground.  The snake slithers off into a little coil of scared scales and I gingerly back away.  The end.

I will admit that the first time I ever did this, about a year ago, I was terrified.  My ex had always handled the rattlesnakes and was a much cooler hand at it than myself.  But, when there's no ex around to handle it, we make do.  Once I'd finished moving the little guy and I was safely back in snakeless territory I realized how simple it really was and I've never looked back.  This isn't to say that I'm all cavalier about these guys now, I'm still extremely careful when approaching them, moving them, and backing away from them, but now I'm not as panicked.  My heart beats faster but I'm calm.

Here are a few tips:

-a tired snake is much less likely to strike.  Snakes tire easily and many are non-aggressive anyway.  If you're nervous about the snake striking out at you while on the end of whatever contraption you're going to use to move him, just wear him out first.  Take your rake or shovel (be very careful with shovels, they're heavy and you don't want to accidentally kill or injure the snake) or pole or whatever and kind of slap it down a foot or so in front of the snake.  If the snake strikes at it, do it again.  Keep doing it until the snake stops striking.  It won't take more than five minutes (even if it feels like a lifetime).  Once the snake is too tired to strike, scoop him up, quickly but steadily move him somewhere else, and gently let him down

-whatever device you are using to move him should keep his body several feet from your body (a snake can strike roughly half it's length in distance, so make sure he's never as close as his body length from you).  I prefer a rake because it has a very long handle, one that keeps even a large snake more than striking distance away from me

-snakes travel a path of least resistance whenever possible so wherever you move him, make sure it's further downhill from you as he's more likely to continue downhill rather than struggle back uphill

-never be too cool to ask for help.  Our local fire department does snake relocation for free.  It's a great excuse to watch some hot guys be brave and studly

-you can find free plans for catch poles online if you'd like to diy a real snake catching tool

This'll be a record year for snakes due to the weather patterns from last year to this.  Watch your step out there!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Garden State...And You're Good

We all have those moments that get us down.  When things just aren't going right or even falling completely to shit.  We all have things we go to for those moments: food, a partner or parent, a drug...  I go to Garden State.  There's something about the movie, beyond the obvious awesomeness of the movie itself and the fabulous fucking soundtrack, and the plethora of quotable quotes; there's just a feeling.  There's a feeling the movie leaves you with, a feeling the movie helps you harness and work through...  It's just sometimes time for Garden State.  And you're good.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

April Was a Wonderful Month

Yesterday was my first business day without a job.  I've been working since I was nine years old; I'd help put cashed checks and filled invoices in numerical order for my mom when their office manager was behind or I'd work on my own business of dog walking in which one of my clients was a German Shepperd who only spoke German (I can still remember saying "seeeetz!" at every corner before crossing the street).  I worked all through high school and college and usually I'd have multiple jobs saying "I'd rather be busy than bored."  My evenings, weekends, and vacations were always that much more special and enjoyable for having been hard earned.

Then my most recent job started to change.  Promises were made, duties were shuffled, more promises were made, more duties shuffled, and before I knew it the best parts of my job were gone with only the incidentals remaining.  I'd racked up a month of PTO and hadn't used a minute of it since October, when I'd taken Mondays and Fridays off to allow me time for the Melodrama and all it's fun/exhaustion.  My job was nothing more than a series of duties a monkey could do, especially with the procedural documents available.  It was time to use my PTO.  I asked for and received a month off work.  All of April was a break from a job that had ceased to be a challenge and a break from all things digital as I declared a self-imposed digital sabbatical.

April was a wonderful month.

Over too soon, I was back at the computer on May first when I was told I'd be laid off in two more days.  It was okay, I thought, I needed a vacation from my vacation after all...ha ha?  I immediately updated my linkedin profile and asked for recommendations.  I updated my resume and put it on Monster.  I sent out feelers among family and friends to determine if anyone knew of anyone hiring for my salary range and a telecommuter.  I created a list of things I'd wanted to accomplish in April that I hadn't gotten to and new things that had occurred to me since then.  I completed my unemployment application online.  I was determined to make the most of my bonus time off without slipping into a self-pitying funk.  Everything happens for a reason (or some shit) and I would get everything I could out of this happening.

So yesterday was my first business day without a job.  I managed to finish a book I'd started in April and not had time to complete.  With help from one of the super-women of my town I was able to complete the tickets/maps for the Garden Tour we're putting on in June.  I went to the gym for an hour like I haven't had time to do in two or three weeks.  My ceiling started leaking, I punched a couple holes in it so it wouldn't cave in, then went into the attic and found where the leak was coming from in the roof.  I did two loads of laundry (and still have two more to do before I'm caught up).  I wrote recommendations on linkedin for people who'd recommended me.  I set up dates/times for a new weekly game night at my local and a new monthly book club and got the info out to my community.  I had a homemade breakfast, a homemade lunch, and was treated to a fabulous dinner by an amazing friend.  I attended a scholarship committee meeting for one of the organizations I volunteer for and we were able to read all the submissions and allocate the scholarship money.

People are always saying that the unemployed are a drain on society and while I didn't contribute a cent to the government yesterday with anything I did, I think I benefited society more in one day unemployed than I've ever benefited us with a job.  This is not to say that I want to remain unemployed forever, I have far too much drive not to have a full-time job where I feel challenged; it's just to say that there's a lot one can accomplish for society and for themselves in a single day if we're willing to look outside the box.

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Month Long Digital Sabbatical

I took a digital sabbatical the month of April and it was awesome!  I had PTO for work (because I never take days off...until October for the Melodrama) and so much of it that I was able to take an entire month off!  I extended the month off of work to include a month away from the internet as well and was mostly successful.

Instead of spending hours each day on emails and FaceBook I was outside gardening and hiking.  Instead of sitting in front of a computer for nine or more hours a day I sat out on the deck with friends or ran all over town delivering posters for an upcoming non-profit event.  I read books from the library, planted the garden and established a watering system, I cleaned out the garage and painted/cleaned the inside of the house.  It was a staycation and it was a lot of work but it felt great.

My digital sabbatical ended two days ago and here's what I learned:

-I can live without FaceBook but why would I?  It's a fantastic tool for connecting people and thanks to this tool I was able to find funding for the non-profit garden tour.  FaceBook is a fantastic tool when used in moderation

-I can live without email but, again, why would I?  Email can accomplish things in two minutes that a phone call would drag out to twenty and email allowed me to connect multiple people together at once without figuring out how to conference people in or make multiple calls

-Chickens are hysterical and soothing to observe.  Just taking five minutes out of your day to watch them can drastically improve your mood

-Cedar starts don't look anything at all even remotely close to an actual Cedar tree

-Getting the sprinkler system properly set up is a task best left for a warm day with no wind

-A good paint job is all about proper taping

-Beware the poor dog meeting his first skunk, hope he learns his lesson, and pity the owner

Hope you all had a lovely April and welcome to May!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Perils of Stacking Wood

We're taking down the dead trees on the property as well as taking down a couple that are right where we're putting in an orchard.  I've been stacking the cut wood so it can season...well, I was stacking the wood; now I am recovering from smashing my hand.  Luckily only one finger looks bad even though the whole hand is pretty much out of commission.  It's amazing just how much we do with our dominant hands.  Losing the use of it really makes you appreciate it that much more.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Make The Leap!

"I'd rather regret the things I have done than the things I haven't" - Lucille Ball

Life can be lived at full tilt.
Enjoyed for everything it has to offer.
Every opportunity leapt at.
What will you leap at today?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Little Colt


This is my little colt.  He can always make me smile.  I hope he makes you smile, too :)