This last week, as I have already reported, we've had a little too much snake action.
Part of the problem is that I live in the country, in the wilderness, where nature abounds... snakes are part of nature, you know.
I do not begrudge them their place... it's when they encroach upon MY place that we began to have issues.
I do not mind an occasional slither by... I DO mind discovering a satisfied, lumpy snake in my chicken coop.
I do mind looking down while I'm hanging out the laundry, to discover a 7 footer 'smelling me'....
This leads me to conclude that it's time to mow. The grass has been mowed this year, a time or two.
Admittedly we take a very relaxed view of mowing... as mentioned before, we don't have a lawn, so much, as we have a grassy collection of stuff in the general vacinity of the house, barns and hundred acre wood.
When we were first married, the Chief Grass Mower Man wouldn't get the job done before he started over, spending every waking moment that he was not at work mowing the grass... not fishing, not napping, not playing with the kiddies... mowing the grass. Sort of like once upon a time, I mopped the kitchen every night before I went to bed...
Then, somewhere along the way, we caught on to the fact that the children were growing faster than we could imagine and by doing all the repetitive chores with obsessive compulsion we were missing out.
That, and when it takes 15 gallons of gas to mow to the place and gas is $4 a gallon, then we can also use the excuse that it's simply ecologically sound to let the permaculture take over.
Until the snakes of spring arrive.
Yesterday, after a snake relocation event and another 'getaway' failed attempt at the second relocation of the day, I'd had all I could take.
I set off to mow the grass. Now here, I'll refer you to the previous story of my moving mowing experiences on the new mower. Yesterday, I dutifully sunscreened myself, fixed a water bottle, grabbed a hat and toodled off down to the barn to do a little rearranging of the snake habitat. To discover that there was no key...
With the assistance of the now fully engaged side effects of tamoxifen, I became rather furious. After searching for an hour for the key, to no avail, and sending several obnoxiously repetitive text messages to the Chief Grass Mowing man, demanding to know the location of the key, I abandoned all hope of fixing the problem and moved along to something else.
I spoke to the Chief Grass Mowing man on the phone later in the day, from work, and felt rather foolish, to discover that the key had been, all along, right on the hall stand, front and center in front of the door, for all the world to see. Like I said,,, I'm gonna blame fury on the drug....
Anyway, this morning, I watched the kid get off to school, ... really there's not so much to do when they're 17, sort of a 'tell me your schedule, do you have your suit for the concert?, have a good day!' sort of thing.
By 7:15, I was out the door, key in hand, sunscreen in place, to take advantage of the early morning cool.
Alas, filled the tank and attempted to crank to discover a dead battery. Now, I'd been warned that this might be the case... so I had to 'jump off' the mower, so that I could hop to it~!
I'd never jumped off a mower before... luckily, I grew up pretty self sufficient and luckily we have the necessary equipment on hand. For a few moments there, I was literally, in the jumping off place.
Anyway, finally,,, finally... I was off an mowing. While I mowed, I had time to think about a list of things that one should know when mowing with one of these machines:
~ I know I repeat myself, but if you remove one hand from the control bar of the speeding demon, to, oh, say wipe your nose or get some spider web out of your mouth, it WILL begin to spin... in circles... at full speed. Yeah... Remember that next time.
~ There is no intuition on the part of the machine when you are too close to things,,, laundry lines, specifically... If your hand/eye coordination fails you in that moment and you zip on under the laundry line, at full speed, of course, you just MIGHT get snagged by the adjustable drawstring of your apron, which was innocently minding it's own business on the clothesline. Luckily for you, the adjustable feature of the apron strings, after a nice firm tightening around your neck, gives way, leaving you with a rakishly good looking 1 inch wide 'scarf'. Refer to item above as to why you cannot use your hands to remove the rakish apron strings turned scarf.
~ If after two hours of mowing, you feel the call of nature AND you need to do things that you should have done before cranking the machine, like move the water hoses, giant tree limbs and all the stuff that puppies can drag about your yard, and you stop... you have to jump the machine off again. It's ok... was time to re-up the sunscreen anyway!
~ You should never let things distract you... beautiful wild roses... tiny wild strawberries...wild daisies blowing on the breeze... because, again, you are traveling at warp speed. The tiniest lapse in attention can net you a newly cleared path through the hedges or the excitable enjoyment of coming upon an embankment too fast, AND the understanding of how these things happened in the past...
~If during the middle of mowing, at warp speed, you suddenly round a bush, to discover a 7 foot version of the EXACT reason why you are doing this chore, all coiled and excited and ready to strike, and you do NOT react quickly enough, it IS possible, instead of running over the innocent snake that it's coiled body can be lofted onto your right foot (with which you were attempted to apply the non-existent in this machine brakes) and subsequent to which you MIGHT scream like a little girl and shake your foot violently. (No woman or snake was harmed in this incident, by the way!) The snake escaped to the pasture across the road, probably to come visit with my chickens tomorrow.
~ You realize that it's time, again, to do some serious trimming of low hanging limbs and some of the aforementioned permaculture. You realize that you should not turn so that the grass clippings land on the ornamental pond and float there, like so much green confetti to amuse the fish. You consider changing the shape of things like the herb bed to make it more easily mowed around (and give you more room for basil).
You decide to mow 'paths' in places where footpaths are, in the direction of the river and the woods.
~You might get to thinking that this is just the most fun you've had since the last time you rode a rollercoaster, or at the very least, any theme park ride where you don't know what might happen next. You get kind of 'revved up' and 'wide open' and all kinds of delighted with how the yard begins to look. That's a good thing... you need to be wide awake when you're on this mower!
So, I have put the snakes on notice... please, pretty please, go back to the woods and to the river, or visit the neighbors and leave me to my yard and chicken coops undisturbed.