Saturday, May 29, 2010

Clearing Cedar is Hard Work

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who left comments re: the anonymous comment I received the other day regarding my husband's hunting activities.  While I haven't had enough time at McDonald's to both respond to comments and get my posts loaded, I have read them all and appreciate both your thoughts and your visiting my blog.  Also, as soon as I saw that comment, I changed the settings on my blog so anonymous comments are no longer allowed.  I figured I'd allow them until there was a problem and that time as now come.

And now on to current events.  The deer DH got his first morning of hunting pretty much gave us all of the meat we need right now (94 pounds total once the pork was added for the sausage!!!), so we have been working on little projects at the house since then. Yesterday we decided to head out to the ranch to clear cedar that has grown up in areas where we don't want it. That is some seriously hard work for this desk jockey. To add insult to injury, it was hot and there was no breeze, which is rare at the ranch. But we did get a lot done and also had a nice visit with our neighbor. He gave us a tour of their new house that should be finished in 8-10 weeks. It’s gorgeous and they have what I consider the best hilltop at the ranch on which they built their house. Consequently, they have stunning views. They plan to live there for at least the next 20 years, so it’s a worthwhile investment for them. We don’t plan to build on our property at the ranch as I don’t want to live that far from town. So we will save our pennies for our dream house closer to town.

As we were clearing the cedar, we had a couple of visitors. I was busy cutting and heard a noise behind me. I turned around to see a snake about 8 feet from me and raised about a foot off the ground. As soon as I turned around, it lowered itself and went back into the bush from which it came. We have only seen one other snake at the ranch, just like this one, which was a cream color with a small head and pointy tail, although the other owners have seen rattlesnakes, copperheads, and coral snakes. While this snake was kind of intimidating at over 3 feet in length, I was pretty certain that it was a harmless variety. Nevertheless, I kept an eye out for it. It did pop out again a bit later, but went right back in the bush.

I moved on to another tree nearby and noticed that it was hollow at the base with a large opening that would be perfect for something to inhabit, so I was being extra careful. Sure enough, here comes our friend again, or one just like it around the other side of the tree. We had to wait and watch it while it went through our entire work area, pass by my water bottle and then go back the direction from which it had come and then finally it left.  That was the last we saw of it for the rest of the day. If that snake was the original one I saw, it had already circled around behind us once. This one completely ignored us and just went about it’s tour of the area. Surprisingly, I didn’t panic during either sighting and didn’t even come close to screaming either time. I just calmly alerted DH to the presence of a snake. Had it been a rattlesnake, I most likely would have had a different reaction!! I’m thinking that it/them came out thinking there might be prey in the area after feeling the ground vibrations from us tossing the cut branches and limbs on the ground. I was armed with my large cutters so I wasn’t completely defenseless had it gotten aggressive, and DH was working with a machete so we probably could have handled it, although Steve Irwin we are not! As long as they leave me alone, I will leave them alone. 

I did a quick internet check of Texas snakes after we got back to town and we have concluded that the snake(s) we saw were definitely Eastern Yellow-Bellied Racers, which are indeed non-venomous.  I will spare you a picture from the internet, but please feel free to google for one on your own :-).

My next project is to water seal the back deck and DH is finishing putting rocks around the foundation. We may go back to the ranch tomorrow for more clearing, depending on if we think our muscles can handle it.


Anne-Lise at Rag, Tag, Bobtail said...

Sounds like you have had some tough work:) I admire your bravery - just the thought of snakes gives me the shivers! It's been interesting to see all the animals you have seen on the ranch.

jillquilts said...

I think that I would have totally freaked out! I can handle the small to medium size spiders I find in the house here, but even thinking about the large one I encountered 10+ years ago gives me the willies! No idea about snakes!! lol