Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spiders and Snakes and Poodles and Marigolds or the Perils of a City Baby Boomer Gal

No baby boomer blog today folks. I am too pooped out from protecting my castle and my rescue pups. My nerves are frazzled. My back is aching and I need to take a shower. You see, I just finished planting a flat of marigolds in the once-upon-a-time luscious but now barren flower bed near my back door. To plant these pungent annuals, I first had to dress for gardening: long pants, heavy socks, tennis shoes, long-sleeved t-shirt covered with a long-sleeved blue-jean jacket, a hat, and elbow-length rubber gloves. The temperature and humidly was already high this morning when I finally ventured out to the back yard carrying a shovel, a spade, a rake, a foam rubber cushion, and my cell phone.

A bit over the top you think? Not if you’re allergic to wasps and fire ants, suffer from arachnophobia, and had an encounter with Fred, the snake, this past week. Now I confess that I have a few phobias but fear of snakes isn’t one of them. As long as they aren’t poisonous. A major point as I’m not an expert on snakes so unless I see “red and yellow will kill a fellow”, I don’t know for sure if they are or aren’t. I also don’t like snakes well enough for them to be house guests. But nevertheless, Fred, the snake, was determined to be one this past Wednesday when I came home for lunch to let the pups out. We met almost face to face as he crawled up the brick wall by my back door. I screamed and ran. He stuck out his forked tongue and moved closer to the door. The door that I hadn't closed all the way!

I had to stop him, protect my pups and myself. But how? The front door was locked and he was blocking the back door. I did what I had to do. With my eyes glued to his, I inched along the opposite wall until I could reach the door knob and pulled the door closed. I ran again. The 3 foot plus long snake refused to take the closed door hint and leave. I had to get the pups to safety now and remembered the garage door opener in my car. I carried both pups into the house and saw my neighbor’s car. Hurray, Bill’s home! Being a good neighbor and fellow Midwestern, Bill came to my rescue and with shovel in hand, politely suggested that Fred move away from the door. Thank you, Bill!

Bill took a picture of Fred with his cell phone which I used to ask everyone what kind of snake he was. I was told that it was copperhead, a rat snake and red tail boa. It was finally confirmed by a snake guru that Fred is a harmless rat snake. I still don’t like him as he seems the pushy kind of snake who can still grow another 4 feet, I’ve been told. No one had suggestions on how to get rid of snakes other than moth balls which are poisonous to my pups. I read on the Internet that snakes didn’t like the smell of marigolds so I brought a flat that evening. They are finally planted and I’m rather proud of myself for braving the wild to do so. They probably won’t deter the likes of Fred but at least they will add color and beauty to the barren flower bed.

Now if I can find some way to deter that darn little poodle that chases me and my pups whenever we go for a walk…..

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