Saturday, July 31, 2010

Watch Out For Snakes

When my hubby finished mowing our lawn and doing his usual Saturday yard work today he came in with a smile and said "Your owl must be working!" I guess I had a puzzled look on my face and he repeated, "The owl you put in the shrubs must have scared that snake away". Surprised, I said, "what SNAKE?" (I am terrified of snakes!) He proceeded to tell me that while he was mowing he looked up and saw a rather large snake leaving our yard and heading to the neighbors. I know there are good snakes and bad snakes but I had just as soon have NO snakes around my house.

Everyone says its good to have snakes because they eat rats. Well, I hope our pest service would be taking care of that. By the way, that is how I found out about the "owl in the bushes"theory.

Last week our pest service tech showed up for our monthly treatment outside and we started talking about snakes. I mentioned I had seen three tiny snakes last summer in my flower pots near the front door (all in the same day I might add). She told me to go to the hardware store and purchase a ceramic or plastic owl, put it up off the ground several inches and move it around every few weeks and a snake won't come anywhere near. She said they are terrified of owls because owls eat snakes and the snake cannot bite through their thick feathers. Well....what do you know. I think she might be on to something.

I grew up in the northern part of Florida and my Dad killed many diamondback rattlesnakes in our yard. They are the largest of all venomous snakes in the U.S. Their venom is toxic.
I remember when I was probably 11 or 12 years old washing dishes and hearing our toy terrier barking non stop. There was a roll out window opened just above the sink and the dog was going crazy and I kept hearing what sounded like an infant rattle. I went out back to investigate and when I saw the huge rattlesnake under that window I ran in to get my Dad. Experts say when a rattlesnake is threatened he will shake the tip of his tail where the rattles are, warning you to back off. Well, Dad killed it before it got our terrier and it measured 6 feet long. Our next dog wasn't so lucky. He got bit by a rattler in our yard and died.

I am so paranoid about snakes because as a child, a friend of mine almost died when he got bit by a rattler. He is crippled to this very day. While the adults were in a church meeting the kids were outside playing and a ball rolled under some bushes around the church. He ran in to get it and yelled that something had bit him. You can't be too careful! It is so hot outside and snakes are really out so watch carefully for your children, grandchildren and pets. I know from past experience they like to hide out under boards and in your wood piles.

A few weeks ago I was visiting my daughter near Jacksonville and her neighbor ran out of her house yelling, "Help, a snake is in my house" so we ran over. She said she was watching T.V. and in her peripheral vision, she saw a snake slither across the floor. She said it came in the doggie door. Whoa!! I think I would be checking into a motel until someone could come exterminate my entire house. If that was the case, how many more could have come in the doggie door. The next day, her other neighbor had a very large snake in her garage that they never could find. This week my daughter calls and said she stepped into her garage and almost stepped on one. (which was never found either!)

Did you know that baby rattlers can actually be more dangerous than adults because they have less control over the amount of venom they inject. I hope I haven't made you as paranoid as I am but please be careful and watch where you step! Have a safe summer!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer memories

As far back as I can remember my sister and I spent many summer days with our grandparents (Nana and Gramps) while our parents worked. Some of my fondest memories were made there. I could not wait until school was out for the summer so I could spend time with them. I have never met a cook that could match my Nana. She never went by her recipes (a pinch of this and a pinch of that) but everything she prepared was yummy. I do not believe I ever showed up at her house that she did not have a cake or pie ready (just in case company dropped by). I will be sharing many of her recipes in future blogs. My gramps was a true southern gentleman. He was the kindest, most patient man I know and in his eyes, I could do no wrong. He had a farm a few miles from their home and that is where I learned to drive when I was about 12 years old. Nana and Gramps lived a simple, no frills life in a very small country town (population...maybe 500). They taught me about unconditional love and allowed me opportunities that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Thanks for the memories and I miss you so much Nana and Gramps.