Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Snakes and snails and puppy dog tales (I know it's tails)

We don't have snails here.  That's good because they can sure do a number on the garden.  When we lived in Southern California when the kids were young we had snails.  The kids got to go out to the garden, pick up snails and were supposed to throw them against the back cinder block wall.  Sometimes they went over the wall and onto the main street.  Oops.  Flying snails hitting car windows.  That would be a sight!  I've seen a couple of slugs here but it's a rare occasion.  That doesn't mean that they don't exist, there're just not enough to cause damage.  There's always a first time unfortunately.  There are many ways to get rid of snails including putting them in beer, gasoline, stepping on them, salting them (not good for the garden), or throwing them.  I'm sure the chickens would eat them.  We don't eat them.  I know people do eat them and they like them.  We are not those people.  In a survival situation I suppose more people would be scouring their yards for snails.  If you choose to eat them you'll need to gather them a couple days before you want to eat them and give them a diet of cornmeal to get them to taste better. 

Snakes we do have.  Not too many though as in the 15 years here we've only had a few.  Once I found a baby rattlesnake in the barn.  Rattlers are the only poisonous snake in these parts.  I left it alone but wondered where the rest of its family was.  I've never seen any other rattlesnakes on the property.    I saw a garter snake in the driveway once and 1/2 a snake in the front after I mowed the really tall grass.  I didn't find the other half but then again, I didn't look real hard. 

I had a very stressful day working today although I was just sitting at my computer all day - having phone conference calls, unhappy people wanting stuff done last week, and people ordering my people to do things (had to put a stop to that right away).  Sorry, you can't cut our staff by 25% then expect us to not only do that work but even more work on top of it and spend four or five hours a week on conference calls.  I need to go out to the field...no computers or phones. 

(Political item: if you are from California, please do not sign the petition to put state employee bargaining reform on the ballot. The way things are right now, with the additional money we are paying to retirement, pay cut (with an extra day off to make up for it that we don't have time to use), and medical, my take home pay is the same as it was in 1999!  No cost of living increases (the feds get a cola every year, not the state), raises bargained for were taken away.  I could make much more doing what I do if I went to the private sector.  I was offered 25K more per year with equal benefits.  Why didn't I go?  I'm good at what I do and every once in a while it's nice to have a government employee who can honestly say I'm from the government and I'm here to help!  Ok, back to the beginning of this rant...don't sign the petition, please.)

To relieve my stress I gave Army daughter cooking lessons today.  Stress relief?  Am I crazy?  She wanted to make beef stroganoff.  That's an easy one.  Take out the Betty Crocker cookbook and let me mark up the recipe the way I do it.  (Most recipes get tweaked to be able to use storage food)  Canned or dried mushrooms for the fresh.  Beef bouillon.  Dehydrated onions for the fresh (or can use home grown fresh but we all know that she doesn't like home grown stuff).  Sour cream powder for the sour cream.  Powdered milk for the milk.  Dried garlic instead of the fresh garlic from the yard (her choice here).  Noodles from the pantry (although I'd make them fresh for this recipe).  The only thing that didn't come from storage was the pound of beef.  This turned out rather nicely. 

She also cooked FRESH green beans.  She forgot to cut off the stems.  They were ok.  She cooked them in equal parts water and butter.  Way too much butter for my taste. 

The neighbor's puppy thinks it lives here.  It does half the time.  She comes into the house and barks at our cats.  Stop it; it's their house, not yours.  She loves to play with our big dog even if our dog could eat her in one small bite.  They play chase throughout our yard and her yard.  It's great fun to watch these two dogs play.  One is about four pounds, the other is 80 pounds.  The dogs love "swimming" in their three foot plastic pool.  The only problem is, when our dog is in it there's no room for the puppy.  She climbs in and tries so scoot herself into the water.  Today she climbed on dog's head and started tugging at her ears so she'd get out of the pool. 

Getting back to snakes, after dinner I went outside to hang the laundry.  Army daughter had come outside for something.  I can't even remember now.  As she got to the door to go into the house she started screaming and jumping up and down.  It was almost like an "I see a mouse" scream.  I looked over and didn't see anything.  Then she moved and I saw this tiny little snake.  Don't step on it!  Where did it come from?  She said it dropped from above her head and almost landed on her foot.  Above her head?  There's a patio cover there.  The only thing I could think of was it was under the tile roof.  Do we have snakes in the attic?  Did some bird pick it up to eat it and accidently drop it on the roof?  Who knows?  All I know is a baby King snake ended up on our patio.  It didn't crawl there.  

The snake was less than a foot long and only pencil thin.  Son-in-law picked it up and brought it to girl and boy to show them.  Girl wanted to hold it.  Boy just wanted to pet it.  After the snake got passed around son-in-law asked where he should put it.  How about at the wood pile by the trash cans?  Lots of things for it to eat over there.  They are great for rodent control.   I hope there are more.


  1. The puppy and snake story lightened my heart a little bit and made me laugh. Some days it's hard to find anything positive until I read over my various blogs.

  2. King snakes are a good thing to have around as long as they don't make you hurt yourself. Besides killing the rats and mice, they kill and otherwise run off the poisonous snakes.