Saturday, June 22, 2013

I Like Spiders and Snakes

I was a slightly strange little girl. As soon as school let out for the summer I would begin to collect every kind of insect on the farm and I would make bug zoos with my mom's canning jars. Then I would sadly watch them all die off. Since I had no idea what these insects ate or did for a living, I couldn't really care for them properly.

Spiders were the exception. A few juicy flies would keep them happy, so through the simple result of attrition I kept several spiders as "pets". To this day I will not kill a spider. I think they are really cool and they get rid of flies in the house. I do make them build new webs when they get too dusty and full of fly skeletons.

Another childhood fascination was with snakes. In Oregon there are very few dangerous creatures. We only have one poisonous snake, the Western rattlesnake, and it doesn't live in the Willamette Valley.
So I was free to wander the fields looking for Garter snakes. I would sneak up, grab them behind the head, wave them at my playmates and watch them scream and run!

Somewhere there is a photo of me at age 8, swinging two large snakes, one in each hand, while my cousins and neighbors run screaming. I think my mom took the photo just before she ran back to the house and locked the kitchen door. Ah, the heady power of wielding snakes!

I was excited when I lifted a messy roll of weed cloth last year and found a very large Northwestern Garter snake warming itself in the solar heat of the black cloth.

In the next fold was a very large Western Fence Lizard. Strange bed mates.

Then, when I picked up the rest of the roll, I found this stash of MY STRAWBERRIES!

I have been trying to get a crop of strawberries for the last three years. Between the voles, Robins and the Chipmunks I am losing ground.

I tried putting bird netting over the strawberry bed, but I kept finding little lizards tangled and trapped in it.

Hmm. How can I discourage this large group of strawberry thieves?

Bring in the snakes!
Of course it is too much to ask for a real snake to guard my berries 24/7 but this rubber snake is more than happy to do the job.
And it seems to be working. I have had many more strawberries this year and it is not because the plants are bigger. In fact they are a little stunted because I had to move them last fall.
The only downside to this method is that I keep scaring the *&#% out of myself when the weeds cover the snake and I forget it is there. I like snakes, but I don't like them sneaking up on me.

1 comment:

  1. The snakes scare me but spiders REALLY scare me!
    I get a chill up my spine when I see one. I have taken a few photographs of some though. I found an amazing yellow one on a purple flower and it was a great shot.


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