Being a gardener here in Oklahoma is never without excitment. Today, I found a big, fat Water Moccasin in the backyard nest to my garden today. Weird to find one so far from a pond. Guess it felt at home in my yard because it has been so rainy and wet. All the vegetation has grown way out of its bounds, so I spent much of the day digging out and pulling out the unruly flowers and plants that had outgrown their boundaries. I also hoped it would allow more air circulation in the tomato patch and help things dry out better. Grass and weeds had grown up into the Pot Ghetto, and I reckon that is where the snake has been hanging out.
That Water Moccasin had eaten its fill of toads and frogs in my garden and was laying out in the shade of my back yard near the geese's swimming pool trying to digest its feast. I approached it but it didn't move at all. It was just laying there like a stick and the geese didn't seem to pay him no mind. I went to get my shovel and came back as fast as I could. It was still there when I got back - hadn't moved a muscle. I poked it with the tip of the shovel to see if it was alive. It still didn't move. So, out of pure curiosity, I poked it again. This time it skedaddled over into the flower bed and disappeared. I cautiously poked around in the flowers and looked around in the tomato patch, but couldn't find it anywhere.
So, I went back to my chores hoping that old snake would show itself again. I weeded and pulled out the spent flowers and culled the morning glories from my flower bed. I laid down cardboard and piled on hay mulch in and around the tomatoes and dahlias and planted those Tennessee Cut-Short beans I got from George where the snow peas had been.
It began to rain, so I was just finishing up and putting away my tools when I saw the tip of that snakes tail behind a milk crate in front of the mint bed next to the tomato patch. After a brief and exciting chase, I found that snake hiding behind the Don Juan Rose. I reached through the trellis and sunk my shovel in to its stomach. He was really pissed then! I managed to finally do it in, chopping its head, and it puked up one of the toads. Poor thing. Gads. I always tell the snakes I kill, "Sorry. But I'm a daughter of Eve." I cannot have them biting me, my DH, or my grandkids or my animals, so sorry, but they have to die. It's us or them.
Of course, that ain't all that happened today. The Marsh Hawks that nest in the tallest trees in the Little Wood behind the back yard began circling this afternoon. I was at the back door when I spotted them and I took off, running up the back and hurriedly began chasing the young pullets and roosters back toward the safety of their chicken run. They didn't want to go back into that pen, and they did all they could to evade me. I chased them this way and that way around the cherry trees and they ran back the other way. Darn chickens! I'm trying to save your lives. They didn't know to be afraid, but I knew those Marsh Hawks had ideas...
But that's another story.
Such is a day in the life of a gardener in rural Oklahoma.