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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Tomatoes, Rattlesnakes and Gophers.

The picture below is of my tomatoes on June 1st.  I planted them out April 1st.  I had them protected by those little tepees you fill with water.  Mine were called 'Kozy-coats'.  I never thought they would work, but they did.  It even got down to 19 degrees F one night and the water inside the tubes were frozen solid and the plants were unharmed.  I'm really pleased.  I still cover them at night if it looks like it's going to freeze.  Last night it was down to 33 degrees F.  The plants are too big for the Kozy-coat tepees so I threw blankets over them.

I was weeding in the far side of my native plant area, which is not covered by the chicken security team, when I had a surprise at last shrub.  Since we have had chickens snakes keep away from the garden.  Most of the native plant area is too far away for the chickens to patrol, so I have to be on my toes for snakes.  Sure enough as I was bent over pulling up a few weeds from the base of a golden currant, a rattlesnake scooted out from it.

He went under a log and right then, for some reason, I lost my enthusiasm for weeding.  The next day I ventured out again to weed and disregarding the fact I wasn't wearing my glasses decided the shrub to be snake free...until I bend over and this came into focus....

He was hard to see coiled up and peaceful right between the shrub and the log.  I got my shovel and thought I could scoop him up into a bucket for relocating.  There was so much debris about I couldn't get the shovel under him and he went under his log again.

He was pretty laid back, which seems typical of the local rattlesnakes.  He made no attempt to strike at the shovel.  He could have bitten me the other day while I was weeding in fact.  From my experience, it seems the rattlesnakes are really mellow and just try to get out of the way, while the non-venomous have anger issues.  The pink arrows show where he is under his log. 

I called the snake team to sort things out for me.  They were complaining because they had better things to do.  Brad is having problems with the grabber he was going to use while William holds the young snake down.  I told William he better be careful because the snake would go up his pant leg, lol.

The snake isn't being hurt and continued to be mellow.

Brad gives up on the grabber and readjusts his snare.  William gets bored.  You can see the snake's log home right next to my golden currant.

Got him!  Notice William is not in the shot.

The little snake was moved away from my area.  I think that log should be moved because it's an ideal habitat for a snake.

I have been trying to catch this gopher that has been digging tunnels in my garden.  Because he chewed the roots of some baby trees and killed them, I was eager to catch him.  I came close to nabbing him twice but was unprepared to take him into custody.  My method of gopher hunting is simple; I put the hose down his holes and give him a good blast.  He will exit and run like hell for cover with me hobbling behind trying to grab his little tail.

I came up with a cunning plan that actually worked.  I got up at the crack of dawn and started shoving the hose down all the fresh tunnels.  He poked his head up as he was being pushed out by the flood of water behind him.  We were eyeball to eyeball and it was pretty tense.  He had a decision to make; go back into his hole and drown or face me.  It was a no brainer for him because he knows he can out run me.  Off he trots....hahaha.... not so fast little fellow...I scooped him up in a empty Miracle Grow container and he was mine.  I kept him for a few hours before I let him go in the sagebrush.  I wanted to see what he would eat.  I discovered gophers eat pretty much anything.  He was particularly fond of the carrots though.  


Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

I didn't realize gophers had such cute noses. Glad we don't have rattlesnakes here! I guess maybe you get used to them? Have any of your animals ever been bitten by a rattle snake?

arlene said...

I never get used to rattlesnakes. It's really scary when you come across one.

We have had dogs bitten by them. Bobby was bitten on the side of her face. I heard her barking at something for ages and when she come home she had a bite. I gave her benadryl and she was fine. It wasn't a bad bite. We had another dog that used to dive on them and she was bitten, but not bad.

Another dog (Jessica)was fascinated with them and kept wanting to sniff them. She wasn't a very bright dog. She was bitten badly on the nose and had to see the vet...she was fine though and went on to sniff more rattlesnakes and get bitten again. Most dogs have more sense. Echo and I came across a rattlesnake a few weeks ago. He stepped aside ...he knows what they are!

Brad's grandfather had a bull killed by a rattlesnake about a 100 years ago. The bull died about a year later. I don't thing they had vets then and the bull must have had an infection or couldn't eat or something...his face was swollen anyway.