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A very special visitor....the legless kind

June 3rd, 2011 at 04:51 pm

Yes, I am talking about that critter that makes many people squirm....a s-n-a-k-e.

I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen a snake in my 15 years here, but this morning, as I trudged up the side yard with my wheelbarrow, I caught sight of a rather large (large for a garter snake) snake catching the morning rays near my stone wall. It didn't move, and I kept moving.

About an hour later, I decided to check on it and possibly take its picture for you folks, but I was disappointed to find it gone.

I figured it had moved on, but later this afternoon, I caught sight of it again, just a foot or two from where I originally saw it. I went to the house for my 1. camera and 2. binoculars.

I watched incredulous as a really dumb chipmunk approached it on top of the stone wall. He seemed unsure whether the snake was real. The snake was frozen still but it had its head raised. I wondered if a snake of this size could kill and eat a chipmunk, which is considerably larger than, say, the many mice around here.

The chipmunk froze, then had the good sense to jump down off the stone wall; it ran into a crevice in the wall; I think he lives in there somewhere as I often see it in the vicinity.

I continued watching the snake through the binoculars (from the safety of inside my garage, looking through the window), but the snake didn't move at all, so after a time, I lost interest and went on with doing doing something else. About a half hour later I again went to look at the snake, and again, the disappearing act. Darn.

I'm very happy to have a snake in the yard; to me, it's an indicator i have a healthy environment here.

Still, I admit I'm feeling a little squeamish about doing any gardening in that area. I sure don't want to reach into any tall weeds with my hand and uncover a snake. And now I'm worried about possibly running over it with the lawnmower.

The other garters I've seen in my yard have been small, about a foot long and the diameter of a pencil, to give you an idea. I couldn't tell how long this one was, but its diameter was considerably larger, like maybe 3 pencils together.

I'm at a bit of a lull in the freelance work. True to his nature, the client who had said he would call me yesterday to discuss some work he wants me to do never called, and he didn't call today, either.

I checked in with the web developer to see if he'd gotten feedback from the chemical company client about the website copy I'd written, and I was surprised to learn from the web developer that he hadn't even finished dropping the copy into the website he'd designed, so he hadn't sent it to the client yet! When I talked to him Monday, he said he would do so in a day or two. Apparently, he's either busy with other stuff or a bit of a procrastinator.

And neither the real estate agent or the builder for whom i wrote a bio for a sales brochure got back to me with any feedback.

So for all those reasons, I turned to doing yardwork all morning; it was a glorious weather day, a bit breezy, sunny and a high of 72 or so.

I did manage to book a 2-hour study at Yale for this Monday. Just answering questions on emotions or something. It pays $50. Since I know my car gets about 36 mpg,the trip to Yale is about 27 miles and gas is going for something over $4 now, I calculate my gas there and back will cost about $8, or 2 gallons of gas, plus I'll have to feed the meter. Can't remember how much, but I'm guessing maybe $2 for 2 hours, so my net will be just $40. Hey, I'm not working, so it helps.

Since I'll be out that way, I can stop at the Big Lots on the way home, and possibly meet a friend for a walk who lives out that way, too. Big Lots has cheap Pepperidge Farm bread that I can freeze.

I also committed to doing another focus group, this one on cleaning products, the week after next. It's about a 40-minute ride and pays $100 for 2 hours.

In response to someone's comment on an earlier post about focus groups, yeah, there are a handful of focus group companies here. They tend to be around urban areas, and probably not something you'd find much in a rural area. I live in Fairfield County, a pretty affluent area, and so there is one I'm aware of in the Hartford area, another one in Fairfield and one in Westchester County, and they're all doing focus groups on an ongoing basis. You're not usually permitted to do them more frequently than 1 every 6 months, so it's nice to have several to rotate among. And yes, Yale does a lot of studies. These are all just things I've discovered in my quest to earn a little money. I also recently discovered a place close by that does clinical trials. They're doing one for menopausal hot flashes, but after talking to her I decided I was not comfortable taking a drug that I won't know anything about. I would have been more comfortable in the study they did on aspirin, but that study's done now. I'll have to keep an eye on their website and see what else comes along.

There were a couple of better paying studies I didn't qualify for: one was an all day focus group talking about social issues that would have paid $250, but they had filled all the spots in my age group. Yale was doing a study that paid $1400 (!!) but it required 4 overnight stays in a month's time plus frequent visits, and it's too far away for me to consider doing that. For the overnight stays, you'd have to be there at 7 a.m. and couldn't leave til 10 a.m. the following day. You had to stay on premises, and,not having a laptop, I can't imagine what i would do to keep busy that length of time.

I got $23 in checks in the mail today from Toluna and Pinecone.

I got some poison ivy on both forearms; it's not the worst case I've had, but it's itchy. I rely on a product called Tecnu. If you think you've been exposed to poison ivy and wash the affected skin with this lotion and COLD water as soon as possible, it can prevent your getting the rash, or at least reduce the severity, becus it washes away the oil that causes the rash. I washed my left arm cus i saw when i accidentally brushed my arm with some of the stuff i pulled up, but even so, i ended up with poison ivy on both arms.

I figured the house wrens in my 2 bluebird boxes had fledged their young and thought i would clean out the old nest so another pair could nest again this season. I took a gardening spade to lift out the nest. Imagine my surprise as I pulled the nest out and peered in to find a fairly large bird sitting there. I assume it was a baby not yet fledged, although it was big enough that I would think it should any day now. I tried to return the nest to the box, but I had pulled it out so far that it did not fit neatly back inside, and I sort of had to jam it back in. I was afraid of hurting the wren sitting inside, so I didn't jam it in too hard, but becus of that, I couldn't close the door fully. So the hinged door is partly open at the bottom maybe an inch. I don't think it really makes much difference and I believe the bird is still safe inside, but i do hope it fledges very soon. It's supposed to rain all next week and I suppose it might get a bit more wet than it would have otherwise, but I don't think that will hurt it either. I feel guilty for having interfered with it before the nest was vacant. I hadn't seen much activity near the box so i figured the coast was clear. Have to be more careful next time!

2 Responses to “A very special visitor....the legless kind”

  1. rob62521 Says:

    I can certainly understand your uneasiness about reading into the grass and possibly finding the snake. Ick!

  2. Ima saver Says:

    It is funny, I can't stand spiders but snakes don't bother me at all. We never kill a snake. I don't bother them and they don't bother me.

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