Tag Archives: Rattle snakes

Tequila sunrise

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Old Ms. Niaid managed to off Brother Rattler without any consequences evidently, so she’s going to have to find something else to flesh out her life experience, I reckons. Her long hair’s growing back from the sheep shearing when the hot weather hit, and it’s filling up with beggar’s lice and grass burrs, which might serve to fend off whatever’s around here dangerous to aging bachelorette felines.

Ms. Tabby, on the other hand, has a nose and front-of-her-face of the usual Tabby-summertime variety. Can’t keep her nose out of cactus, or out of the business of something capable of adding color and romance to an otherwise nondescript Tabby face. I’m thinking when we get out of here she might turn out to be a regular-looking cat.

I decided yesterday I’m going to add mothballs to that storage building to get those rattlers out where they can enjoy life instead of bickering and snarling inside that dark storage building. Can’t tell when someone’s going to want something else out of there and the anxiety level trying to find it ain’t worth not stepping on a snake some night going from the RV to the cabin to check my email.

Today I’m going to nurse the Escape Route V 2.51 into Kerrville on three tires on back and have the two blown ones replace with respectable 10 ply exceptions to the rule. Provided the spare on the ground right-rear doesn’t decide to blow the plan. I’ll try to take back roads and get the roadwork done early before the pavement gets too hot.

Keith emailed me a while back he’s planning to be in New Mexico late August or September, and I’m going to tentatively plan on getting out to visit while he’s in the area. Hopefully by then everything will be settled out here and I’ll be able to think of out-there as home for a while.

Maybe get me a nice little piece of ocean-side ground on the east, or west coast of New Mexico, once all the damned ice goes away and raises sea-level to a reasonable altitude. 4000′ mean sea level might be about right. Maybe the cats and I will open a little bait shop on the west coast near where Arizona used to be. Or maybe rig a surfboard and hang ten mornings after we pray the sun up.

I figure the west coast will probably be less jam packed with Arizonians than the east coast will be with Texans because those Texans already all go to New Mexico deliberately to ski and gamble at Ruidoso and Angel Fire. Arizonians and Californians never go to New Mexico deliberately unless they’re just going through it to get somewhere else.

By the time they wake up and discover they’re living in a salt-water swimming hole I’ll have things nailed down on all the corners, wave to them as they swim to shore, or ride in on their bass boats. Sell them some bait, maybe.

Big plans for the future here.

Old Jules

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Pore old Brother Rattler

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

Gale had a hip replaced recently, and he’s doing the recovery routines. Called me a few days ago asking me to search around in one of the storage buildings for a wheel chair and walkers stored in there somewhere. I used to store chicken feed in there and hadn’t looked inside much after I got rid of the flock.

So I opened the door and began clearing away all manner of things before the first rattler announced himself, followed by another somewhere on the other side of the path I was creating. I moved something else and a third, maybe a fourth kicked in to the orchestra.

I tippee-toed around and carefully got the wheel chair and walkers out without anything attaching itself to my leg, called him to let him know it’s all down here where it can be picked up. We discussed the plethora of rattlers, how to get them out of there. And whether I actually wanted to get them out of there before I’m ready to hit the pavement.

On reflection, I like them a good bit better in there than outdoors where they can get underfoot. My thought is I’ll leave them to themselves for a while if they’re happy there. When the time comes he can run them out with mothballs or ammonia. He’s thinking he’d like to try forcing them out the hole they came in and have people standing around to shoot them as they emerge. Which I want no part of. I mostly have no argument with pore old Brother Rattler. If he’ll leave me along I’m content leaving him alone, tending his own affairs.

However, half-hour ago I was inside the RV when Niaid announced she’d come on prey, or caught something. I looked out the screen door and watched her leap on something in the weeds. Quicker than I can tell it she had a 3 foot rattler in her mouth dragging it toward the RV, meowing out the sides of her mouth as she came.

Brother Rattler was still trying to grasp the fact he was dead, his head and neck squashed. Squirming and wiggling between her forelegs as she brought him to show off.

I’m keeping a close eye on her. No way of telling yet whether she was bitten, but she seems okay. Not favoring any body parts.

Life in the big city, I reckons.

Old Jules

The Skins We Change

Note from Jeanne:
I’d like to thank those of you who commented on yesterday’s art work. I appreciate it. It has been a while since I’ve worked on large drawings (spending more time recently on jewelry) and just getting the feedback from you has been an encouragement to follow through on some other ideas I’ve had.  I’ll post a drawing here every once in a while and I’ll try to fix the categories so you’ll be able to find them all easily.
 Old Jules has been spending a good deal of his time cutting cedar and working on a huge erosion control project for Gale and Kay and hasn’t been online much. I’m sure he’ll update you at some point, but I have some posts  scheduled ahead since I don’t know exactly when that will be.  Thanks again for visiting, reading,  and commenting here, we both appreciate it very much. ~Jeanne

Previously posted June 7, 2005  (Placitas, New Mexico)

Out in the currently vacant chicken house I found a rattlesnake skin the other day.  It was in one of the layer boxes, so I don’t know how long it was there before I noticed it.  But it caused me to do some thinking about old brother rattler and what manner of nuisance he’s likely to make of himself if he’s still around.

I’m a man who holds rattlers in fairly high regard, but with a lot of respect for their clumsy bad manners when it comes to getting underfoot.  I usually try to keep enough of an eye on the places they like to show up unexpectedly to avoid offending them, and when I can corner them I’ll carry them off into some likely spot well away from humans.  Mostly they’re just minding their own business, trying to make a living the same as everyone else and don’t have the good sense to keep themselves out of harm’s way when humans are around.

This one looked a lot bigger last year (I’m assuming it’s the same one) when I lifted up a piece of plywood in a pile of debris in the corner of the lot and let out an involuntary yelp as I jumped backward in time to avoid his strike.  That skin shows him to be about two feet long, but I’d have called him an easy four from my brief look at him.

Rattlers are few at this altitude, and the one who slithered off into the cane leaving me to to decide whether to just breathe a while and let my pulse slow down, or take another tug at that plywood is almost certainly the previous owner of that skin in the chicken house.

Rattlers are lucky where it comes to changing their skins.  Happens year after year, but generally they don’t change much.  People aren’t so lucky in that regard.  We change our skins a lot of times in this life, and in a sense we leave the old ones lying around to be examined by everyone with an interest in who we are, making assumptions based on the old skin.

The other night I was down at the Range Cafe in Bernalillo …. met a bunch of old guys my age down there… retirees from the Los Alamos labs…. nuclear physicists who’ve shed their old skins and discovered they’ve let their lives slither off into the bush without doing a lot of things they wish they’d done.  Now they’re all off living other places, but decided to rendezvous down here for a hurrah into the mountains, looking for a lost gold mine.

I have a notion I’d have barely been able to tolerate those men in their younger days.  There’s a nuance about value judgements involving working on nuclear weapon development that would have influenced my thinking about them.

But these guys had left all that behind, shed that skin and now just wanting to slither off into the canyons, spend some time chewing the fat over a fire and stomp around looking for a lost mine and taking joy in being around one another again.

Strange place we’ve chosen to spend a reality, thinks I.

Old Jules