Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I'm out of the garage!

Finally. After four days of sitting with an air compressor and countless other pieces of machinery at my back (because it's a working garage, after all, not just a place to park vehicles); four days of being bombarded by flies and buffeted by the chilly breezes that often whirled through the door; four days of listening to people tell me their life stories (and being truly creeped out by a lone man named Bob from Appleton who'd found Jesus -- but where, he didn't say); four days of crossing the yard and hustling into the house whenever the opportunity arose, hoping to have enough time to use the bathroom, shove some food in my face, and let the poor dogs out. Yep, I was alone for three of those four days. It's harvest season, which means JLA has been driving truckloads of vegetables around the state.

At least I can now pay the DMV $75 to have my license plates renewed. But I still must return to the garage to pack up all the leftovers. Ugh. The weather has definitely turned autumnal -- gray skies, gusty winds, and occasional smatterings of cool rain.

The highlight of my long weekend came courtesy of my canine companions. The weather was lovely enough on Sunday to allow them time in their big, pine-shaded pen. Early that afternoon, they both started barking in a way that said, WTF? People, come here! What is this? What are we to do? (For those of you who've never had dogs, they have different kinds of barks that convey different messages.) So JLA, his son, and I all hurried over to the pen as a few shoppers browsed in the garage.

What had Cody and Luna so distraught was a hissing snake, curled in the underbrush along the fence. Since none of us is a herpatologist and there are timber rattlers in Wisconsin, we got the dogs into the house and then asked the few people at the sale if anyone was familiar with snakes. A younger man came outside to eyeball the invader.

"That's a bull snake," he said. "It won't hurt you."

Later, my inquiring mind drove me to the Internet. Bull snakes are, it appears, a protected species in Wisconsin. They're constrictors -- they stalk rodents and small mammals and squeeze the bejebus out of 'em -- and, while nonvenomous, can deliver a bite if they feel threatened.

Now, of course, we're left wondering where exactly this creature has taken up residence. State law says we're not to harm it or even move it, but . . . the bugger was in the dog pen! We have no clue where it's currently lurking. Eep!

Well, back to work. I have to do some house and garage cleaning before I can even begin to contemplate writerly stuff. By the way, many thanks to all of you who popped in for the blog tour!


Chris said...

Glad the garage sale is over! And glad that it wasn't a rattlesnake. I've seen a couple of rattlers in Minnesota, along the Mississippi. It's weird - you hear the rattling sound, and your primitive brain takes over and suddenly you are the hell outta there, wondering what happened.

Tam said...

Ugh. That's why I hate garage sales. Work, work, work. Glad you earned some money though.

As for snakes? Ummm. Heebie jeebies now. I don't care if it's protected, I'd be "encouraging" it to move on somewhere safer, for me. I have a snake phobia although it's gotten better with time, but I would have run like hell and left my family to die. LOL One time camping I was up on top of the picnic table while the kid ran in a circle with the snake slithering around trying to find the frog it had spotted for lunch which was now in my kids hands so she could save it. Sigh. A small one too, perfectly harmless but .... Wimp? Why yes I am. :-)

Val said...

That's a gorgeous snake in the photo. And Tam, I love the story of your kid saving the frog from becoming snake food!

Tam said...

It was quite funny Val. I'm yelling at her to put the frog across the road and the snake stopped and I'd swear to god you could see the little thing frown and his brains is going "I KNOW there was a frog here. I smelled it. Where the hell did that thing go?" After a minute of thinking he finally slithered off to another camp site, but I never would have thought a snake had a facial experssion but I'd swear he did.

K. Z. Snow said...

Yikes, Chris. And to think I regularly went camping along the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers and never gave rattlesnakes a second thought!

I've seen a few whopping big snakes in Wisconsin over my lifetime, but not frequently. They don't particularly frighten me, just make me instantly go "zero at the bone," as Emily Dickinson wrote.

Here's something I just learned. Poisonous snakes have elliptical eyes; nonpoisonous, round eyes. And the fox snake, another midwesterner, does lift its tail and shake it menacingly, although it, too, is a constrictor. So keep that in mind.

K. Z. Snow said...

Tam, I had my usual reaction to one of your stories. :-D

K. Z. Snow said...

Hi, Val. Snakes really are quite beautiful creatures. And if a "bullie" can help keep down the rodent population (especially the damned moles that've been eating all my lily bulbs), more power to them! I just don't want my dogs to be chomped by one.

I once had a bull terrier/collie-ish mix who was a fearless snake killer. He'd grab one in the middle, regardless of size, and shake it like crazy. Effective, but producing a very ugly sound...and even uglier sight, once he loosed the snake's bodily fluids. :-/

wren boudreau said...

Ew. Just ew.

It took me a while to understand just why you were in the garage. Glad you can renew the plates. I hate doing those sales by my lonesome. So I stopped doing them.

I wish I had some interesting snake tale for you. But alas, am snaketaleless.

P.s. did you get my email, woman?

K. Z. Snow said...



wren boudreau said...

check again!

Val said...

Tam: I never would have thought a snake had a facial experssion but I'd swear he did.

I bet he did! My reptiles (turtles) convey a lot with their scaly little faces.

KZ: bull terrier -- shaking snake -- body fluids -- ick! Good thing your current dogs didn't try this. :)

K. Z. Snow said...

Good thing your current dogs didn't try this. :)

No kidding, Val! I think the little girl, Luna, was tempted -- she has some terrier in her -- but was too befuddled.

I LOVE turtles (and frogs, too). And I absolutely agree they have expressive faces.