Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Startling Morning

I finally put two brain cells together and figured out that another reason why my leg has been in so much pain lately is because I haven't been taking my medication exactly 12 hours apart.  What's been happening is that the effectiveness of the anti-inflammatory has run its course by the time I do barn chores at sunrise and sunset, so I have been doing my chores on one leg, dragging the other behind me.  I adjusted the times I take my meds so that they won't stop working right when I start working.  I had been taking my pill with breakfast and dinner, and I was eating those meals right after doing my chores.  Since I have to take the pills with food, I've just changed the times I take them, but I take them with snacks instead of meals.

I felt well enough to go for a trail ride this morning.  Rock was the first to finish his breakfast, so I took him out while the other horses were still eating.  I tied him to the trailer and walked back and forth between the tack room and the trailer multiple times while grooming him and tacking him up.

Ever since I ran into that rattlesnake at the bottom of the back steps, I've been watching the ground all around me before proceeding further.  I dug up all the grass along the rock walls where I take the dogs to relieve themselves so that I can see a snake if it is hiding there.  They tend to press their bodies against walls as they move.

I always check along the walls of the tack room before approaching it, and I didn't see anything there.  On my final trip out of the tack room, I shut the door, looked down, and saw this at my feet...

Do you see it just above the head of my shadow?  Here's a close up...

I swear it wasn't there all those times I walked in and out of the tack room door.  It looked like it was injured and stuck.  I wasn't about to try to help it, so I mounted up and rode off.  Rock went back to snacking along the trail, so we got into a couple of scuffles.  I was making progress with him until I tried to turn him due west away from home and he refused.  He turned all the way around to face the house and wouldn't budge.  I looked around to see if there was anything nearby that would cause him to behave that way, but I saw nothing, so I cranked him back in the other direction and smacked him hard with the quirt on the shoulder.  He wasn't expecting that and gave a start, popping his hind end up into the air and throwing me forward in the saddle.  I don't think it was an intentional crow hop.  I think he was just shocked.  But I didn't have any problems with him following directions after that, so it was worth it.

You can see by his ears here that he had one ear on where I was putting my attention (the flowering cactus), and one ear on the bush he really, really, really wanted to eat.

Rock was going at a decent pace on the way home.  We had a red Cardinal flying right next to us for a short while.  He was walking as fast as the bird was flying, which is a miracle for him.

While we were riding down the street, some neighbors were walking in front of us and Rock didn't pay any attention to them, which was surprising.  He usually can't focus at all if there are people around.  I guess it helped that they were walking away from us.

When we got back to the tack room, the rattlesnake was still there in the same position and I could see that the wound on its tail was decomposing, so it either was dead or dying when I first spotted it.  The pictures above were actually from when I got back from the ride.  The wound on the tail wasn't as pronounced when I first saw it.  If some wild animal doesn't pull it out of there and eat it, I will have to pull it out myself so that it doesn't stink up the tack room.

Of course, I had a dozen scenarios running through my head on the story behind the rattlesnake.  Maybe it hibernated down there, and then came out, ate a few meals, and got too fat to get back into its nest.  Or maybe it was in the tack room the whole time I was grabbing tack, and it bailed on its first chance, going out the door and trying to squeeze through that hole before I spotted it.  It got stuck and died while I was out trail riding.  Or maybe it got attacked by some predator and was trying to get away, but died before it could get to a safe spot.  Perhaps a hawk dropped it.

I put the Rock away and headed back to the house, only to stop dead in my tracks because of this...

Do you see it?  No?  How about now?

At least this one isn't venomous.

But they sure do like to hang out on and around that bottom step.  It's a different snake every time.  I think they like to eat the lizards, rats and squirrels that live in the cracks of the stone wall.  Hopefully, the snakes will take care of our desert rat problem.  The rats get in the walls and scratch, which gets our dogs barking, and then we can't sleep at night.  I'm so glad I finished the job of shoveling up the grass directly next to the stone wall this morning.  My timing couldn't have been better.


Mrs Shoes said...

Is the hole in the plastic at the base of the shed there for ventilation?

TeresaA said...

wow! So many snakes you must have to scan the whole time.

Crystal said...

Yikes so many snakes and its still early in the year!