Monday, April 10, 2017

This Place is Hopping

Yesterday I helped put on an Easter egg hunt for some kids in the community, and though I enjoyed chatting with children and watching them hunt, I remembered why I usually don't participate in any kind of social activity.  The event was scheduled from 12 to 2, but at 9 AM I was notified that I should be there at 10 to set up.  Only an hour's notice.  Nice.  I got there about 10:30 AM and setting up only took about 15 minutes with everyone chipping in, so we had to sit around doing nothing until people started showing up at noon.

My leg was troubling me, so I had to go to my truck to retrieve my cane.  At home, I have control over when I can sit and stand and walk, so I have control over my pain, but in group situations I don't.  It got to be 12:30 PM and the hunt hadn't started yet.  The kids were getting restless.  The organizer kept saying, "Just wait a little longer.  Someone is pulling into the parking lot, and we need to wait for them."

The people who kept arriving were never there for our event.  After she said this half a dozen times, I said, "My feeling is that if anyone is more than half an hour late, that's their problem.  We need to reward those who show up on time by letting them hunt."

She said, "Oh, I guess I should have specified that the hunt doesn't start until 1:00 PM.  I just wanted everyone to get here at 12."

Huh?  People were clearly shocked, especially those of us who had been there since 10 to set up.  Why have us come three hours early when setting up only took 15 minutes?  I don't know about you, but I certainly don't have three hours to sit around and do nothing most days.  I was gathering my things to leave, because my leg was killing me, my bladder was bursting, and I was starving.  Then a child talked the organizer into starting the hunt, so I got to see it.  The hunt itself only took about 5 minutes.  They were having a picnic after the hunt, but I was done.  You were supposed to bring your own food and my food, along with my pain pills and my toilet, were at home.

On my way to my truck, a lady with a little girl stopped me to ask if we already had the hunt.  I said we did, but there may still be treasures hidden in the vicinity that were missed.  Right then the girl looked up and found one in a tree next to her.  She was so delighted.  Then I remembered a treasure that I had hidden weeks ago that still hadn't been found, and a few others I noticed that were outside of the hunting zone, so I told them about those, offering hints to their locations.

They thanked me and started to walk away when I got a really bad feeling in my gut, and stopped them to tell the girl to always look around the ground real well before reaching for one, because the rattlesnakes are out.  I glanced at my watch.  They had arrived at 1:15 for a hunt that was advertised as staring at 12.  I suspect they were one of the few who knew it actually didn't start until 1:00, and they were just 15 minutes late.

When I got home, my husband told me that he ran into a Gila Monster twice while I was away.  Based on the size he said it was, and the fact that it hissed at him, I'm pretty sure it was a different one from the Gila Monster I saw a few weeks ago.  That means we have two in our vicinity.  He didn't get any pictures.  I was glad that I said something to that little girl who showed up late and was going to hunt outside of the organized boundaries, because if the Gila Monsters were out, so were the snakes.

A short time after that, I was sitting on the couch and turned my head just in time to see a rattlesnake go slithering past the back door on my elevated porch.  I was shocked, because I didn't think a snake would ever have any reason to go up there.  It went under our barbecue and then two quail stalked it.  We sometimes find dead or injured rattlesnakes with holes in them, and we think the quail peck holes in them to keep them away from their eggs.  The quail shagged the rattlesnake out from under the barbecue and it slithered right onto my doormat beneath my back door.  Had I not seen it, I might have opened the door and stepped right outside onto it.  This was a little too close for comfort.

In the second picture, the head is getting into striking position, because my husband was coming up the stairs onto the porch with his snake hook.  It ended up turning around and dropping off the porch to slither underneath it.  We left it alone, but will have to keep a close eye out.  We think this sudden activity in our backyard was partly caused by our ex-neighbor coming into town and doing yard work all weekend.  I suspect half the animals that are in our yard now came from his, but bailed because of all the power tool noises.

Once the snake was gone, I went down to the barn and noticed a bunny sitting in the grass that didn't seem to be afraid of me.  I wondered if it was from last year's litter, because most of those rabbits were very comfortable with my presence.  On my way back, it had moved to a different location, but was still not running away when I approached it.  I looked at its face and saw some familiar scars.  Could it be?

Was this Charity?  I called to her, but she didn't come, so I went into the tack room and got some pellets.  I sprinkled them down and called to her again, and she came hopping.  She hopped right up to me and started eating!  I was so happy to see her.  I thought a coyote had eaten her because I haven't seen her in months.  I didn't try to pet her, because I'm sure she has reverted back to her wild state to some extent.  Hopefully, she'll be around more often so that we can get reacquainted.

In the meantime, there is a nest of baby bunnies under my haystack, only I'm down to six bales that I will have to move off the pallets so that I can clean them and make room for a fresh block.  I've been stalling in doing that, because I want to give the babies time to be weaned so that they can move to another location when I uproot their nest.  I've even been considering just buying a few bales of hay and feeding that to the horses so that I could leave those six bales there another month.  I've already pulled down one bale and accidentally destroyed a quails' nest.  Quail eggs broke everywhere.  I felt awful.  It's tough running low on hay in the spring around here.  So many animals depend on the environment within my hay barn for breeding.


Linda said...

OMG. OMG. OMG. That rattlesnake creeps me out. Yes, you could step on it. I would be so scared. How do you go about your business and not be afraid? Do you wear boots whenever you're outside? I'm glad you got to see Charity. That was a gift. I guess she's a survivor. There are so many predators in your backyard. We have quite a few here, too, but not rattle snakes.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Linda - I'm actually worried about them getting inside. It was hard for me to put my feet on the floor all night last night. We've had them in our garage, and sometimes we prop the door to the house open when we bring groceries inside. Today's society has this attitude that if you get bit by a rattlesnake, it's your own fault for not watching where you step or where you put your hands. Even the newscasters present it that way, but I know better. It's so easy to step on a rattlesnake when they are everywhere, including on your door mat.

Crystal said...

Yikes that a bit too close for the snake.
I quit volunteering for public functions too, seems like no one really takes it serious anymore which is too bad.

Mrs Shoes said...

Holy cow, those snakes are scary! We always leave our boots out on the porch during the summer & the worst that can crawl in there is a spider (which freak me out but won't kill me).
The other day when I went to fire up the BBQ there was a dead vole down on the bottom under the gas jets - YUCKY. Still better than a snake though.
If that's Charity, then I'm sure she'll warm right back up to you!