Monday, May 18, 2009

I am not a Manly Man

By manly man, I mean that guy who you see in movies, on TV, or in a favorite adventure novel, who takes everything in stride, and deals with everything like it's just another routine. The manly man who might be Brigid's ideal man, a la her post about the characteristics of a Home on the Range man.

I apparently fall short when it comes to number 4. Now I mentioned last year, about dealing with a Copperhead snake who was too close to my children's play area. I was a little wierded out when I dealt with it, and had that same experience this past weekend.

I was out with the weed-whacker, trying to reclaim a part of the backyard that gone a bit wild over the last few years. Thick ivy, blackberry canes, brambles, and whatever else weeds turn into if they can survive the ivy blanket for a year or two. I'm working by myself, and on a slope, on about half an acre of crazy growth, so I'm not trying to do it all in one fell swoop or anything. Each time I do the regular yard, I take the weed-whacker and push a little bit into the overgrowth. Basically getting what I can get with it, and opening paths to things that will take something a little stronger to remove, such as a pruner, or hand saw, or bush axe.

Now the ivy has grown there for a year or three, so that means it has overgrown itself with all the leaf litter, and it's like walking on a four to six inch thick sponge. As I'm giving a fresh buzz-cut to some ivy I've already hit before, and pushing a little further back into canes and honey-suckle, what should I see but a nice-sized Copperhead, slithering his way along about five feet from me.

At this point in the story, the Manly Man would no doubt frown at the offending snake, reach down and grab a hold of it with his bare hand, pop it's head off, toss the carcass into the compost, and keep going. This is where my story, departs from that of the Manly Man, because I believe my approximate words were something along the lines of "YAAAEEIEIEIEEE!!!!!!! ZOMG !! ZOMG !! ZOMG !!" as I jump back and turn to face the nasty little thing. Now I have no problem with benign, harmless snakes, but poisonous snakes that aren't behind glass at the zoo, flat out give me the willies. So here I am, with a poisonous snake that turns out to be between twenty-eight and twenty-nine inches long, which is pretty good size for Copperheads around here, and my hands full of weed-whacker. So I figure that this thing will whack it's way through half inch thick woody stems, and two inch thick green, plant fiber stems, so it ought to do a decent job on a snake, and I rev the engine up, and take a whack at it.

No Joy :(

All it manages to do, is piss the snake off. So I start wailing on this thing like a farmer with a hoe, all the time chanting my mantra "ZOMG!!!!ZOMG!!!!ZOMG!!!!" The little orange line in the weed-whacker doesn't even break the skin on this snake, and it's getting angrier by the thwack. Finally, I get lucky, and when I hit it's back end, and it whips around to strike, one of the trimmer strings catches it in the head or something, because it stuns it, and it drops down hardly moving. I immediately stomp down on the head with my right foot. Now, if this were on concrete, or asphalt, or even just hard dirt, this would have probably crushed it's head, and been the end of things. However, since this is all overgrowth, the leaf litter and ivy roots have made that nice springy floor that my foot just sinks into for a couple of inches, with the snakes head underneath it.

ZOMG!!!ZOMG!!!ZOMG!!!!! Now the stun is starting to wear off, and mister snake is apparently unhappy to have me standing on his head, and the body starts flopping around even more. Luckily, for some reason, I had clipped my little two-inch, Stinger knife into my pocket that morning. I grabbed it, flipped it open, reached down, and ZOMG!!!ZOMG!!!ZOMG!!!........EEWWWWWW!!! cut it's head off.

Then of course, I had to dispose of the pieces of the carcass. Even though the body didn't have a head on it any longer, my full on case of the willies made it an experience to pick that up and toss it back into the woods.

I have since decided that future yardwork in that area of the back yard will be done while wearing my snake boots I have for hunting. Also, you better believe that my .22 revolver is now loaded with those CCI Rat Shot shells, and will be strapped on whenever venturing forth into the wilds of my untamed backyard.

So, while I was the man of the house, and disposed of the venomous critter, I certainly did not accomplish it a manly fashion. Unless of course, you find girlish shrieks, wild flailing with a weed-whacker, and chants of ZOMG!! to be manly that is :)

Keep your eyes open and stay safe!



Brigid said...

I laughed until I cried reading about you attack the snake with a weed zapper. But I know it was NOT funny at the time.

I took a second cousin of mine turkey hunting once down south. I'd spotted this HUGE tom out in the middle of a field with his harem but couldn't get a shot in, too far.

I told R. and he dove down, and crawled through the thick grass, bit by bit, over 15 minutes, til suddenly he popped up and got the shot it. He asked me why I didn't do that?

I replied. "Simple. copperheads" Boy did his face turn white.

Brigid said...

I linked this. Hope you don't mind. It made me laugh, and you write of your adventures in life so very well. More people need to discover your blog.

Anonymous said...

Followed Brigid's link over here and must say I was highly entertained. I think I shall return often.

PeterT said...

I also wandered over from Brigid's place.... this was too funny! I know exactly how this would have played out had I been in your place! The only part you missed would have been my tap dancing across the top of the weeds and such while bashing the beast with the weed whacker!!!!

Casey said...

Thanks so much Brigid! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I myself got quite the laugh out of it later that day while telling the story to family and friends. Every single one of them requested that I do no more yardwork without someone to supervise with a video camera. They were all certain I could have won a funniest video contest with my screaming and thwapping :)

I'm also happy that the writing is enjoyed. I don't have the soul of a poet like some, but I have absolutely zero problem relating embarrassing stories about myself, which seems to make folks laugh :)

Enjoy, and I'll try to get more regular about posting.


Sven said...

Another Brigid vistor here.

Great story!

Dove hunting, Sept.1st on the shortgrass prairie around abandoned farm/ranch buildings, definite snake habitat.

We are always wary.

My partner walked across a small rip-rap dam to the scrub elm and cottonwood on the far bank. A mind numbing shriek and he jumped a full two feet in the air, shotgun swinging downwards and BLAM!-BLAM! rapid fire. a small prairie rattler, maybe 18 inches began to rattle as he approached it on the back side of a large rock.

Needless to say, it did not survive the blast of two dove loads at close range.

His lil' 8 year old daughter (soon to be hunter) now proudly displays the small rattles in her room, next to the horse statues and rabbit skin.

Crucis said...

Casey, I just had to laugh. I grew up in southern Illinois and was always told, "No poisonous snakes are around here." That was until while out hunting one day, I stepped up on the pile of old rock to get a better view only to discover it was home to a den of rattleshakes.

I did the ZOMG! ZOMG! dance as well.

Great story!

Rev. Paul said...

Another follower of Brigid, here.
Fantastic post! I laughed very hard, in large part because I've had similar experiences - except without the weed whacker.

I grew up in the Ozarks, and thought my grandpa was kidding when he told me about those "rattle-headed copper moccasins." He wasn't; we had all three in southern Missouri.

I'm going to follow your blog, sir - very fine writing.

Rangerider said...


Yet another visitor from Brigid's Blog. Well written, funny story. I can relate, after having disposed of several Diamondback Rattlers.