23 minutes ago
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!