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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Do I have to go?

For those of you that are following me in my adventures with *nature* encounters and the egg eaters I've been trying to catch....I caught one more. Remember last post I freed one from the netting in my coop? Well, I caught the other one. I was so glad that I could release them together. The first one to scoot off was the entangled one, it was ready to go.
This one? Well, I had to do some encouraging to get it to scoot away, it turned and tried to go back into the can I took it off in. I know this is weird, but I felt just a little sad with it all, when she did that. I wondered if maybe she was scared? After all the area is new to them. Other snakes might be there with established territory rights. She won't have free, easy meals any more....she'll have to hunt.
I probably wouldn't have moved them if I'd have had more egg layers....hmmm. I don't know for sure, I do know I miss them just a little....but not too much. They apparently came from a large family because I found another one in the box the next day. I know it's not one of them because I took them miles away to acres of woods. I didn't want them to be in anyones yard because not everybody likes snakes and I didn't want them to be killed. They are harmless! They never once struck at me, they were more scared of me, I think than I actually was of them.
My cactus is blooming again! It has bloomed profusely this year! I left it in the greenhouse this year because it's * painful* to move in and out each fall and spring. It's gotten so big! A dear friend gave it to me when it was just knee high. We were living in Missouri, she got a piece of it from her mother. I gave a piece to my mother. This thing is huge! I'll try to get a full picture of it if I can. It's about eight feet tall now.
That's it for now. Just wanted to catch up with those of you that wanted to know the outcome of the tangled snake.....he's free again ;)....I hope ;)


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Oh, My!

Okay before you read any further or look at the pictures I need to tell you something.....I never said I was a sane person...I've only ever claimed to be a "nature nut". I don't know where I get it from, I used to think I got it from my Grandmother *rest her sweet soul* but even I know she would kill........snakes.
This first picture is of my front yard pond, I didn't want to scare you off right away by showing things to my readers that don't like "certain" things in nature ;)....see my little bullfrog?? ;)

Now, those of you that do follow me and my nature trails, know that I have an egg eating snake problem. I've relocated the only one that I thought I had, across the road into a wooded area. Well....a few days ago I went to collect the eggs and found not one but two of them in a egg laying box! It was funny because I had been running *one* of them out daily for a while now, and when they saw me they tried to hide. As usual...when I don't have my camera on me things like this happen, so I wasn't able to capture the "Kodak moment". I ran in to grab my camera and when I got back one was under the box chamber and one still in the box.

We've been trying to catch them ever since so they can be relocated to the woods way away from here. I've also been checking the boxes more frequently trying to get the eggs before they do ;) So, this morning when I was out there something caught my eye and I totally had heart failure! When I calmed down and could see it was one of my egg eaters, I ran in to get my camera ;) I took the first photo then thought I'd try to see if I could catch it and start the relocation process. I got my snake stick and that's when I realized it was tangled up....really bad.

I ran in to get my favorite sharp little scissors to cut it free. I know....I know.....I thought I was crazy too, but sooner or later I would have to deal with removing it and I'd rather be able to save it than to wait for it to suffer this terrible slow death, knowing it was in my power all along to be able to free it.
People don't realize how important snakes are to our environment. I know they are fearful and intimidating.....geez I was shaking so bad I thought I would have to have a bottle of wine to calm my nerves ;) LOL Just kidding......but really I was a nervous wreck! I kept telling it if it bit me I would kill it LOL ;) I started clipping the netting away at the lower part so I could hold it's head to clip away that area last.....didn't want to take any chances...;)

You can see where it was cutting into it's skin. A snake is like an alligator in the way that when it gets tangled up in something it rolls and twist it's body, only to tangle worse. Once I got it free I put it in a cooler and brought it up to the yard....I want to make sure it's okay before I release it. It's head and jaws looked pretty messed up.
I put an egg in there to make sure it will be able to eat before I let it go. Once it saw the egg it went over to investigate and opened it's mouth. It looked like it was trying to make sure it still worked ;)
I'll keep you posted...if you are an interested "nature nut" as well....

Oh, for those of you that have listened to me about mothballs keeping snakes away......well, it doesn't work ;)

Until next time!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's a Bug's Life

I have been wanting this for some time...I stumbled upon these creatures one day on you tube, but I never actually saw a picture of what they look like, I just knew that they were beneficial and not pesty at kind of bug. I had no idea how to even go about getting them, I tend to forget things rather quickly and so it was in this case LOL ;) Until....a couple of weeks ago......
I opened a sealed bag of bird seed and freaked out!!! Can you see the creepy crawlies in there???

Perhaps you can see them better here.....I scooped some of them up for a closer *safer* look. ;) I had called my sweet, dear cousin for something "out of the ordinary" and we got onto this subject. She suggested that I might have soldier flies....I googled it and sure enough!!! That's what I have!!! How about that one for ya!!! Something I wanted and had forgotten about and now here it was.....freaking me out!!! LOL

Adult soldier fly....they have no mouth parts. After emerging from their pupae state they fly off to mate...lay eggs, then die. The best part is when they are larvae. They are nature's garbage disposals! They will devour food in no time. I have a yard debris composter and leftover "disposers" but these little critters are the answer for me on foods that my chickens can't or shouldn't eat. A huge plus also, is the larvae makes excellent food for your chickens, birds and/or fish! On you tube they have really nice composters for these, but alas, I'm someone that "if I can make it without it costing me money......well..."
I looked around and found an old empty tub. I had a glass cutting board that I NEVER use because "it's not good for the knives". I used that for my separator. The larvae has to have a dry place to migrate to in order to pupate into adulthood.
I placed a brick next to the separator to hold it in place long enough for me to get things going in the compost side.
Left side compost side...right side dry side It also has to have a drain outlet. I drilled a small hole and put a small hose in the hole. I also had a piece of old window screen that I placed over the hole on the inside. I didn't have a picture of that to post though.
Hole and hose on the inside.....left side...compost side
Hose on the outside, I put a stopper in it but ended up taking it out because of the backup.
Scraps and of course the larvae that was in the jar above.
Finished! Now to wait to see if it aim was to see if they would reproduce. Even though I saw a few flies hanging around I wasn't sure it would "work". Another very important thing is when making it this way you have to have it angeled so it will drain out of the tube.
YES!!!! Just what I wanted to see! See the end of the stick I had holding the top ajar???? See the white stuff??? That's eggs!!! I'm so excited.....
I know...I doesn't take much for me......what can I say....I'm just a Nature Nut!!! ;)