Saturday, May 18, 2013

Encounter of the Snake Kind

So, I recently read an article about "Python Hunting". I think there was a much longer name for it, but at the moment I just can't quite recall it. Which got me to thinking about my own experiences with snakes. Now, I've never tango'd with...or tangled with a Python, but I have had my fair share of confrontations with non-poisonous and poisonous snakes. Whether it be them falling from the sky, stepping over, shooting at or shooting the things around them, I've had quite a few.  I'm not sure if any of you know, but this year is the year of the snake. Which is also the year I was born in, not that this is of any significance to any of this. I just find it amusing and fun facts to know.

I'll start my first story back when I was 12 years old. As was a my usual routine for the mornings, I would get up and go outside to take care of our animals, (Horses, goats and chickens). Which included going into our shed to grain the animals. It was summer time and quite hot outside even though it was earlier in the morning. Going about my normal business and not expecting anything unusual to happen. I opened our shed door only to have something fall directly in front of my face and drop at my feet. It happened very quickly but I soon realized it was a snake that had somehow managed to get into the crevice at the top of the door jam and upon opening the door, I released it from its comfortable sleeping place. I'm not sure who was more shocked at that moment, but I was glad I didn't let out any embarrassing shrills. So was my first weird experience with the snake kingdom.

When I was 17, I was volunteering for our local library Summer Reading Program. One day they had a special guest that brought a bunch of snakes and different kinds of reptiles and even a Tarantula. After being able to pet/touch some of the snakes, the owner asked those of us who wanted to have our picture taken with one of the Boa Constrictor on our neck. Of course, I volunteered but unfortunately I was the last one to go. Whether because I was really the last or just because soon after the picture was taken, the handler came over and said the snake was getting agitated and should be put up. After removing the snake from around me, in a move that was so fast I almost thought I was seeing things, the snake struck out at the handler and bit him on his hand. Thankfully I was the only one who saw plus the handler quickly shut his hand while blood was already pooling in his palm. So, no screaming kids, I am just glad she wasn't wrapped around my neck when she decided to strike out. Crazy, huh?

My next experience was a few years ago as I was walking out to our horse pasture. I was walking over our dammed creek and somewhat oblivious to my surroundings I didn't think to look near the edge of where I was walking. When I finally noticed 3 cotton mouths (very poisonous) near me. There is still debate between me and my father on what kind of snake they were, but I hold firmly to the fact that they were cotton mouths. Upon seeing them I abruptly turned around and headed back in the house, retrieved my 9mm and went back to the party. I unloaded a clip into the 3 of the snakes. Although, someone had failed to inform me that when a snake was shot, they still move. Let's just say, there wasn't much left of the 3 snakes by the time I was finished. At least I knew they were dead though, right?? LoL

Not long after the last incident. My mother found a huge black snake in the chicken house, stealing our eggs. Which I had actually come across a few times in there. One time when he was hanging above my head and once while he was in a layer box when I went to retrieve the eggs. Finally, tired of Mr. Black Snake stealing our eggs, mom asked if I would dispose of him. I went and retrieved my "handy dandy" once more and preceded back out to the chicken house. Unfortunately while in the process of "disposing" of Mr. Black Snake I also put a hole into the side of our chicken house.  >.>  *clears throat*

A couple years ago my father came across a king snake (non-poisonous) in our yard and decided to bring him inside. Much to my mothers many ways of saying "NO". Fred still made his way into our empty fish aquarium. One time after coming home for a sabbath gathering, I looked into the tank and Fred was no where to be seen. We couldn't find him anywhere in the house so we decided that we would just go to bed and try to find him the following day. The next day I was standing at the tank and noticed something sticking out of the rocks and reached in to pull on it, only to find that Fred had burrowed himself under the rocks. So it wasn't to our surprise a few days later when Fred went "missing" again. Mom had called me into the office to talk about the things that needed to be done that day. I guess I was slightly distracted from hearing what she was saying, before long mom looked over at me and says, "WHAT are you doing?!". I said, pointing to the wall under our shelves, "What is that?!". Right upon saying this, I realized it was apart of Fred's body that was hanging below the shelves. I started laughing uncontrollably and told her I would take Fred outside and release him. Mom was adamant that I wear gloves, grudgingly I put them on and grabbed Fred to put him outside when in the process of carrying him, he bit onto my gloved finger. So, there I stood in turmoil, with Fred's mouth firmly clamped around my finger and I couldn't figure how to best get the snake OFF my finger. Finally I decided to just toss him out in the yard and hope he would release my finger with the force and not come sailing back into my face. Thankfully it worked and Fred was released back to his natural habitat.

Just about a month ago I was checking on my horses out in the pasture. When on the way back to the house, I was walking across our bridge. After so many encounters with the 'other' kind, I have made it a habit of always looking at the ground when I walk. Watching the ground, I came about 3 inches from stepping on a baby Copperhead. Which, for those of you who may not know. It is actually more dangerous to be bit by a baby snake because they cannot control their venom and will release ALL of it into their prey. Therefore MUCH more dangerous to be bitten by a baby snake (poisonous snake of course). Praise Yah, he watched out for me and I was able to avoid any catastrophic acquaintances with baby snake.

I've had many other experiences with snakes, but by far...those are the stories that stand out the most in my memory. Thankfully I am not afraid of snakes like certain other people in my family. Or else there might have been a lot more squealing and shrilling in all those stories. I hope I neither scared nor bored you all with these odd and perhaps amusing stories.
TaTa for now!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Rose's Training Session

So today I took the time to work with my new horse, Rose (Rosebud). I have the farrier (trims horses hooves) coming tomorrow and I haven't had the chance to really work with her since the last time he was here. For those who don't know, last time did NOT go well at all...other then Rose got a rude awakening and a serious attitude adjustment. Which I must say was very much needed.
So today I decided, no matter what, I was going to work with her. She wasn't able to pick up any of her feet when I first bought her. Thanks to her last attitude adjustment last time, she could now pick up her front feet, but not her back.
I didn't put a time limit on myself, just knowing I definitely wanted to be able to at least pick up her back feet without too much hassle. I started out with some serious lunging (making them walk, trot or canter in circle). I will hand it to her, she has some serious spunk and energy piled up inside. It didn't take long till she was sweating, although I was right along with sweating since it was pretty hot out. I kept her lunging for about 45 minutes before I decided she was tired enough to mess with. She still wasn't completely tired but it was better then before, since I was going to be picking up her hind feet putting me in a precarious position.
I used a roped and looped it around her foot and started pulling and making her pick up her feet and hold it without kicking out, the moment she stopped moving her foot I would release (as reward) and allow her to rest it on the ground. It didn't take too long for her to pick it up without kicking out. Trusting that she was over most of the striking out, I stopped using the rope and went to picking up her feet with my hands. She still gave me a lot of grief but at least she was picking them up, better then nothing. I would switch back and forth between both hind legs so she wouldn't favor to one side more then the other. As some of the best trainers will tell you, "Whatever you do on one side, do on the other." It seems like common knowledge but its easily passed over when you're in the moment of dealing with a 1000lbs horse.
So on I went, going back and forth with both feet until she would hold her foot longer each time. By the end of the session I had her resting her legs on my thigh for over a minute without twitching or pulling away. I was very happy by the end and also another well known saying, "Always end on a good note." Horses are well known for their long memories and ending something on a bad note will only leave them with a bad taste in their mother about whatever you were doing before. So whether you are lunging, leading, riding or being thrown off a horses, always make sure you leave them on a happy note, not only for their sake but also for your own. I cannot recount to how many times I have wanted to just walk away or having been thrown off my horse, wanted to just quit for the day. I would always makes sure I got back on and it would always make me feel better, until the next day when all the pain came of course, LOL. Even then though, it's great to make sure everyone is happy.
We worked on a few more things before I let her go back out to pasture, but all in all it was a very promising lesson and training session. She seems to be growing more attached to me it seems, which I feel bad when I have to be stern with her when all she wants is reassurance that I'm not mad at her for something.
So! Yah willing everything we accomplished today I pray sticks tomorrow. Especially when our farrier is here, I hope she is as good with him as she is with me. ^_^
 Hope I didn't bore too many of you with my horse talk, But I figure I do have some horse lovers who follow my blog, so this one is for them. Hope you enjoyed! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Reality has Escaped

It comes in the night.
Like a thief through the window.
To steal my rights.
My right to speak thus.

I stare in horror.
As it stares me in the eye.
Cold shock gripping.
Ahold of my entire body.

I lack the ambition to move.
The will to speak.
Where has my voice gone.
It starts to sink in.

The ability of motion.
Has escaped my being.
The power to think.
Has fled away from me.

I go on staring.
Blankly at a white.
Mixed with a myriad.
Of fellow colors.

A voice wills me back.
Nudging at the corners.
Of the recently shut off.
Workings of my consciousness.

I remember to breathe.
One deep inhale after another.
I remember to think.
Motion now returned.

I can now see clearly.
What is before me.
As I see the words.
Reality has returned.

Copyright 2013 Lauren Hall ©