Friday, September 11, 2015

Snake, Rattle and Roll

Two years ago, shortly after we moved to OK, I had my first run in with a rattle snake...  And, to make matters worse, it was a zombie rattle snake.  Don't believe me?  Just read what I wrote about it back then...  The Snake Incident

I've gone blissfully about the business of getting a homestead up and running and haven't really thought about rattle snakes.  Oh sure, I still think about them and watch for them when I'm out, but I don't really think about them.  Like thinking there's going to be one coiled up under the rabbit hutch.

But, two weeks ago, that's exactly where I found one.  Well, actually my mother- in- love saw it first.  As she quietly said "I think there's a rattlesnake under there" and backed away, I leaned over to get a better look.  Yup, there's a coon tail under there.  (In this part of OK, western diamond backs are called coon tails because of the black and white banding by the rattle.)

So, I headed into the house to get my boots and .22 pistol and some extra ammo (remembering the last snake incident).  Boots because everyone does chores in flip flops and the pistol because it had at least 6 shots in it.

Back outside, I took aim (darn snake was at the far corner and it was getting dark out).  Six shots and he barely moved.  Deep breath, reload the pistol.  Darn it, how do I get the barrel open?  Another 6 shots and the snake starts moving. Eek!  It's coming out at me?  What do I do?

Grab the shovel, hoping it's sharp enough to cut the head off, and slam the edge down on the neck (about 6" below the head).  Nope, not sharp enough.  Now what...

Junior is now behind me and I ask him to reload the pistol.  I'm seriously doubting I'll be able to steady my aim enough to hit the head.  Wait!

"Tell Grandma to get the pitchfork!"

My sweet mother- in- love brings it over and stabs the snake in the body...  "No, no! Stab it through the head!"


"Girly, go call daddy and tell him what's going on."  Because, Sarge was at work.  Again.

"Daddy says he'll be home in 30 minutes."

Thirty minutes later, I'm still standing there with the shovel in one hand and the pitchfork in the other.  There was no way I was going to have another zombie snake.  

While I'm standing there, watching the snake continue to move, I got to thinking about Genesis 3.  Especially verse 15.  

"And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

I'm certainly glad I was able to crush his head without him striking my heel...

Sarge finally got home and pulled out his handy dandy snake handling snare so we could drag the snake out of the rabbit area.  Once we got it out in the yard, we measured it at 64".  Gulp, that's a big one.

Yeah, even though I know it's dead, I still don't want to be standing by it.  And here you can see that it's bigger around than my wrist and longer than I am tall (I'm 64").  Sarge got to work on skinning it, because it is a really pretty pattern...

In the light of day, without the head (and about 5" of neck) the skin measured out at 6'2".  The thing keeps getting bigger and bigger!

Sarge thought this was all very cool.  He but the head in a jar of alcohol and took it to work the next day.  Once the hide was tanned, he took that in too.  He's going to be doing a snake presentation for the kids in three different grades over the next couple weeks.

Because Sarge is up for just about anything, he decided he wanted to save the meat.  For Junior's birthday, we wrapped one section in tin foil with potatoes, onions and carrots.  We cooked it in the fire, over the hot coals.

We took another section and smoked it.  We'll definitely be smoking the other sections.

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