Snake Wars

August 10, 2010

Yesterday evening was a bit of war zone down by the pond.  The first confrontation was “Snake vs. Frog“. . .

I was happily minding my own business photographing butterflies on some Joe Pye weeds on the pond banks when there was a BIG commotion in the water!

There was a lot of splashing, and at first I couldn’t tell what was going on.

frog and snake

There's something strange about that frog...

I thought at first a big frog had just jumped into the water was all, but the frog was swimming most erratically!

frog in water

MUST. BREAK. FREE!!!!

The frog struggled valiantly, but he never really had much of a chance.  Once the snake got a good hold, it had the advantage of size and oh yes… a dose of poison.  We’re talking water moccasins here.

Soon then end was in sight. . .

frog and snake in pond

End game in sight. . .

And the short war was over. . .
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And that was the end. Didn’t see the frog again. 

Snakes: 1 – Frog:0

However, the pond appears to have a thriving snake population. This is no surprise considering the heat.  They’re searching for water for one thing.  For another, the pond is a veritable buffet for snakes with all the frogs and other aquatic critters.  So I soon spotted another snake.

snake by bank

Taking a rest before the hunt. . .

This was just too much for The Farmer.  Even though he was hobbling around with a funky orthopedic sandal and big bright green bandage on his foot (had a toenail removed yesterday), he couldn’t stand it.  He went for a gun.

Now it was The Farmer vs. Snakes.

Of course, by the time he hobbled in the house, got a gun out of the safe and loaded it, the two bigger snakes were nowhere to be found.

One little snake, however, wasn’t so smart and had the temerity to show up practically in front of The Farmer.  Bad move.  The Farmer let him have it with both barrels, so to speak.

small dead snake in pond

On the way down and out. . .

I don’t think he was hit directly, but died from the shock of the blast concussion.  Sort of like fishing Crocodile Dundee style… with dynamite.

That was an even shorter war. 

The Farmer: 1 – Snakes: 1 – Frog: 0

As many snakes as there are in the pond, I really think the odds are in their favor in the long haul for winning the Snake Wars.

Pond Scum

July 27, 2010

It’s been really hot for a long time with no rain.  When that happens, the pond starts to look pretty yucky.

small pond

The entire surface is "scummy".

Fortunately, we finally got some rain yesterday afternoon.  That always knocks all the stuff floating on top of the pond down to the bottom.

small pond

Clear water!

I don’t know how long it will stay like this, but it sure looks a lot nicer when the surface is clear and you can see bushes and trees reflecting in the water!

Some Rural Ramblings…

June 29, 2010

Sunday afternoon The Farmer decided  he wanted to show me the farms along one rural roads he travels on the way to work every week-day.  He told me not to forget my camera, and off we went.

Here’s the pictures from that trip, in the order I took them as we were driving down the road. . .

Lots of farmers have been baling hay.  When I was younger, it was all square bales.  Of course they really aren’t square, they’re rectangular… but anyway, I digress.

big round hay bales

They look rather like big jelly rolls. . .

In this part of the world, you see a lot of fields of cotton, soybeans and corn.  As you’re driving down the road, this particular combo has cotton in the first field, and corn in the field beside it.

Corn and cotton.

Cotton in the front, corn in the back.

Here’s a close-up of the cotton field… I like all the long, neat rows.

Cotton plants

"Oh, I wish I were in the land of cotton..."

It was just a beautiful summer day, if a trifle hot (high 90s).

fields, sky and clouds

Big fields and Big sky!

Did I mention a lot of farmers are baling hay?

hay, field, trees

No shortage of hay this year!

We went by a farm pond with a dead tree in it.

pond in field

Farm pond.

There was a vulture in the field beside the pond.

Vulture in field of cut grass.

I'm just sitting here: you can car-rion.

They’re not exactly the loveliest bird to see up close. . .

vulture bird

Looking for food in all the wrong places?

But they sure can fly!  Oh, and by the way… you DID notice more hay in the making in this field?

This fence line caught my eye.

Fenced in field.

There's more to this fence than first meets the eye.

Most of the fence isn’t that remarkable, but the corner post is decorated.

Patriotic sign on fencepost.

Signs of patriotism in the south!

And on that note, I’ll end for the day.  Check back tomorrow for part 2 of our Rural Ramblings!

It looks like spring!

March 31, 2010

We’ve got some lovely weather this week, and true to the south, it’s even going to be rather hot later on!  At least if the weatherman’s predictions are right!

There are still a lot of daffodils blooming in the flowerbeds. . .

Narcissus in bloom

Daffodils (Narcissus)

And some of the other spring flowers are starting to poke through the earth.

Trillium recurvatum

Prairie trillium (Trillium recurvatum)

There aren’t any blooms on the trillim yet, but they are popping up all over the woods.

There are also beds of Trout Lilies springing up. . .

Bed of Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) in the woods.

Trout Lily ( Erythronium americanum)

But here again, it will be a little while before they are in bloom.

The dandelions are blooming here and there. . .

Violets and dandelions.

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) and violets (Viola papilionacea)

Some consider dandelions and wild violets to be weeds, but I rather like seeing them.

Even the honeybees are coming out to enjoy the sunshine and look for food.

Honeybee on flower

Beeee-ware!

The perennials are starting to poke through the ground too, like these hosta plants and live-forever.

Hostas in spring

Hosta shoots

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New growth on Sedum 'Matrona'

Sedum 'Matrona'

Whether it is good or bad, the pond is even showing green plant growth. . .

Pond in spring.

Pond with green plants growing.

This is one of the best parts of the year.  Unfortunately, we don’t have what I’d call spring-like days – moderately warm – for long.  Nope, it gets hot all too quickly.

But for now, it looks like spring!

More Signs Of Spring

March 9, 2010

I’ve talked about the wild birds and peacocks looking for a mate and nesting. But there are also signs of spring from the amphibian and reptile sectors.

In the reptile kingdom, I saw a couple of turtles out sunning on the log in the pond yesterday for the first time this year.

Turtles on log in pond.

In the amphibian sector, the frogs are out too.  But getting a picture of one of them continues to elude me.  I’ve even tried walking along the edge of the pond with the video going, and though you can see a splash in the water or hear a little cheep from time to time, you can’t actually see the frogs.

However, when it comes to the audio, well, for a couple of weeks now I’ve been hearing the “spring peepers.”  I stood down in the bottom pasture beside the bog yesterday and took this little video. It’s not much for looks; it’s the sound that matters.

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Here again, being able to SEE the little critters just doesn’t happen. They hide down in all that vegetation – you can see what I mean from where I zoomed in on it near the end of the video.  I have never been able to spot even one little frog, much less get a picture of it.

For one thing, the minute they hear or feel the vibration of me getting close, they shut up.  For another, I really don’t want to crawl around in that marshy area peering under clumps of weeds, trying to see a frog.  With my luck, I’d come on some kind of water snake!

That in itself might be a little unsettling, but we have a plethora of water moccasins around here, and I really am not keen on a poisonous snake bite.

So I fear the shy little frogs will continue to elude the paparazzi.