Rocket Science and Copperhead Snakes

From Mrs. Cog's Corner

I have come to the conclusion that successfully growing your own food has little to do with IQ points. This is just further confirmation that everything I once rated as a valid measure of my competence only works in life within very select settings. Surviving outside the urban jungle is not one of those places where it matters all that much.

While it may be necessary to have land in order to grow a garden, making something edible grow might as well be rocket science or brain surgery to someone who has never done it before. I get the distinct impression that a boatload of outdoorsie common sense is what's called for. And an important note to anyone living in the 'burbs' who thinks that green lawn outside can easily be converted into a growing machine: LOL.

Last week in between sinking fence posts and writing articles, Cog tilled the old garden (inside the new garden perimeter) for me. This was an area with several small garden beds surrounded by a grassy lawn which we kept cut last summer. Turning the lawn for the first time with the monster Husqvarna rear tine tiller was hard enough work. He came back through and turned it again a few days later.

May 8 2014 plantingWhat this left me with was a dry top layer of sandy reddish clay with clumps of our former yard turned under the dirt. Mixed in with those grassy lumps of grass and root was a moist sticky loam with small rocks and big worms. That was a good sign. I tested the soil and the pH was a solid 7 neutral. Not too acidic, not too alkaline. I'll take it.

As I planted over the past few days, each area had to be hand cultivated and raked, removing the largest clumps as I went. The cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower were planted, second only to the radishes and onions. Next came the tomatoes, six different varieties. Then the cucumbers, both pickling and long green varieties. Don't forget the green peppers. Finally, a patch of zucchini went in. I find the garden incredibly peaceful, often working barefoot in the cool soil.

Mrs Cog in Garden

We are forecast to receive two days of sunshine followed by three days of storms. But they are almost never correct up here. Even when our neighbors just down the road receive everything the weathermen predicted, out here on the very edge of the mountain we have our own micro-climate, and it almost always is doing something different. Our growing season is an entire week to ten days behind the lady who owns the local greenhouse, and she is only a half mile away as the crow flies.

A few local friends were up on our property scoping out the frequently visiting group of wild turkeys this morning. Later in the day Cog got a text from them that no turkeys had been spotted, but they did kill a copperhead in our back yard. Yuck!

I Googled getting bit by one and there is incredible pain involved. I'm rethinking the whole "barefoot whenever I can be" policy I have adopted thus far.

copperhead By the way another 10-12 inches of the snake, the business end, is hidden under the straw in the picture above.

5 thoughts on “Rocket Science and Copperhead Snakes”

  1. When our kids were young we often walked to the mailbox in the evening as family interaction time ( considering it’s 2 miles away down a steep hill, we consider it an honor to claim we walk to the mailbox for exercise). My youngest insisted she must do this barefoot and because I was getting into “grounding” I heartily approved. Once as she looked back at me answering a question, Mr slammed her hard to the ground. Screaming in protest suddenly gave way to relief when she saw the baby coiled rattler directly in her path. These are what we fear most. They strike quickly, impulsively and inject all their venom. We decided grounding must be done during mid day heat (when no snake would venture out) and leave mornings and evenings as Respect Realities of the Natural Environment Where We Live time.


  2. Looks like an Eastern Milk Snake. Harmless except to rodents. I hate snakes so we strike an uneasy truce with them, usually.
    It is true that in our area we have a lot of copperheads. They are more dangerous than rattlesnakes because they don’t give any warning. Did I mention that I hate snakes?

  3. Red touch black is a friend of Jack, red touches yellow will kill a fellow. An old Texas saying to teach children the difference between the deadly coral snake and the human benign other kind.

Leave a Reply

Thoughts From Cognitive Dissonance Ψ ψ