Two years ago, Bosslady made the pronouncement that all smoking would be done outdoors.
I ain't the only one kicked to the back steps; her husband joins me frequently.
Last year, this was my companion on most days:
There is a large stump hole with three deep holes where roots used to be, and he moved in for a spell.
If I didn't spook him, he would sit in the entrance of the "den" and.............well, he would just sit there. I mean, he's a toad, so........... Once in a while, he would move ever so slightly.
If I was lucky, he'd blink.
There is a set of brick steps right next to the stump hole, and if it's wicked-hot I sit there for the shade. I am about three feet from the hole.
Any sudden moves and Frank became The Flash. When a second toad moved in, I named her Francis. Francis was faster than Frank.
I didn't see ol' Frank this Spring, nor did I ever see Francis, and I made it a point to look for my buds. They were gone.
This is why:
I found Chuck in the weeds by the stump hole and it was a shock to the both of us. I froze and Chuck hauled tail to the woodpile.
I saw his head long enough to see that this snake isn't poisonous----it's a garter snake. About three feet long, and beautifully colored.
Chuck got used to me rather fast, and hangs out on the woodpile in the sunshine. My comings and goings don't seem to bother him a bit. I talk to Chuck just like I did to Frank, and get the same results. Much better than what I get out of my co-workers.
Bosslady is happy to have Chuck on the job for pest control, and when the yard crew came they were told to leave the garter snake alone. I admit I kept an eye on 'em when they were weed whackin' around the wood rack.
They did dispatch a water moccasin in the backyard by the pool pump, and Bossling says that a weed-whacker makes a real mess out of a water moccasin. Good.
I'm not afraid of snakes as a rule, but a poisonous snake has to go. Period.
Me an' Chuck only had one minor run-in when I was runnin' for the truck one day after work.
I swear, I didn't see Chuck coiled up in the dead leaves by the grill, and I don't know if I actually stepped on his tail or not.
Whatever, he "blew" at me and took off. I was afraid I had run him off for good but there he was the next day, layin' on the woodpile.
Chuck has made his den in one of the holes, and I gave up my shady spot to keep this snake where it is. I sit on the other set of steps and that keeps me about five feet away from it.
Did you notice there are TWO garter snakes in the photo?
Yep. I think Chuck is actually a "Charlene".
I can see them clearly from the kitchen window, and I watched the smaller garter snake in action.
He'd come up on her real slow and rub his head on her. And she'd flick him away with her tail.
I've seen the same thing in bars. Two legs or no legs: he puts on his best display of male prowess, and she just looks bored as Hell.
"Go away kid, you bother me."
It looks like a #2 pencil trying to make out with a garden hose, but I give him credit for trying.