Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Texas Wildlife

I realize that this entry will probably ensure some of you never come visit me. All I can say is, I will miss you! If you do manage to make it here, I promise to do my best to shield you from whatever you don't want to see, feel or know about. But today, I simply must share the adventures of country living here in Texas, where everything really is bigger.

I would say I have spent a total of about 8 weeks in this house, covering 2 summers, early fall, and early winter, before coming here to live. In that time I have encountered my share of wildlife, but there seems to be something different about this year. In the first 24 hours I was here, I got intimately close with the wildlife in ways I had not before! The first evening I went out to the pool to collect a water cup I had forgotten half an hour earlier; when I came back inside I thought I felt a hair hanging on my arm. Before I could find it, Justin gave me a horrified look and reached out for something on my shoulder, then threw it quickly to the ground. Turns out I had collected a spider rider at the pool, and although harmless it was large and green. I don't mind them on their webs but not on my shoulder!

A little later I decided there were a couple of boxes I didn't want exposed to the bug population in the outer garage. I grabbed my sewing machine box and carried it inside. After putting it down in my closet and making space for it, I turned to pick it up and saw a scorpion stowaway sitting on the top of the box! It was a tiny thing, about the size of the first knuckle on my pinkie, but it had already moved into my sewing machine box and was a little put out at the change of scenery. Of course finding it in my closet was unnerving.

The next morning we were all lounging in the pool when I reached out to pick a blade of grass out of the water and thought it didn't quite look like grass... Upon closer investigation, I realized it looked more like a nightcrawler (worm), no make that... an 8” snake?! My already elevated adrenaline level propelled me to haul the kids out of the water and jump out myself before asking any more questions. Later I discovered it was simply a garden snake that had fallen in the water. I learned that day that snakes with blunt noses are generally harmless, and also that there is a picture map of poisonous Texas snakes in the house.

I don't think I will soon forget the adventure of my first day as a Texas resident. The rest of the wildlife I have seen has been at a more comfortable distance. Other than the scorpions and the widow spiders, I do intend to enjoy what wildlife I see, as long as it stays off my shoulder, out of my boxes, and definitely out of my swimming water!

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