Monthly Archives: June 2012

Snake-sitting

If you’re an Indiana Jones fan, you never forget Indy’s famous quote from the scene in the Well of Souls in Raiders of the Lost Ark. When Indy discovers the floor is covered with slithering snakes, he says to Marion, “Snakes…I hate snakes.”

It’s not an uncommon feeling — most people either hate snakes or find them fascinating. If you’re on the side of those who hate them, you might want to avoid my house right now. We’re snake-sitting a beautiful little orange and yellow corn snake named Zeke.

In a large aquarium in the basement, surrounded by his water dish, a “house” and a layer of sawdust, resides Zeke, the corn snake. His mama and papa nipped off to Fiji to get married and didn’t want to leave him home alone. Naturally, I offered to keep him.

Of course, a few days later, it occurred to me that I’d better check with the hubs to make sure he was okay with Zeke sharing his office space for 10 days. He was — as I’d thought — intrigued by the idea.

On the other hand, Ike didn’t get a say in the matter. In fact, he still hasn’t really figured out what is in that large glass box in the basement. He hasn’t yet tried to peer over the top of the aquarium, nor did he react when Zeke “stood up” to take a look at that funny creature on the other side of his glass wall.

Here’s the thing. Snakes don’t do anything except hide…under the water dish, house or sawdust. It takes a lot of coaxing to convince Zeke not to slither away when I finally uncover him and try to stroke his back.

Once a week he eats, although like many pets, he wasn’t sure he liked his new surroundings so initially refused to even sniff his weekly allotment of pinky mice. Over the next few days, though, he downed six of his usual seven — but only when he knew no one was watching.

I suspect he’ll be glad when his folks return home and whisk him back to his usual place of honor. But I think we’ll miss the little guy. In fact, maybe we’ll inspired to explore the world of herpetology. But not to worry — I draw the line at venomous snakes.

 

 

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Bluffton University Nature Preserve offers change in running route

Runners (and probably walkers) easily get into the rut of covering the same ground day after day — especially early morning runners because routes are limited by the lack of light.  But a vacation and a new set of eyes (and feet) can remind us of what we’re missing in our own neighborhoods.

This is why today’s run took me on a trail I’ve not been on for at least a year, probably longer. My daughter — home for Grandma’s big birthday — reported that she’d run the Bluffton University Nature Preserve, an outdoor education area with eight-acre lake and nature trails.

In addition to discovering some new trails she didn’t remember, she’d also seen a vole and a mama groundhog with her fat babies. That was enough to make me head out there early this morning, while the air was still chilly enough to keep me comfortable.

The nature preserve is about a mile from our house, and just before you reach the drive to the preserve, I noticed lots of climbing pink wild roses. Wonder if someone would mind if I clipped a piece to try rooting? They’re beautiful.

The nature preserve is well-shaded on the path I chose, which winds around the lake and through the woods, back to the Riley Creek and the swinging bridge. I couldn’t pass up the chance to walk across the bridge — running is not advised.

A wave of nostalgia hit me when across the creek, I saw the childhood home of my friend, Karen Kreider. I’d spent many days and nights at that house, exploring the creek in the summer and skating on it in the winter.

While I kept my eyes peeled for groundhogs, I saw none, but I did see a heron in the creek, some geese in the tall grass near the creek, and a deer on the path about five feet ahead of me. He looked at me for a second before taking off down the path, so I followed him and caught another glimpse when he stopped to look back at me. I guess he was hoping I’d give up.

With all of my family rolling in for our mom’s 90th birthday, I’m guessing we’ll be taking that route multiple times over the next few days. It’s a favorite for most of my brothers — also runners/walkers — so it’ll be fun to see what other wildlife we encounter.