Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Three Rattlesnakes in about an hour!!!! Plus the natural pond is done!

Well, we had a wild time on Sunday. We had taken friends out to see our property, as they are interested in buying a lot in the Rimrock Meadows area, for building a small cabin. We arrived late Saturday evening, and started out mid morning, hitting our lot near the Moses Coulee area. There are only two lots sold there, and it is sagebrush mostly, lots of great birds, and a gorgeous view. When we first arrived our friend, (who had forgotten his boots, and only had flip flops on) had a small rattlesnake with three rattles bump his strap on his shoe, as if trying to bite him. Mark had just spooked him, but had not seen him. This little baby had just swallowed a field mouse, whose tail was still sticking out of its mouth. Then we started proceeding with caution.
After scouting out our area, and talking about the adjacent lots we are considering for purchase, we headed down to the creek area, on the Nature Conservancy property that is adjacent to ours. Of course I wanted to check out the bird nesting, see if the Mountain Bluebird has started a second nest in the cliff wall. While circling around, we decided to just do the grassy area, and afterwards I was hoping to take them up into the basalt rocks, where I had gone before, since the view after the climb is spectacular. The grassy trail is what held the last two surprises of this little bit of FUN! We followed the trail around the rock wall, and along the private property borders, to the foot bridge. Judy and I were ahead of the guys, and I was talking about the Lark Sparrow we had just seen. I was going back to get my digiscoping stuff, to get a pic, the lighting was perfect and he was a gorgeous bird.
Then we heard the guys hollar!!!! Rich had almost stepped on another Rattlesnake! It was still small, maybe 2 ft long. So Mark and I picked up sticks that we found, and began walking in front of our guests, and found another one still, just a few feet away from the creek, and this one was about 5.5-6 ft long, Some counted about 8-12 rattles, maybe more. It was a rather sluggish snake and moved slowly. None of these had coiled, but were just moving along, headed to who knows where. After these two I decided NOT to get my equipment. We also did not head to the climbing area, which is where I had originally wanted to start. I am glad we chose NOT to take our Golden Retriever, altho she has had her Rattlesnake shots, if she gets bit, she could be okay, but.........not worth the risk for her.
That evening we decided to head to the Grand Coulee Dam, Mark and I had never seen it. We were heading into an electrical storm, and the flashes of lighting were absolutely beautiful, filling the sky. Upon our return from the Dam, the lightening became more intense, near us, striking much closer. One hit the road just in front of our car, nearly blinding Mark and Rich, who were in the front seat. It was about the same width as our car was. I am wondering now, if the fact we had a plastic carrier on the top of us, may have been a reason we were not struck. Then about 10 minutes later one hit just to the side of us.
THEN the rain fell so hard, we could NOT see the road. In this deluge a huge rock had fallen from a cliff was and landed right in our path. Mark hit it dead on with the passenger front tire, blowing a large hole into the actual wheel. We had to get out of the car, and discovered we were missing the jack handle. But the guys managed with a screwdriver, to remove the tire, and put on the spare.
The next day Mark drove the Subaru into Ephrata and had Les Schwab replace the wheel. They had never seen such a huge hole in a wheel before. The amazing thing is, the tire was not damaged at all.
So aside from a few ticks, and enjoying the birdlife around us, Sunday was perhaps the wildest day in all of our lives.

The funny thing is, when we got home Monday afternoon, Sean, who was just finishing up my natural waterfall and pond, started talking to me about building habitat for garter snakes and salamanders, to help with the slug problem. So at least with the Garter Snakes, I will not have to worry about being bitten. I actually love snakes, and have always wanted to see a Rattlesnake, but had not expected 3 in such a short period of time.

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