Thursday, July 10, 2008

Among the Lillies

Today started like any other - find something to wear that does not require ironing or specific undergarments and some semi-coordinating sandals, let the birds out for the day, bring the bunny some fresh long grass from the edge of the field. I was headed to my vehicle to roar off, when I noticed the daylillies had begun to bloom on the bank in front of my house.

This bank would be a bear to mow, so we decided early in the game that we weren't going to do so. The first year, I bought half a dozen daylilly bubs and planted them, imagining that they would spread to cover the bank and provide a blooming, erosion resistant and maintenance free blanket over the bank. I got three blooms that year.

The next year, I got 7 or 8 blooms - but clearly this was going to take a lot more encouragement. I planted some more bulbs. The year after that, a friend was widening her driveway and needed to remove a 18" x 20' swath of daylillies from her own yard. I dug them up, cut them back, and planted as many as I could find individual spots for. It was hard to be sure, but I did my best to have a bulb every 10" or so. This is the second summer after that, and I'm really curious to see what kind of volume I get.

So I'm tromping through the open ditch below the bank with my camera, not feeling at all guilty about being a few minutes late for work. I was thinking as I stepped into 10" deep grass that with my luck, I'd step on a snake. Took some pictures, then stepped down the bank a bit and took some more pictures. And I slowly become aware that something . is . tickling . my . foot.

I like snakes - I really do. I think they're beautiful and fascinating and very pleasant to touch, and the reptile house is always on my "must-see" list at the zoo. But I learned as a fairly young kid that if you pick up a snake it will scare him, and if you aren't preventing it by holding him behind the head then he WILL bite - even if it's little pair of pinpricks with only fear behind them.

Anyway, I looked down and noticed I was stepping on the tail of a garter snake, who was frantically beating himself against my sandal and toe trying to squirm away, but who had generously declined to bite me thus far. Awfully civilized of him, all things concerned. I let out a squeek and picked up my foot, and judging by the way he took off I don't think he was injured. But it sure was exciting for a few seconds there.

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