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Sunday mornings I linger in and around my bed. Yesterday, as I gazed into the landscape, I noticed what appeared to be a black gasket, in the top of the nandina shrub, just below my window. Yes there was wind yesterday, but a gasket in my shrub??

I grabbed my camera, where I could view through the telephoto lens, and much to my amazement, spotted not a gasket, but a black snake! It appeared small, until I attempted to trap it in a lidded bucket.

Since the nandinas are a thick stand, positioning the bucket proved impossible, as the snake quickly slithered down the branch, and was lost in the day lilies. Damn! I have not had black snakes here in two years—because these reptiles thrive on bird eggs, nestlings, and toads I strive to capture any snake and release them down the road near a stream bed.

This black racer is a small version of former garden reptiles. Although as it made its escape, I realized that it was nearly a yard long and chills walked up my spine—not sure why I react this way. The Eagle Scout who captured my first eight foot racer, coolly pressed its head to the ground, picked up the critter behind its head, and placed it into the bucket. Go Eagle Scouts!

I on the other hand nearly have heart failure when I encounter a snake. I KNOW most of them are beneficial, yet I startle every time, no matter the size. So my summer here at Swallowtail Cottage just upped a notch, knowing that until this racer is captured, my birds and toads are at risk, and so my heart!

Copyright © 2012 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved