Sunday, May 24, 2009

AZ adventures

Sunday after the NRA Annual Meeting and 2A Blogbash, my cousin Colleen picked me up and brought me back to her house for a few days of family and fun. We decided that we'd like to soak in the hot tub and have a couple of adult beverages. Walking in the Phoenix heat for 3 days had taken a bit of a toll on me and I really needed a chance to relax.

So I put on my bikini and wandered out onto the patio to take some photos. The sun was just beginning to slip behind the mountains and the sky had faded to pastel...

Just then Colleen started yelling, "Get in the house! Get in the house!"

I got.*

While slipping inside the door as quickly as I could, I had heard an ominous sound - rattlesnake!

(coiling up to strike)
One of my cousin's teenaged daughters was instructed to go get the gun loaded with snakeshot and Colleen was already on the phone with her husband Arthur, who was pleading with her not to shoot the snake on the expensive patio tile. The gun was handed to me with a warning: "Don't shoot a hole in my f*cking ceiling!" But there was no chance of that - I had never been more aware of trigger discipline in my life. That finger was indexed and not going anywhere.

It was bit of a crazy scene. One rattlesnake, two spastic dogs, and four women in bikinis - one on the cell phone, one taking photos, another peering through the glass patio doors and me, holding a loaded pistol. Just as I started to feel disappointed that the snake was on the patio tile, Arthur arrived with a shovel. It was a short but fierce battle...

(the tile survived, the snake did not)

Arthur is an Arizona native and it was clear that this was not his first go-round with a rattlesnake. The head was removed in short order but here's the scary keeps trying to bite you even after it's been decapitated. I started thinking, "Ack! Zombie snake! Head shots!" but Arthur quickly took care of that, obliterating that nasty thing with the back of the shovel.

(zombie snake head, pre-smoosh)

The rattle was chopped off** as my souvenir, the still slithering carcass was hauled away and I finally, blessedly, got my Sonoran sunset.

(view from the hot tub)

*When someone I trust is shouting at me out of the blue like that, and in that tone of voice, it's got to be pretty important. I figure I'll just follow orders and figure out what happened later.

** hopefully, the next rattlesnake, I'll be able to get the skin. (and maybe eat the meat, too)


Joseph said...

Four women in bikinis, and we get shots of a squashed snake??? ;)

Sounds like you did well, Breda, along with everyone else. Glad all of you are ok!!

(Snakes freak out a lot of people, including men. For me, it's spiders and cockroaches.

Jenny said...

Had a teacher once that told of being on a trail, when they came up on a rattlesnake unexpected like. Shot the thing, definitely VERY DEAD, and teach's buddy picked it up by the tail to carry it back to camp.... whereupon the snake corpse promptly looped back and bit his arm.

Then there was the decapitated 'gator going "" smacking at the skinnin' knife with his little clawed hands

Reptilia is just freaky weird.

Hypnagogue said...

An illustration of the First Law of the American West: if you sit still long enough, something will try to eat you. The desert looks devoid of life, but that's just because desert life is always quietly sneaking up behind you, well armed and expertly camoflaged.

But it's better than mosquitos.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I got the skin, the rattle, and rattlesnake fritters with a honey-mustard sauce.

Them thar western diamondbacks are good eatin'!


John the Texaner said...

Glad to see I'm not the only one disappointed by not getting any Breda bikini photos! ;)

Sounds like you had a fun time! At least you were in the desert and not a marsh or lake area. Rattlesnakes at least give a rattle warning, Water Moccasins have no such mechanism. Fortunately, they tend to try and flee unless absolutely cornered or suddenly surprised, so you're less likely to find yourself in a life-threatening encounter with one.

Bob said...

That little snake would have made a nice hatband. You can buy tanning solution for reptiles at any Tandy Leather shop, or even use car antifreeze. If you get a big enough snake you can even make yourself a belt, although you will need to sew it to a leather backing, since snake skin by itself isn't sturdy enough to wear as a belt by itself.

Old NFO said...

You're just having ALL kinds of excitement on this trip aren't you??? Nice pics though :-)

BobG said...

Not real big, but it would have made a good snack.

Wai said...

Should have made rattlesnake chili.

Mad Saint Jack said...

Rattlesnakes seem to be becoming a meme. I've seen three posts in the last two days, Farm Dad and Phlegmfatale being the others.


Which do you hate more Rattlesnakes or the TSA?

doubletrouble said...

I'm with Joseph & John here...
this post is useless without photos (of bikini clad ladies). 8^)

Good on ya though for maintaining the trigger discipline.

If you end up with a cured skin, let me know & the Lady of the the house (leather girl) can stitch it to a belt.

Anonymous said...

Rattlesnake is good eating. It tastes like cobra.

§_Yos@h_§ said...

Yaiks! I'm really afraid of worms especially snakes. Take care next time.

skipelec said...

Gotta real nice hatband made out of Western Diamondback from under my truck, in a parking lot, in San Diego. Decapitated with a shovel, chucked the head into a canyon, sucker was still moving when I put it on my loading bench three hours later.
About halfway into opening up to skin I'm thinkin' 'what if this is a pregnant chick?' No movement inside, 'cept a partial mouse.
Scraped, pinned into a board, salted, sunned, neatsfooted, trimmed.
Looks good on my black 4x Stetson.

ditto said...

Great story Breda!
It beats mine all to hell.
I was burning some brush yesterday and uncovered a 2 foot garter snake. I just chased it away with a twig.
I am not afraid of snakes and have had several as pets.
All have a purpose so I live and let live as long as I am not threatened.

BTW, Water Moccasians will NOT run away from you. They are fearless and curious often trying to come into your boat as you float by.
I have seen them drop into boats from trees in South Carolina.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm going out on a limb. Rattlesnakes are not all bad, and not just because they are edible and make cool hat-bands or belts. Rattlers help keep the vermin down (mice, rats). We have a catch and relocate policy here, unless there are small children.

og said...

Rattlers are protected a lot of places. Some state DNR departments will relocate them to places where they're "needed".

As far as catching and eating, a C02 fire extinguisher will make them very lethargic and easy to bag. A piece of conduit and a length of aircraft cable make a good loop, which makes it safer to get to them. Taste good.

me, I'd rather leave them alone. No particular desire to see another one as long as i live, and that goes for mambas and kraits too.

TrueBlueSam said...

Cracked corn instead of lead shot makes a good snake/rodent load for using around high value backdrops. Dried peas would probably work ok, too.

John the Texaner said...

Mad Saint Jack: and then there was the one from Lawdog at the beginning of the month. It's surely rattler season!

John the Texaner said...

ditto: That's certainly not how they act here. They're pretty wary of people, and all the ones I've encountered take it upon themselves to leave rather than threaten me.

Wikipedia has described them as unlikely to attack, choosing defensive posturing or simply fleeing, and weren't likely to attack unless an attempt was made to pick them up. It references a study by the University of Georgia done in 2002 for its data. This reflects my experience with them and anecdotal evidence from acquaintances of mine.

ditto said...

John,I can only attest to what I have seen myself. Years of hunting and fishing the intercoastal waterways and back waters of S.C. have let me observe what they act like. I have no other experience than that. I have had to flip several out of my boat, mostly in the summer time.

salamandertales said...

"One rattlesnake, two spastic dogs, and four women in bikinis - one on the cell phone, one taking photos, another peering through the glass patio doors and me, holding a loaded pistol."

Sounds like my kind of party!


Crotalus said...

Me, I would have caught and released it one way or another, if I could do so safely, although I have killed and eaten them. They do taste good. But I generally like snakes of all kinds, including the venomous ones. I do, however, recognize the danger the venomous ones present.

BTW, did it do its interpretation of "Don't Tread on Me", like the Gadsden Flag?

And, how do you know that rattlesnake tastes like cobra? Have you eaten them both?