This weekend our gardening chores included some weeding, routing the beans and peas so they would climb properly, adding more tomato cages, and transplanting the volunteer tomatoes and tomatillos to a spot where they would have more room. Some of our tomato plants are now two meters tall and it’s not even July yet, and all have set fruit, both hopeful signs of a good harvest to come.
The cages were three and five feet tall, and several plants have already gone a foot or more above, so Michael made some more cages and stacked them on top.
He used some binder clips to hold the layers of tomato cages together. We tend to Macgyver things a bit.
After checking out all the tomatoes I went to check on the peas and beans. Our snow pea plants had been eaten again, very sad since this was our second attempt to grow them this spring and they had some beautiful little pods hanging from them a few days ago. We think chipmunks snuck through the rabbit fence and under the protective netting and had a little feast. After I finished taking photos I stepped back over the rabbit fence, turned back for one last look, and that’s when I saw this.
My foot had been right next to it just moments ago. I hate snakes. They send shivers up my spine and elicit all sorts of hand flapping and verbal outbursts from me. I know, I’m a wuss. I lost my cool and yelled, “Snake!” Then I calmed down and started snapping photos. Of course I couldn’t identify it because herpetology is not my forte, so I had no idea what kind of snake it was. Michael calmly walked over with the potato fork, ready to do some damage in my defense if it turned out to be a venomous snake.
Michael gently poked the snake, and when it didn’t move we realized it was entangled in the netting we had put over the garden to protect our produce from the bunnies and chipmunks. Michael carefully used the potato fork to pick up the snake to see if it was a venomous type, which it wasn’t. It was a harmless Common Ribbonsnake, a type of garter snake, but at the time it might as well have been something deadly for all I knew. (I learned later that our area has two types of venomous snakes, the Eastern Copperhead and the Timber Rattlesnake.) With heavy gloves on his hands, Michael picked up the snake and attempted to untangle the creature.
No way would I have picked it up, but Michael used to keep bees, so creepy crawling or flying creatures don’t bother him. The snake was thoroughly entangled and could barely wriggle as Michael tried to free it. He had to cut through the netting a snip at a time, carefully avoiding the snake’s skin.
After about 10 minutes, Michael had cut away all of the netting and he freed the 60 cm (2 foot) snake into the wild area behind our house. It slithered away quickly and I was glad to see it go.