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you will never...

Monday, March 27, 2017

...guess what  I discovered in my yard this afternoon. Amazing, as well as baffling and fascinating. I was raking up oak leaves, that pile up in the back of the house. My peeps from Chattanooga get on the roof and sweep/rake/blow all the leaves that fall and pile up in the valleys on the backside of the house. Big piles ready for me to relocate to provide mulch for the new blueberry bushes.

In the process of raking to pile in the barrow, I accidentally uncovered a teeny snake. Don't know what kind it was, so I decided: do nothing. It was small, skinny, about as big around and as long as a wooden pencil, but solid brown. I do not know what kind it is, but that small is usually pretty harmless. It was remarkably feisty: really defensive for something so small. But I guess like a little kitten or a small but aggressive dog - they don't really know how easily they could be stepped on. Mr. No-Shoulders lives to wiggle, hiss, stick out that wee forked tongue another day.

The remarkable thing I found while I was rearranging the oak leaves with my wheelbarrow: a pair of nearly intact deer antlers. I've often thought what a neat thing it would be to randomly walk in the woods and find a discarded antler. I know to find one is pretty rare, as there are lots of small mammals that consume them for the calcium. It is common for many little creatures find the antlers, shed on the forest floor and eat them. A good source of trace elements, they gnaw them like they often do bones they find in the woods.

What is really interesting is that the pair, almost perfectly matching, were inside the fence. I was picking up sticks, windfalls, along with raking and relocating the oak leaves. I know the four foot chain link fence is not a deterrent, as I have seen deer prints in places where the soil is bare after a rain. The fence is not high enough to keep them out if they want to be on the other side. But is was a delightful surprise to find a pair of antlers just lying there in the leaf mulch in my back yard. Probably within fifteen feet of the house. How cool is that?

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