Friday, 28 September 2012

snakes alive!

Look what I found lurking in my chicken coop today? A 1.8m EASTERN BROWN SNAKE (pseudonaja textilis) - The eastern brown snake is considered to be the second most venomous terrestrial snake, making it one of the most deadliest snakes in the world!

While I have no love for these critters on the whole, I have a very, very strong aversion to them being 'in my space', and today was no exception. The brown was just a little too close for my liking, and as you can see from the small guage wire on the run that it managed to constrict its body and force its way into the run. This is a first for us. In the five years we've lived here, the only time I've spotted a brown is when DH lifted a rock to disclose a baby brown curled up underneath - that's it! Surrounded as we are by neighbors who are always spotting browns on their properties, and some who've even had dogs bitten by browns, I've constantly marveled at how we've managed to evade an invasion throughout the years. That is, until today.

You may be wondering how we discovered the snake was near the house? DH was working in his office when an awful commotion broke out amongst the chickens, and he decided to go and investigate. The last time we heard them causing such a commotion, it turned out that there was a fox on the drive, in broad daylight - just waiting his chance to jump them! Being very attached to our chooks as we are, we were never going to let this pass without investigation. Thank goodness we did! DH, at first sighting, thought it was a carpet python trying to squeeze his way in, but when I got closer I realized it was my biggest nightmare come true - an eastern brown!!! Now, we get lots of carpet pythons around here and they are generally very welcome down in our shed, away from the house. I have two cats who lie around under the shrubbery and on the drive every day, so as a rule of thumb the red carpet (excuse the pun!) does NOT extend to the pythons, carpet or otherwise, around the home front, evuh!

This does not apply to some lesser species. Somehow we seem to attract our fair share of 'snakelies' every season, particularly the juvenile ones. During breeding season I have spotted up to two green tree snakes at any given time, holing up on the woodwork frame over our front doorway. Being of a non-venemous, non-threatening species, we tend to ignore them and let them feast off the insect life building up around the doorway. Actually (incredibly) they're so darn cute - especially first thing in the morning when we open the door and see their little heads, and enormous eyes, peeping down at us from their corner hidey-hole! Hard as it is to believe, they are quite curious about the comings-and-goings of us two-legged species throughout the day, and mean us no harm. Not hard to see why visitors are few and far between these days! ;-) A couple of times brown tree snakes have come a-visiting too, but they're not as welcome around here. Like their green counterparts, they seem to have a fascination for our front door and deck, but uh-uh, this one's a bird lover, and is listed as two flags on the poison scale. So, no way. Out in the back yard lies another cutie - the yellow-faced whip snake. Known as the 'greyhound of the snake world', it's super fast and would rather beat a hasty retreat than look for a fight. Listed as being two flags on the poison scale (an Eastern Brown is three flags), and potentially dangerous to small children, neither the dogs nor us have ever been bitten! They are slender and get up to around 1m in length, but they're non-threatening and easy to live with.

This post was meant to be a 'moan', but as you can see it's turned out to be me extolling the virtues of these amazing critters of the bush! To co-exist and survive alongside each other, there has to be a very large and healthy dose of respect. We will never be friends, but we needn't be enemies. Ignorance on both sides comes with a heavy price-tag!

DH is right now snake-proofing the coop! Yessss!

Are there any 'nasties' lurking in your neighborhood? Let's share.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

i just don't get it!

Do you ever get the feeling that technology is passing you by? Well for me, anyways, last night was one of those nights. Here I was, excited to be heralding my long-awaited return to the "pen", instead of which it very nearly ended with me kissing goodbye to the joys of Blogger! The evening started with me brainstorming (am I still allowed to call it that?) and navigating the language of HTML coding with my step-son, Nick. The computer boffins - or geeks - call it a language; I call it gobbledygook because frankly, it's downright impossible to read, let alone understand, for technophobics like me! In other words, totally meaningless, head-scratching stuff I'd rather not have to deal with. If this is what updating signatures is all about, then I'm all for kicking it into cyberspace! Seriously. Note to self: If something ain't broke, don't fix it! As if....haha. Come on guys, all this aggro for what? Oh blog....the very same one I'd neglected to update for five months! Coincidentally, FIVE long hours later, with the somewhat dubious aid of Skype, we were still at it, trying to embed my newbie signature into my last post! Check it out - it's still not there! It got me thinking that maybe, back in the day....April to be more accurate....I must've been some sort of genius (not!) because guess who managed to conquer the beast and get it right all by herself? Place high-five here and proceed to checkout, please. So, it begs the question of what went wrong last night? I seriously don't know. Just another mystifying trip down techno lane. The plan was to pull my little blog into the twenty-first century and make it cool - slightly achievable I felt, following close on the minor success I had earlier on at editing my new - and improved - signature on the bottom of my Welcome post. Or so I thought. Nothing is ever as it seems. When I clicked the Update button, I kept getting the oh-so-frustrating pop-up box that told me if I clicked OK, my work would be lost! That left me two options to choose from - OK or Cancel - both seriously, utterly useless choices, imho. Am I the only one who thinks the system is flawed?

Oh, I nearly forgot to ask if anyone has had a problem with changing the color of post titles?? I spent most of the day trying to figure out how I did it when I set up my blog. After much tweaking and shrieking, I conclude that this little bunny must've been a very clever bunny on the day! What do you think? Take another peek at today's title and you'll see what I mean. It's a total different shade of red from the others - except for my Welcome post title which sports the same color red as today's post. What's happening here, folks?

I'm hoping that if I shout loud enough, someone will jump right in and help me unravel the mysteries of HTML - giving me a gleam of hope for the rest of my blog. So, to all my blogging friends out there, I seriously need your help in de-mystifying this very useful tool which I don't plan on using too often - if I can help it.

Share with me your joys or woes of understanding blogger-speak.