I love the weather in autumn, especially when we are blessed with high temperatures and warm breezes. There’s something about the air in September that is so appealing. It not only feels good but smells great as well.
Then there’s the soothing sound of swathers and combines working out in the fields well into late evening accompanied by the melancholy honking of the geese flying overhead. I even love the hard work of hauling in the garden produce before a hard frost hits. There’s something about harvesting the fruits of your labour that speaks to anyone raised on the prairies. But before I start over-romanticizing this season, I must admit that there is one aspect about autumn that I dislike, even abhor!
Now some of you are probably thinking that this has something to do with the hint of winter right around the corner, but you would be wrong. My displeasure can be summed up in one word – snakes! Those creepy, crawly critters are starting their annual trek to their winter sanctuaries and they seem to be everywhere, but most noticeably on the highways, grid roads and in the barnyard.
At this time of the year I am extra-vigilant when I head out to the garden lest I step on one of these intruders hiding in the grass. But imagine my surprise one day when I was returning from the garden only to find a big, fat yellow and green garter snake sunning itself on our doorstep. That was too close for comfort for me! So I grabbed the hoe and proceeded to slice and dice.
With each whack of the hoe, I let out a sound much like the grunts emitted by tennis stars Venus Williams or Maria Sharapova each time they hit the ball. (I wish I could say my form was as graceful, but I probably looked more like some overzealous carnival goer playing Whac-A-Mole.) Although I got rid of the unwelcomed guest, the cleanup job was even more disgusting than the execution.
When I am driving and I happen to see a snake on our driveway, I make sure to steer in that direction to try and run it down. I have been known to back up and take two or three runs at the reptile to ensure its demise. Thank goodness we live on the farm so no observant neighbours can question my sanity or my driving practices.
Such actions are not my preferred methods of ridding myself of these creatures. I much prefer if they go on their merry way and stay out of mine. If they are out of sight, then they are out of mind. But if our paths do cross, then I don’t shy away from sending them to that big snake pit in the sky. After all, I don’t want to suffer the same fate as one family near Regina last fall whose basement was invaded by hundreds of snakes.
Now before PETA or some other animal rights group decides to start writing me nasty letters or picketing outside our farm gate, let me just say that the garter snake population has not been adversely affected by my actions. Not one bit! In fact, the prolific reproductive capabilities of this species continues and they seem to be more abundant than ever.
So I will continue to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and all that autumn has to offer, but as I do so I will also keep one eye on my immediate surroundings to be sure nothing is slithering by me. (I shudder even as I write this.)