Tuesday, October 02, 2007

"There's a Snake in My Car!" and Gourds

After about ten days, I managed to catch the snake that had gotten into my car. It started when I made two trips hauling limbs to the local site where the city shreds tree limbs into wood chips. My wife had bundled together some of the tree limbs earlier in the week. When I finally hauled them away in the trunk of my Toyota, enough time had elapsed for a snake to make itself at home among the limbs. I didn’t become aware of the snake until a couple of days later when I opened the driver’s door and saw what looked like a black shoelace on the floor near the pedals. When I got closer, it slithered into the wiring below the dash before I could catch it.

Initially, I thought that pulling the car out of the garage and parking it outside would cause the snake to seek the sunlight and would make it easy to catch. That ploy didn’t work. I ended up leaving the car in the garage while occasionally shining in a flashlight to see whether the snake was visible. I had concocted a plan of getting the snake into a plastic bag with a gloved hand before releasing the snake in the yard. After days of not seeing any sign of the snake, I began to think it was safe to use my car again. As I was about to get inside, I shined the flashlight inside once again and saw the snake react to the light from its bed in the back seat. Much more sluggish this time, the snake didn’t react as fast when I scooped it up and placed it in the plastic bag. It also didn’t move very fast after I shook out the bag below the magnolia in the side yard. Apparently, it hadn’t found much to eat during its imprisonment and was weak from hunger. Although I have tried to identify the snake, I haven’t had any luck as of yet. It was dark green with flecks of gold mixed within the green. We have about two or three in the yard and see them usually when mowing. I’m hoping that there aren’t any more snakes in my car.

I’m enclosing a few pictures of pumpkins and other seasonal squash. One thing my mother misses from this country is pumpkin. None of the stores in Ireland carry cans of pumpkin. Apparently, the Irish haven’t discovered how wonderful pumpkin can taste. The recipe for pumpkin pie that I use doesn’t require baking; instead, the pumpkin is mixed with gelatin, evaporated milk, butter, and cinnamon and other spices and is refrigerated until it solidifies. I find that adding the spices separately results in a better flavor than using pumpkin spice. This pie is tasty enough to have for breakfast on the morning after Thanksgiving, for example.

The gourds in the last two pictures, my wife says, are used for birdhouses. Maybe I should have bought one.