Sunday, April 2, 2017

Friendly Snakes, and Not

After a string of rainy days, Mantua seems to birth snakes. Most are harmless.They gravitate to wood piles, waiting to ambush chipmunks or moles (if the foxes don't get the scurrying critters first).
Snakes also climb small trees, so always check above as well as below before you relax in the yard under trees.
Snakes hide under old timbers that edge my garden, tamping down deer netting. Several years ago, a Northern Copperhead snake reclining near the garden gave me a good reason to never, EVER again go outside shoeless. He slithered away after I poked him with a stick--what a pretty rock, I'd been thinking.
My neighbors once discovered a Timber rattlesnake in their backyard near the pool. They caught it and released it in Eakin Park. (Keep your shoes on ALWAYS there!)
It's good to remember that most snakes are harmless, except the two mentioned above.
Fairfax County's website says we are home to a diverse range of reptiles--lizards, snakes, and turtles.
Eighteen species of non-venomous snake inhabit Fairfax County. They are:
• Black ratsnake, Eastern garter snake, Eastern hognose snake, Eastern kingsnake, Eastern milksnake, Eastern ribbon snake, Eastern smooth earthsnake, Eastern worm snake, Mole kingsnake, Northern black racer, Northern brown snake, Northern red-bellied snake, Northern ringneck snake, Northern scarlet snake, Northern water snake, Queen snake, Red cornsnake and Rough green snake.
Two species of venomous snake (mentioned above) inhabit Fairfax County:
• Timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
• Northern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortix mokasen).

Adventures with Lardbutt

Once a friend's kid told my kid that I had a big butt. Which surprised the heck out of me because Terrence's mom's butt was significantly larger than mine.

But hey, for some of us, it just IS. No amount of exercise or dieting or walking will reduce the size of what I've come to call my lardbutt. However, one way to keep things in perspective is to walk or bike, not drive, and to eat at places near home that we can reach on foot.

Mantua is a beautiful neighborhood. You can walk to Nutley Street toward Vienna Metro for Pan Am restaurant gyros and souvlaki; to Mosaic District for restaurants, Target, and the weekend farmer's market; to Fairfax Circle for Artie's restaurant and other places; and up toward Route 236 for Trader Joe's and the post office on Pickett Road.