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Wet Wet Wet

2nd of November 2000

As I write these notes the rain is lashing down yet again and looking out of the patio windows I can see 8 soggy sheep busily grazing away, quite impervious to the conditions. If only I had such a good waterproof coat! On Sunday the 3 lambs are off to the butcher, then their mums will get 6 weeks rest before Jake visits them and the whole process starts again.
At this time of year our grass never seems to dry out as we are so sheltered from the wind and, as I hate wearing wellingtons, I always seem to have wet feet and socks. But our grass snakes will be enjoying it, especially as we do get some sunny days before their long winter hibernation. We have had more sitings of them this year than ever before and a neighbour who came to pick beans while we were away also saw one. Our best view was right against the bungalow on the terrace! I was just taking orders for afternoon tea when I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye in the planting hole of a jasmine. Seeing that it had been spotted, the snake slid along the bottom of the wall and around the corner to a water butt. As we gathered round for a closer look, the poor thing decided to make a dash for a safe spot and again shot off along the edge of the bungalow until it reached the porch wall where a stone bust of Joan of Arc rests in a small border. It was able to coil itself right under the bust and then just flicked its tongue out tasting the air for signs of danger. Snakes are quite deaf but their tongues are exceedingly sensitive and they are also aware of even the slightest vibration. By the time you read this they will be safely tucked away for their winter hibernation, either in one of my compost heaps or in one of our numerous wood stacks. We are now quite sure there are several in the garden as the one by the bungalow was very slender, whereas the one we have seen in the vegetable garden was almost too thick to go through the fruit cage netting. It will be interesting to see if we get the same number of frogs as usual in the spring as they make up the greater part of a grass snakes diet.

This page is edited by Tony

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