It was so cold and windy here today that I thought I'd move ahead a few months. It's August. It's a hot, humid and very lazy afternoon with the sun shining brightly high in the sky.
I was meandering around the yard with the dogs and suddenly I spotted it. There, sunning itself on one of the railroad ties that crosses the creek, was a big fat snake. A very long snake with a diamond shaped head and markings along it's body. Now normally I would have just turned and walked the other way but I had been warned by my neighbors about Copperheads. They could definitely do some damage when they bite.
Back then, I was still learning about the snakes that frequent Virginia, let alone the Hollow. I certainly didn't want Copper to try and tangle with it so I called the dogs and we walked hurriedly back down to the house. They had been sniffing around the barn and hadn't even spotted it yet which was a good thing.
I knocked on the family room glass doors and signaled Joe to come outside. I told him what I had seen and he grabbed one of the shovels. Heading up along the the creek, he was on one side while I walked the other. I had put the dogs in the house. On the way up, I told him that I thought it was a Copperhead.
Joe spotted the snake and nodded. My suspicions were right. He decided to approach it from the rear since I was on the opposite side of the creek, distracting it. He did not want to place his foot on the railroad tie that crosses the creek. That would startle the snake. So instead, he stepped down onto the bank of the creek approaching from that angle. Slowly he raised the shovel with his arms then thrust them downward and the spade hit the snake along it's spine. It wriggled, writhed and squirmed.
What happened next was something that neither one of us expected.
to be continued...