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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
My wonderful BIL who has promised to help me in changing my mower blades over a week ago, again let me down. I figured since I was able to lift 20 lbs...I was okay to change them myself. Wow...one was really in bad shape. I sharpen them every few mowing's and was surprised at the deterioration in the last month or so. I put brand new blades on this morning...boy did they cut great. Drs. office has tried to reschedule to the hospital for my sonogram and I said okay as long as it didn't cost me anymore. I may owe as much as 20K for my surgery, so not wanting to give them any more. I hope I can get that figure down somewhat.

As I was testing the blades I stopped by the chicken coop and one of the hens grabbed a "Rough Earth Snake"...what I always called a grass snake growing up. Started a bit of a fight between them. The original finder won...good for her. A couple of others joined in and may have gotten some scraps, but for the most part were interested observers. :D

Blades left.jpg Blades right.jpg Rough Earth Snake.jpg
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Saw a chicken eat a snake once. The snake didn't want to go down, or stay down for that matter, but the next day the chicken was fine and seemed to have won the encounter!
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
The rough earth snake is not much bigger than a large earth worm. I didn't stick around for the final outcome, but the snake was in at least two pieces when I moved on. :D
 

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Howdy JW, I was down your way, Galveston and then SW Houston about ten days ago. Hot, Hot and Humid. Just wanted to add after looking at yer blades, "Gator Blades" seem to last longer than OEM blades. Glad you're on the mend. Just got home from Oklahoma and catching up on my reading here. Take care.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Howdy JW, I was down your way, Galveston and then SW Houston about ten days ago. Hot, Hot and Humid. Just wanted to add after looking at yer blades, "Gator Blades" seem to last longer than OEM blades. Glad you're on the mend. Just got home from Oklahoma and catching up on my reading here. Take care.
I will look for Gator Blade replacements. Thank you. I still have two Daughters in Galveston County and about the only other place I have been other than Houston since the Pandemic. Still have a Daughter in Upstate NY, and Step Daughters in NC, Fl, and San Antonio. Step Son in Florida PH. My wife and I have a lot of catching up to do even though she has visited out of state kids more than I have seem my more local ones. We still need to get together when you come down and I am cleared to shoot.

Good luck and all the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
When it rains it pours....lol.

Threw a belt on my mower. Spent a day fixing it and I set the belt wrong. New belt on the way tomorrow...and a mechanic to help out. Heading to the Range on Friday and I hope it doesn't interfere.
 

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Thanks for pointing that out Mike. The whole reason for the forum. The fence is curled around the open area of the top 1-2 inches and the previous owner put some "spikey/razor" things along there. Not sure if it is enough to keep out all critters, but probably many. Snakes and Raptors seem to be the biggest problems around here from what I am told by my neighbors. I have not fiddled with chickens for many years. My Mom was always the keeper of them. My wife wants to give them a try, but Covid has raised prices and we will probably have to start small once the weather cooperates.
I still have several #3 Victor traps that I can set out around there if need be to try and take care of vermin. I have a Bobcat that frequents the area, so I don't want to accidentally catch him/her. I enjoy watching more than catching if I can.
Best cure for snakes is deploying golf balls. I know it sounds really dumb but it works and you can get 2 dozen for $10 on ebay. Works even faster if you dip them in sardine juice. They go in but they don't come out
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
I have a several fake (wooden) eggs in the coop to help promote laying. Well, my hens decided to create their own areas to lay. I did lose one of the fake eggs awhile back. I have only caught a couple of smallish Western Rat snakes and a really nice Speckled King Snake. I don't mind having them around as they are free rodent control. My girls are pretty regular on when they lay and where, so I usually get the eggs soon after laying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Well...I found a happy Western Rat Snake that had just eaten 2 of my eggs yesterday. As I went to get my phone for a photo, he quickly vamoosed to a weedy area that I keep a small lawn trailer, a large garbage can, some tomato plants, and some other odds and ends. I'm sure he found it as the weeds and grass has grown up making it attractive to mice. I will be cleaning that area up shortly. I also placed a fake wooden egg in the well house where three of my hens like to lay hoping if he eats it it will give him a belly ache and he won't return. As I get close to 140 eggs per month now, I don't mind giving up a few to free rodent control.

After my surgery, I kept having a neighbors Bull showing up at inopportune times. I would just run him off, but when we got a ton of rain, he started leaving bad hoofprints all over the place. Plus...I had grandkids coming to visit and didn't want them to be worried about stepping in cow-**** everywhere.

The owner of the bull, who lived about 1/2 mile away was receptive at first...but when he couldn't catch it quickly, soon put his hands up. The county deputy in charge of livestock in my area brought in a few guys on horseback and after tracking him throught the back of my property, quickly subdued him and I no longer have that problem. Yay.
 

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Good deal in getting the bull out of there. I had one last year that nearly caught me and then very nearly unhorsed one of the wranglers that came in to get him!
Rat snakes aren't bad things unless they creep you out. The Great Basin Gopher Snake (Bull Snakes) found here can become a problem. I have barn swallows under the upstairs eves and the bullsnakes try to climb the log siding to get to them. Last week, a three footer made his way upstairs and was found laying across the shower stall entry. Surprising!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 · (Edited)
Western Rat Snakes are known for their climbing abilities. All snakes can climb under the right conditions, but I've seen big rat snakes go up a brick wall to get to swallows. They are amazing. There are bull snakes in Texas, but I don't believe my part. I had a nice sized Speckled King Snake in the coop a few weeks ago. I don't think they are egg eaters, but I'm sure I have some mice and maybe rats that go after loose feed. I keep everything sealed up except for the feeders themselves. I try to keep only about two days of feed in them to keep it fresh and discourage other critters from coming in. We have some water snakes too, Plain Bellied, Broad Banded and Diamond Back...and of course the Cottonmouth. There are others but those are the only ones I've seen along the Gulf Coast.

With the recent rains we've had we have literally been over-run with the Gulf Coast Toads and I'm surprised I haven't run across any Eastern Hognose snakes. They are one of my favorites. I don't know how many toads I have mowed over, but they seem to be everywhere. Because my mower was down for a bit with a bad belt, I've had to do my last mowing about 1 1/2 inches higher than I normally do, so I'm sure the ones I mowed over were mostly safe. I'll slowly get back to my normal height of 3 3/4 inches in the next week or so. This time of year, I have to mow almost daily to keep up. I usually mow a couple of acres at a time and by the time I'm done it's time to start over. I can probably mow the whole place in a couple of days...but it's hot. And I cover up.
 

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HogNosed snakes were my all time favorite as a kid and had several for several years. Hiss and strike and flare their necks and act the tough guy and then flop over and play SO dead he won't wake up until you leave him alone...then he's gone in a hurry. I think toads are their only food and they have a special tooth in the the back of their mouths to let the defensive air out of a toad like poking a tire. Great 'pets' and totally harmless.
I studied bull snakes down in a remote canyon for about four years. It was a hot springs denning site with plenty of study material. I watched one climb a big Silver Birch tree, all the way to the top branches to a Robin nest. The mamma Robin was having fit and trying to keep the snake out of the nest and got herself caught by the snake. They were 35 feet up and I was watching the show through 10X binocs laying under the tree in deep grass. I watched the snake wrap the bird and the fluttering finally quit and I thought 'now what'. I watched with increasing concern as that five foot snake with a Robin in a half hitch turned loose of the branch he was on and fell through the limbs flipping and flopping and getting closer! He landed in the grass and commenced the long process of getting his lips around a bird five times the size of his head and finally get it swallowed whole. They seem remarkably capable for not having help with arms and things. ;)
 
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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Tying up a few loose ends today today before heading to the Range tomorrow for a couple of days. Will spend the night with one of my daughters and get to spend some quality time with some of the Grandkids Friday night. I have 60 204 to try out and over 100 308. Can't wait. I will probably have enough time to shoot some 410 at skeet. :D

My wife will have to earn her keep taking care of the chickens while I'm gone.

I saw about a 4 foot Rat Snake crossing the road a few hours ago a few 100 yds. from my drive area. It didn't take him log as I'm sure the asphalt was plenty hot.
 
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