It feels like a deep rumble in the belly of the earth. Roaring through the skies like it came right out of the ground, a fat belch set free to shake the darkness in the skies. The churning light, pulsing within its thundercloud womb, burning to strike trees from root — the shift and boil and release.
That rumbling billow cannot be simply the shifting of air. That sound that brings me to melancholy depth, inner cogs grinding away, time anchoring to emotion. A soul sitting still is moved by these sounds. Now, the rain. Paced and steady she is carried in on the bowling thunder that unearths me. I imbibeenergy.
I am jolted. The summer storm alights with all her fury, unleashed on thirsty ground and earth-clinging trees, bending in the throes of her gusts. Dripping patter hammers the roof, drums out the monotony of a day too long and a night too short. She is unleashed, a great pendulum of ferity, flogging the night sky, and I am unbound. My inviolable spirit — reborn, a fat baby slapped again and again.
My name is Christina. I am a poet. :::i paint with words:::
Christina Ward is an accomplished poet, aspiring author, and columnist for the Observer News Enterprise newspaper. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Catawba College in Environmental Science which greatly influences her work. She also studied creative writing and English at Catawba. Her poetry has been published in the Cameo print literary magazine, the Arrowhead print literary magazine, Vita Brevis Poetry Magazine, and in Wolff Poetry Literary Magazine.
I love wrangling the snakes away from our chicken pens. (Although I don’t like them being there.) This is our first snake this season which is pretty unusual. I thought I’d share the story, the video, and the pictures here for you!
We have three chicken pens and in one of the pens are our silkies.
This morning Robbie (my S.O. for those of you who haven’t read about him yet — he’s kind of a superhero 🙂 went out to feed the silkies and discovered a 5–6 ft black rat snake in the pen. Snakes eat the eggs and any baby chicks they can get. They must be removed from the pens immediately.
We have a very strict “no kill” snake policy and only break it if there is no other alternative.
We’ve killed snakes only twice — once when a black snake (thicker-bodied and stronger than the black racers) had the head of one of my favorite silkie hens in its mouth. The silkie’s name was Prudence and she was one of the two first silkies we ever had. We were too late and Prudence’s life was lost. That was the only time we’ve killed a non-venomous snake.
The other kill was a copperhead snake that was inside of our “big girl” pen (the pen with our standard-sized laying hens) and since Robbie was out of town at the time, I was left to handle the snake alone. It was a small copperhead, orange-diamonded and beautiful.
I know it’s weird but copperheads are my favorite — they have the most colorful, beautiful pattern.
I hated that we killed this snake and to this day it does not sit well with me. (We do not have health insurance and I thought it simply too risky to try to relocate this venomous snake.) My son arrived home shortly after I discovered the coiled visitor and he was able to help me ‘take care” of the situation.
We have probably relocated in excess of 20 snakes on our journey as chicken parents and before Robbie came along and started “protecting” me a bit too much when the snakes come around — I was the family snake handler. They called me. I showed up. I have relocated many snakes!
It is always a huge shock to find a snake in the pens. No matter how snake-friendly you are, it is a blow to your nerves. This morning Robbie’s heart was racing as he ran into the house yelling basically for “all hands on deck” we have a large snake.
All four of us ran out the door.
This was the view as we all arrived, one with a rake (for pinning the head or pulling) and one with a laundry bag, and Robbie and I donning our gloves.
Meet Icy, our very brave momma hen. She is a white, bantam silkie, and she is my prized hen. She, as you can see is very brave, and will not be moved off of her clutch of hatch-ready eggs. This is an older snake, who has most likely weighed the risk-reward options and decided to wait her out. It would have been a very long stand-off.
Chicken mommas are very brave. They will die to protect their young — as the roosters will die to protect their hens.
I have seen roosters fight off things twice their size but for some reason they do not step in when it comes to snakes.
Icy sat firm.
Robbie refused my first offer to drag it out by the tail and let him get ahold of the head. He opted for the drag-and-toss method, slinging the huge thing through the air and into the grass.
This prompted a frenzy of activity.
The snake landed in the grass and immediately fled in my direction. I was grabbing at it. Robbie was grabbing at it. Abby was chasing it with the laundry bag.
Alex pinned the head with the rake (one of those retractible bendy rakes) and I began shoving the snake’s writhing body into the bag. The head broke free.
Robbie yells for me to back up and I am arguing that “I am fine baby, it can’t hurt me.”
The snake wriggles free and we chase it a few more times before Robbie got its head beneath his shoe. The snake wrapped its body around Robbie’s leg, all the way to his lower stomach! That thing was long!
Robbie is exclaiming “This is not cool. This is not cool!”
I get the bag and again I am wrangling the body off of Robbie’s leg and into the bag. Robbie stoops to pull the draw string and released the snake’s head. Luckily it withdrew putting its entire self now into the bag. Draw string pulled.
I tied the string tightly around the top of the bag while Robbie held the bag.
Robbie and I took the snake to an area a few miles from our home where there are industrial buildings but no nearby homes that may have chickens. There is a large forested area there where we chose for the release.
*Correction — I do believe now that it was a black rat snake and not a racer — the underbelly was black. It was just very shiny and that threw me off.
Sorry if the video is sideways…I am SO not the tech wizard. But you can see a successful release. (I did not show myself in any pictures or in the video because I am having this crazy dental issue — you can tell in my talking that my mouth is swollen. But at the time of this video the pain wasn’t too bad, thank goodness. Adrenaline is also a factor there. See here and here for more info on that.)
And when we returned home to check on Icy…we found she IS at hatch time!
So Icy has one baby and there are a pile of eggs there waiting to hatch. I’ll add more pictures of the babies to this post as they hatch out and begin their explorations of the world.
Now if you will excuse me…I need to go and ice my back. I am getting too old for this.
This morning I awoke to the terrible pain I’ve been dealing with the last few weeks and decided there just weren’t enough “soft” foods in the house.
(If you need to catch up on “why the pain?” you can do that here.)
At the store, my jaw clenched and dogged determination to get sustenance, I gathered in my cart the crucial supplies for survival when chewing is difficult: Spaghettios, Ravioli, soups, low-sodium broth for making egg drop soup (we have chickens after all,) the softest baked chips I could find (because I am quite addicted to Baked Lays) and my favorite Ranch dip.
How are you today ma’am?
I’m doing great, thank you.
The lie slid so easily from my tongue, although getting past my crooked, pursed lips it came out in a bit of a slur.
The weather was beautiful but it was hard to concentrate on that. I hauled myself and the few bags of groceries home. Too spent to make anything, I settled on the chips, the dip, and to plop myself back in front of the 37 Medium tabs of articles I had opened on the laptop to read.
He is pretty certain that he is a celebrity cat, although the Paparazzi has never come calling. He’d put them to work if they did.
Here, sir. Yes. You scratch there, and I’ll lick that salty amazing spot on your arm.
He is fat. Faboulous. And entitled.
Case and point:
The point here?
Not to give December more credit that he is owed — and to him that is a substantial and often exhausting amount — it is to deal with this “ranch-dip-licking” disappointment in stride.
You know every day is full of its ups and downs right?
There really are those moments when you’ve done all you can think to do, taken all the BS from the world that you think you can take, and that one more thing happens.
That flat tire.
That phone call you’d been dreading.
Worse yet — the internet …goes…out.
How do you deal when you are sapped of strength, sapped of energy, sapped of the patience to handle one more thing?
Life can hand you a basket of burden but you don’t have to analyze the contents so closely that you forget to notice the sun shining down on you, a glorious day going on in spite of your burdens.
Set the basket of burdens down.
Take in the sun. Feel the breeze lightly across your cheeks — and deal with the contents one at a time.
Is there something I could have done to avoid this?
Now that it is here, how can I handle this with a measure of grace?
Is there a way to diffuse the situation without making the problem worse?
Can I deal with this a bit better if I’d just take a deep, cleansing breath and steady my resolve?
Burdens are only burdensome if we forget these are just temporary things that we can manage carefully, with our emotion in check. Keep the Negative Nancy that’s raging in your mind strapped to a chair. She does not own you. And if you tell her to be quiet, she will often listen.
Thanks for reading this “a-day-in-the-life-of” and take some time today to share the ranch dip with your cat.
I had the BIGGEST IMAGINATION when I was a child. One recurring dream I had was that our house was full of water and I could swim all around in it like a big aquarium. Now, I am sure there are all kinds of interpretations of this, but for me…it sparked this lovely piece of prose. Enjoy!
Of Water and Other Dreamy Things
I used to dream of water. Not the kind of water that winds down hills, shifting itself, a great endless slinky stepping across land to a vast and hungry sea, but a strange, floating, weightless water that filled our tiny house from wall to wall, window to door, toy box to floor. Iridescent blue, glowing, breathing, holding great bouncing bubbles in its belly, it welcomed me. Moonlight crept in the windows, wrapped its arms around each bubble, and danced a quiet waltz down my arms, across my back, and into my floating brunette spirals.
I swam from room to room. From my bedroom I swam, down the quiet hall past my brother’s room with the great clown walls, past my parents ’room with the drawers of pencils and paper and the gray flat table where Daddy drew lines that made buildings grow up, to our white-flushed simple bathroom. There I’d float before the mirror, a tiny princess. I’d brush my teeth and get ready for school; my jeans legs pulling on easily without the usual tug and jerk. Jeans weren’t heavy in liquid dream. Mom didn’t have to shove her arm up the pant legs to tuck in the extra length., knuckles scraping knobby bone. My sleeves hung like moss, a velvet hug on cool skin.
I used to dream a lot of things and not always in my sleep. I used to hear monkeys in the woods. They sang to me as I sailed on wooden swing, feet stretched toward sky, waiting for the night to bring its firefly dreams. A crimson sky would yield once more while toads tucked themselves safely under stone.
I used to dream. I was a magical child.
If you enjoyed this, please like and comment, and check out these prose pieces as well:
This poem is about hope. About reaching into tomorrow and becoming whatever you want to be. It is about connecting with the world around you and truly feeling inspired and blessed by it. What will your tomorrows bring? Will you embrace it? Here is my newest poem:
Here it is.
A new year rising,
a great orange ball
of fire in the sky,
wearing my name
like a smile.
The door behind me
closes so easily,
the dust slipping away,
falling away like ash.
Grays can be
This year I will dig
through colors and words
and paint them out
with a new fury.
Unbound and imperfect
I form and take flight.
towels in the wind, clean,
smelling like summer,
tomorrow peeking through them
smiling at me.
Hope is fresh in the trees.
I am a fiddlehead
Can you see me?
The winds that drive me
I am feathers and fury,
green and growing,
Cirrus and stratus
stretching my arms in the sky.
I release and release
Comments and likes always appreciated. Have a great day everyone! (Note here, if you enjoy my poetry please do share it with others that may enjoy it. My group of readers is slowly growing and I would love to have more readers who can appreciate my work. Thank you so much.)
Hi fellow stitchers and the curious stoppers-by, it’s a dreary North Carolina day and perfect for stitching. Some of you are aware that I am participating in the United Stitchers of America : Stitching George Washington project and I have been meaning to post a few updates. It is nearing the end of year one of this project and my panel#77 is coming along. I am currently stitching pages 9 and 10.
A fellow stitcher and I were discussing stitching methods. She stitches the “classic” cross stitch way (one hand holding the hoop or q-snap, and one hand stitching) which is how I learned but had to abandon due to some health complications. I created a video for her and my group, but wanted to share it here for my cross stitching followers.
You can find it on my NEW Flosstube channel:
Trust me, it’s pretty raw and my cat is howling hysterically in the middle of it, but still a good demo of two-handed cross stitching and parking method. Please remember to like and comment to let me know your thoughts. Thanks you! Happy Stitching!