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We have had much drama over snakes.  Tom Hayes, the local snake catcher, removed a HUGE pregnant rattlesnake just before she gave birth.  She was coiled up by the bird bath waiting for lunch.  She hissed and rattled for half an hour in her bucket.  Then the next day Tom removed a smaller female rattlesnake that had already given birth. ( Pictures attached.)  A gopher snake tried to get into a window but was stopped by the screen.  The next morning the gopher snake climbed the prickly pear / cholla barrier outside our bedroom window and devoured all the cactus wren babies.  We tried to pry it off with a pole, but the snake wouldn't budge until it finished eating.  There were three nests out there.  Harold has taken to wearing shoes rather than sandals.

If you like, you can look at Tom’s web site:  tomsbirdfeeders.com/  He also sells reptile supplies and gives advice on how to pick up snakes with snake tongs.  Ask your mother first.


ON WRITING

Since some of you are aspiring writers I have decided to write a series of tips on how to get started.  I had no training when I began and because I was in Central Africa, no way to get any.  Here are two things you can do at the beginning:

(1) Learn to take pictures in your mind.  When you see something interesting, look at it very carefully.  Close your eyes and try to recreate it in your mind.  Open your eyes again and see what you left out.  This practice of paying close attention to what’s in front of you is a good way to have details ready when you want to construct a scene.

(2)  Keep a notebook by your bed and write down the first things you think of when you awake.  This doesn’t have to be a dream and it doesn’t have to make sense.  When you wake up, you are close to the subconscious where ideas come from.  This exercise helps you learn to open the subconscious when you need it and to avoid writer’s block.  I got the idea from BECOMING A WRITER by Dorothea Brande.  See if you can find it in the library.