Beware the snake in the grass

1uppertdetailI have always thought there just wasn’t enough peril in my life.  No mad adrenaline surge since I gave up rock climbing. And after I stopped living in a country that thought civil war was a nice way to solve a political impasse.

But this morning I set out to strim the brambles along the top terrace edge.  And I stood on a snake.

Wow. That had my heart rate leaping up.  There are a lot of tussocks of grass right here on the edge of the terrace, and the snake very cleverly slid in underneath to escape my noisy machine and my big heavy work boots.uppertwildflowers

I wasn’t quick enough to take a photo. It was a black snake, thin little critter, and about two and a bit feet long. Well that looked the right length as I watched it slither away from me and race into the cover of the grass.

Needless to say I have stopped strimming there as it looks like a good wildlife haven.

For Australian gardeners this is a very tame place to live. I now blithely yank out weeds with bare hands in areas which would have you thinking ‘brown snake’ or ‘scary spider’ at least.  But there is nothing really scary. And I bet the snake was just a viper of the non toxic variety.

uppertstrimmedBut I do keep one Australian habit. I will open a cellar door and then wait a few seconds for anything to scuttle away before I go in.  There is a toad that lives in the north cellar. He and I have made an arrangement about when I disturb him. But at least I don’t have to fear snakes lying on the lintels.

The best thing about bramble control on this upper terrace is now I can actually reach them and cut them.  That’s the legacy of taking down the fence.  And it’s a joy to stand in the spot where the fence used to be and sweep back and forth cutting the brambles off in their prime.

Twenty first century scything if you will.uppertstrimmed1

But I’m selective. I love the wildflowers here. And my blade has missed most of them.

But I am cutting brambles, thistles and the almost flowering festuca gaura grasses. Their seeds blow onto the courtyard beyond the road and the oak bank and germinate too well.

I could have done a bit more as there was some petrol left in the tank; but I needed to have a cup of tea and get my heart rate back to rural France calm.