Summer is here — unfortunately for Cooper. The heat wave hit, and we found our first rattlesnake near the house. And when I say we, I mean Cooper. And when I say found I mean he sniffed it out and when it put up a ruckus, he realized that this was no false alarm and ran for his life. Literally.

I had a friend here riding, and we were just a few hundred yards down the road from the house when Coop discovered the snake. I got down off my horse to see if I could manage to kill it with a large rock. That’s a no.

Not for lack of effort, though.

I found a rock almost as big as my head to throw at the thing, but apparently snakes have an innate sense of when actions are meant to kill it. Somewhere during my big league wind-up, it uncoiled and started to dart away. I don’t even think I hit its body very squarely.

I went back to the house for a more effective weapon in the form of a hoe, but by the time I got back the snake was holed up in the thick underbrush of a chokecherry patch. I could hear it, but not get the brush pulled away good enough to find it.

I explain all this in a rational tone, but my heart was going pitter patter after seeing how sick Cooper got last year. The snake was originally coiled in some taller grass/weeds along the road, which is right under the one-strand electric fence we have around a section of land we’ve reseeded. And then there’s a 3-foot span of hip-high grass and alfalfa. And then the thick grove of chokecherry brush.

This means I had to reach under and over the electric fence to poke the hoe in the tall grass and alfalfa in the reclamation, then I had to duck under the wire and stand in the 3-foot wide area of tall vegetation between the wire and the brush where the snake was now rattling (but I couldn’t see). I knew damn good and well that if the snake slithered out after me the wire was going to both hinder my flight and shock the hell out of me. Literally.

My mind kept saying, “Snake in the grass. Dumbass. We have these cliched sayings exactly because they are based on universal truths. Snake in the grass. Watch yourself. This is really a bad idea, dumbass.” Snake in the grass. Pitter patter, thumpity thump went my heart.

Of course, I didn’t have to worry about Cooper because he beat me back to the house when I went for the hoe.

Baby scared, cuz he’s smart enough for his own good at: pam(at)