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John was walking toward me down the hallway of our single-wide mansion and he did a double take look out the window then said with a weird tone: “Come look at this.”

And this is what we saw:

A bullsnake climbing our 6-foot tall fence.

A bullsnake climbing our 6-foot tall fence.

a 5-1/2-foot long bull snake at the top of our 6-foot fence … headed toward the house. Yeah, that’s not freaky at all.

Endlessly fascinated with nature in its boundless creepiness (as well as its beauty and power and blah blah blah, insert your own descriptive here), I recorded as much as possible with my trusty auto-zoom camera … which didn’t always work that great.

Of course, the bull snake wasn’t happy with the audience, so he turned around and headed toward the shop at the other end of the fence line. Like that was going to get rid of me.

It managed to loop back on itself without falling off.

It managed to loop back on itself without falling off.

And, really, I thought this was the coolest thing to see this bull snake maneuvering itself on that thin wire, in perfect balance.

And, really, I thought this was the coolest thing to see this bull snake maneuvering itself on that thin wire, in perfect balance.

When the snake got to the shop, it didn’t lower its head once. It knew what it wanted: Up.

And up it went.

And up it went — about 3 feet up to the top of the roof of John’s shop.

And this series of photos shows the coolest thing that snake did -- redefining upward mobility.

This series of photos shows the actual coolest thing that snake did — redefining upward mobility.

Very little of its body was still pushing from the wire fence.

Very little of its body was still pushing from the wire fence.

Very little of the snake was actually on the roof when it finally let go of the fence. This is just the first of those photos that is actually in focus.

And very little of its body was actually gripping the roof when it finally let go of the fence.

You can almost hear it grunting.

You can almost hear it grunting.

Cool, quiet concentration.

Cool, quiet concentration in the face of hard labor.

This is the view from inside the house, through the window screen. The snake rested here for quite a while.

This is the view from inside the house, through the window screen. The snake rested here for quite a while.

Then the snake headed over the peak of the roof.

Then it headed over the peak of the roof …

to grab hold of the one branch i left within reach of the roof when I was up there trimming tree limbs. the week before.

to grab hold of the one tree limb I left within reach of the roof when I was up there trimming limbs — just the week before. And, yes, I’m glad I had NOT seen this first.

At this point, the bull snake was cleary on a mission.

At this point, the bull snake was clearly on a mission …

snaking its way up the limb. (Pardon the pun.)

snaking its way up the limb. (Pardon the pun.)

If you enlarge the next photo, you might be able to figure out exactly why a snake would climb a tree.

Can you spy with your little eye the foes both lurking in the leaves?

Can you spy with your little eye the two foes lurking among the leaves?

Yes, the bull snake was in the tree to hunt bird nests for a snack of eggs, or perhaps helpless hatchlings. That’s a robin sitting in the tree, softly chirp. chirp. chirp. chirping. Beware the snake in the tree.

 

Foes clearly marked for the visually challenged.

Foes clearly marked for the visually challenged.

It was trying to lure the snake to the wrong part of the tree. And it worked. At first.

You can't see the robin, but it's luring the snake down the wrong path -- kind of an ironic twist of fate, biblically speaking, and if you've ever seen the Disney cartoon of "Robinhood." Not that those two stories are related, I was just ... what were we talking about?

Here it is again, luring the snake down the wrong path — kind of an ironic twist of fate for the snake, biblically speaking, and if you’ve ever seen the Disney cartoon of “Robinhood.” Not that those two stories are related, I was just … what were we talking about?

Maybe I'll try another limb of this branch of the tree, snake says.

“Maybe I’ll try another limb of this branch of the tree,” snake said.

And he's searching.

And it was searching.

And he's searching ...

And was searching …

and it's searching.

and searching.

Wait a minute, I think that fucking bird has been leading me on, snake said.

And … “Wait a minute,” snake said, “I think that fucking bird has been leading me on.”

Screw you, Red Breast, I'm going down another branch, going with my gut, following my instincts, and there ain't nothing you can do about it.

“Screw you, Red Breast, I’m going down another branch, going with my gut, following my instincts, and there ain’t nothing you can do about it.”

And snake was right. Robin Red Breast's fluttering attack was no deterent for the symbol of evil.

And snake was right. Robin Red Breast’s fluttering attack was no deterrent for the scaly skinned symbol of evil.

And so snake traveled his own road, closely watched by a worried robin.

And so snake travelled its own road, closely watched by a worried robin.

And when that road turned out to be a dead end, snake casually turned around, telling the robin that it had meant to do that.

And when that road turned out to be a dead end, snake casually turned around, telling the robin “I meant to do that.”

Aw, but look how happy it looks to have found a proper "tree branch highway" to more lucrative hunting grounds.

Aw, but look how happy snake looks to have found a proper tree branch “highway” to more lucrative hunting grounds.

And it's whistling a merry tune.

And it whistled a merry tune.

And it's slowing down.

And then it slowed down.

And it's stopping.

And it stopped.

And it's thinking blondie with the camera is a bit freaky and obsession with the picture taking.

And it thought that blondie with the camera looked a bit freaky and obsessive with the picture taking.

Ultimtely, I manage to do what the robin couldn't, scare the snake away. I was not surprised that I had this effect on the snake, I repell humans daily, with less effort. It's a gift.

Ultimately, I managed to do what the robin couldn’t: scare the snake away. I was not surprised that I had this effect on the snake. I repel humans daily, with less effort. It’s a gift.

I left the snake alone for a while, to do the thing its nature was compelling it to do: hunt. eat. hiss in peace. That was altruistic of me, er, um, plus it was time for my own supper so that worked out alright for both of us, though not the robin so much, and for that I’m sorry that Nature is cruel. I’m also thankful that I had chicken fajitas for supper and not robin hatchlings. I hope the chicken wasn’t a cousin, that would be a lot of tragedy for one family in a day.

I did see the snake once more.

It was on a branch known to house a robin nest.

It was on a branch known to house a robin nest.

It looked content.

It looked content.

The robin was nowhere to be found at: pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

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I’ve been fencing, and fencing, and fencing, and all the other shinola required to facilitate fencing, and even pulling down some old fencing … and not one whit or a jot of this has dinky-do to do with utilizing my epee (what? doesn’t everybody own an epee?).

Tiger salamander in search of a pond.

But this morning I headed out to tackle a few more posts only to discover this little guy. A tiger salamander. He was in pretty rough shape and out of his normal element, but I think I pieced together enough evidence to figure out his story. I bet he went walkabout Thursday or Friday, when it was raining here, but took a tumble into one of the fence post holes, then I inadvertently shoveled him out today and unceremoniously dumped him into a heap of dirt.

He crawled out of the dirt pile, but I don’t think he had much more effort in him than that. His skin was dry and peeling, he was covered in dirt (even his little protruding eyeballs), and he was listless. Fortunately, I had some water and a bucket with me so I scooped him up with the shovel, eased him into the bucket and gave him a shallow layer of water.

I took him to the house to show John and grab the camera (hoping the little guy would rally — I really didn’t want to photograph a salamander carcass). He freshened up pretty quickly so I took him back to the place I found him, for a second shot at freedom and a short photo shoot.

This is his pouty look. We tried both cute and sexy, but the light wasn’t right and the mood was all wrong, understandable considering the time of day and his recent brush with death and all.

I hope he gets cleaned up before he gets home. He troops into the house like that and his wife’s gonna beat him, fo’ sho’.

I told him to clean his whole self up, but look at him with his dirty head and grit still sticking around his eyeballs. I bet he didn’t bother to wash behind his ears either.

Can’t learn that boy nothin’ at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

I’m headed back out to put in more fence posts. You stay right there in your chair —- no, no, no, really, you’re a guest, I wouldn’t think of making you help dig post holes. It’s nasty business. Just stay there and enjoy these guys, theslowmoguys on YouTube. Equal parts cool, funny and juvenile. Who can resist a triple threat like that?

I have aspirations to rise to that level at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

In honor of Havre-Hill County Library’s annual four-day used book sale, aka book nerd Christmas, and just because I found it immensely delightful and artistically fascinating, I give you this link to a library/art/literature mystery from Scotland that I linked to from a WordPress sister site.

Art comes in many forms, and I can’t find the words to express how delighted I get when I see incredibly cool art in forms and media, like this paper/book art, that I never would’ve imagined. If the artist were my friend, I would punch him/her in the arm inappropriately hard, say “Oh. My. Gawd! That is so totally awesome!” and then hug him/her. Inappropriately hard. While bouncing up and down on the balls of my feet. And then continually reaching toward them to get a sense of their tactile nature.

Yes, I want to touchy, touch, touch them with my grubby hands. They’re a precious.

From the photos alone, I want terribly to feel their texture, see how they’re constructed, see if some of the parts move and flutter, check out their sturdiness, hold them to my nose to see if they smell like Elmer’s or rubber cement. Or that paste from grade school.

The bobbies would arrest me for sure at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

 

This video of an eventing helmet cam recording (see blog post fail Sept. 14). Can you tell I haven’t slept well for a few weeks?

This is sunrise this morning:

It’s also, interestingly, what my eyes look like without regular application of Visine.

Another day in paradise at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

And when the moving pictures aren’t capturing images of humanity congregating to act rapidly to save a fellow denizen of the human race from a vehicular fireball, they are showing us a ripping good time.

My cousin (longest-held friend and sister from another mister) pointed me to this youtube.com video in which a guy used a helmet camera while riding the cross-country jumping course at the American Eventing Championships this year (and for anyone going “huh?” right now, go here to read more or, in keeping with the visual theme of the day, you can go here to see more about it).

Sometimes I miss haring around a jump course at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

If you are experiencing that angsty, people drive me to go sober so I can drive away safely, far far away, kind of day, watch this news clip about some people, like real people on the street who don’t know each other at all, risking their well-being to help another guy, a stranger guy, in dire need.

It’s a flaming success at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

According to this article, the Montana band Singing Sons of Beaches has produced a TSA security video for Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell, Mont. Kudos to airport director Cindi Martin for thinking outside the terminal and the band for their song.

Now if they could get some stripper music for the checkpoint …

they’d be all set at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

I just wanted to share this amazing short, short story (aka, flash fiction) that I read the other day and can’t get out of my head: “The Name of the Stone” by Raine Weaver.

Word up, dude, it’s awesome at: pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com