Second Snake Sighting and Top Ten Cool Rattlesnake Facts

Eastern Garden Snake found in front of my house.

Another Snake Sighting!

I’ve seen many different animals while living in New Jersey, especially since my house abuts the South Mountain Reservation. Want to know what I’ve spotted? Check out Animal Kingdom in the Suburbs. But, I’ve never seen skunks despite smelling them, and I’ve never seen a snake…until last week.

While walking Lucy, my neighbors (shout out to Jeanne and Jim) said there was a snake on the road ahead. I kept an eye out, but it must have moved on. I returned home to see our cat Midnight batting what looked like a small branch. It wasn’t a branch? It was a small snake! I figured it was a harmless garter snake so, you guessed it hon, I picked it up! So cool! It was smooth and surprisingly warm. Another neighbor (shout out to Heather) was walking her bear–umm, I mean giant, black, fluffy dog Gracie–when she said, “What have you got there?” She thought the snake was cool, too.

You know who wasn’t that interested in this exciting finding? Lucy and Gracie! They were all like sniff, sniff, done. But Midnight stayed half hidden in his “jungle” (the garden in front of my house), watching. Why? Because he wanted to finish the job he started! That poor, little snake had an injury–a wound on its underside with a spot of blood. Midnight wasn’t just playing with it. ūüė¶

I nestled the little snake in dense brush. I hope its’ wound heals and returns to doing whatever it is Eastern Garden Snakes do.

How strange that I go for years without seeing a wild snake, and in the span of a month, there are two in my path? Hmmm, is it a sign or coincidence?

The other snake I came upon was, you may remember, coiled and rattling in New Mexico. Hon, of course I wanted to know more about rattlesnakes! Wouldn’t you?

Top Ten Cool Rattlesnake Facts:

  1. “Rattles are segments of keratin that fit loosely inside one another at the end of the snake‚Äôs tail. These segments knock against each other to produce a buzzing sound when the snake holds its tail vertically and vibrates the rattle. Each time a rattlesnake sheds its skin it adds another segment to the rattle.”(Source: Madison, Wisconsin herpotologist Sara Viernum.)
  2. In addition to rattling, rattlesnakes warn by hissing.
  3. Snakes do not communicate with each other by hissing since they’re deaf to airborne sounds. Their hiss is a warning for animals that can hear.
  4. There are 32 different species of rattlesnakes.
  5. The snakes can are found everywhere from sea level to a high elevation of 11,000 feet (3,353 m).
  6. Several generations of rattlesnakes will use the same dens.
  7. “Mothers can store sperm for months before fertilizing the eggs, and then they carry babies for about three months.”
  8. “Rattlesnakes are ovoviviparous, which means that eggs incubate inside the mother‚Äôs body. Babies are born live, encased in a thin membrane that they puncture after being born.”
  9. “The digestive process can take several days, and rattlesnakes become sluggish and hide during this time. Adult rattlers eat about every two weeks.”
  10. Rattlesnakes most distinctive features are their triangular heads and vertical pupils.

Sources: Rattlesnake facts: Live Science and Reptiles Magazine; Photo of Western Tanager: South Dakota Birds and Birding

Outdoor Inspiration, Chalk Art

My neighbors have added more inspiration (and beauty) to the neighborhood. I love to come across a surprise on the street–a quote, saying, or picture rendered in chalk. Check out the burgeoning “collection” of chalk art care of @millburnchalklove and other street artists. I’m building upon¬†posts Chalk Walk and¬†Road Quotes.

Tragedy and Tribute

Hon, Bmore Energy is a place for discovery, whether it be a story, new recipe, DIY project, photography or anything else I find interesting. As I pursue my writing dreams, Bmore Energy is where I “stretch before I exercise.” Sometimes, though, I break from my blog’s purpose to share heavier emotions. Then again,¬†since this is a “lifestyle blog” and, in our lives, we will be faced with and have to deal with the best and worst situations, maybe emotional posts are actually parts of the whole.

Jaime Guttenberg

Our families are connected.

I didn’t know her, but her dad and my husband grew up doors apart. Her uncle was the best man at our wedding. Her aunt was my sister-in-law’s best friend. The families were neighbors and friends for years. She went to the same sleep-away camp as my children.

Tragedy. There aren’t enough words or the right words or any words for the evil that Jaime Guttenberg and 16 other people faced this past week.

Jaime’s funeral is today.

In Anderson Cooper’s tribute to the victims on CNN, he said each person’s name and “We will remember.”

In memory of Jaime’s love of dance, Misty Copeland,¬†American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, posted this on Instagram.

This one is for you, Jaime ūüß° We honor your life in tonight‚Äôs performance. This weekend dancer‚Äôs across America will wear orange ribbons to honor Jaime Guttenburg, a 14-year old dancer who was killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, FL. Tonight‚Äôs performance is for her ūüß°#OrangeRibbonsForJaime

Dancers all over the world are wearing orange ribbons in Jaime’s honor, as was reported on ABC News.We’re with my husband’s family friends in spirit. Unfortunately, nothing anyone does will ever be enough.

The resource NCTSN or The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has written guidelines on how to talk to kids about this and other tragedies.

Rosie the Riveter (a Lost Dog)

Rosie, a Boston Terrier and lost dog.
Rosie the Lost Dog.

Rosie the Riveter.
Rosie the Riveter.

"Running around the neighborhood makes you hungry!"
“Running around the neighborhood makes you hungry!”

"Don't you want to hear my side of the story?"
“Don’t you want to hear my side of the story?”

My doorbell rang at 9 am on a Thursday morning. ¬†There stood my neighbor with a lost dog, a Boston Terrier. ¬†She’d put her big dog’s leash on the small dog, giving it an “on-the-lam” appearance. ¬†It was yappy. ¬†It¬†had attitude. ¬†It barged right in.

Lucy, my sweet dog, isn’t so sweet when delivery trucks pass the house, mailmen deliver the mail, workers come to the door, or when small dogs with large attitudes try to assert themselves. ¬†Lucy barks, jumps, and runs around like a nut, saying, “I’m the alpha dog!” ¬†She did all three while I chased her around with a leash, clipped it on her collar, and tried to restrain her from pouncing on the small pooch. ¬†Morning mayhem!

The Boston Terrier had run up my neighbor’s driveway, and my neighbor figured a fellow dog-lover-like-her might know who it belonged to. ¬†I had a hunch. ¬†She started making calls, taking photos of the dog and sending them to its Likely Family.

My neighbor and I both had to be somewhere in 10 minutes. ¬†What should we do? ¬† I ran both crazed canines upstairs to my college daughter’s room to wake her up.

Lucy was riveted by Rosie (we found out her name when we called the Likely Family), but not in a good way. ¬†While making calls, taking photos and sending them, Rosie had eaten Lucy’s entire bowl of kibble, drank from her water bowl, and snuffed and huffed at Lucy. ¬†Lucy was having none of it!

Teen Daughter graciously got out of bed and gave up going to yoga. Instructions?  Separate the dogs and watch Rosie (she might need to relieve herself after eating more than her body weight in kibble) until her Mom, a teacher, arrived.

My neighbor left, apologizing for leaving us with a lost dog. ¬†I left to go to work, apologizing to Teen Daughter that she’d miss yoga.

Later, I got the full report.  Teen Daughter kept the dogs on two sides of a glass door.  Lucy was riveted by Rosie.  Then Rosie barked and Lucy barked back.  A lot!

Rosie’s mom arrived around 10 am and Rosie was on her way home (where she was going to get a replacement battery for her electric fence collar). ¬†The morning excitement was over.


Hon, do you have a lost dog story to share?

"All this excitement has worn me out!"
“All the excitement wore me out!”

Teen Daughter who was on "Doggie Duty."  Thanks, sweetheart!
Teen Daughter who was on “Doggie Duty.” Thanks, sweetheart!

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy busted through the doors of New Jersey and threw a tantrum. ¬†She howled, spit, bit, shrieked, stomped and made a mess. ¬†We don’t have electricity and our town’s substation was destroyed so there will no electricity for awhile. Gas stations are running out of gas so we are all preserving the gas in our cars by walking. ¬†It gets to the mid 40 degrees at night so we wear hats inside, several layers and bury ourselves under heavy blankets. ¬†We read by lanterns and shut off our flashlights to preserve batteries.

But, hon, we have hot water and a gas stove, no damage to our house and great neighbors. ¬†The night after the storm, when our street was blocked by downed trees and lines, we had an impromptu “S’mores Night” around our fire pit. ¬†Friends stayed until 11pm chatting and commiserating. ¬†People brought chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers…and homemade bread, beer, wine and champagne.

School was cancelled this week and I suspect it will be next week, as well. “Mom, Mother Nature doesn’t like Halloween,” said one of my daughters. ¬†I assured her that the freak snow storm last year and the hurricane this year are highly unusual. ¬†“Mom, what is there to do without computers and t.v.?” asked the same daughter. ¬†I dug latch hook kits out of a closet and she and friend worked most of a day on latch hook pillows. ¬†Next on the list: ¬†crochet hats for her dolls, if I can figure out how to crochet!

I am able to post this because I found Wifi a few towns away and I’m not sure when I’ll be back on the internet. ¬†Hurricane Sandy has given me a lot to think about: ¬†tornadoes, wildfires, tsunamis and radiation leaks. ¬†I don’t think Mother Nature is against Halloween but I do think she wants to show us who really has power.

Here are some pics from my town:

boards that were blown off a store front
a store prepped for the storm

a downed transformer

this tree took out four cars (not mine)
the hill up to my house