The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Ring-necked garden visitor

Ring-necked snake in the garden

Our first ring-necked snake sighting of 2012 happened today.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Sorry to put this in the visitor snake section--I read Sam's thoughts on Thoreau's Sounds ch. and had to comment, but I find it hard to figure out where to comment, sometimes, so put it in with the visting snake. I understand Thoreau's style, whichs exasperates Sam, because it is so "bookish" a style. "Old fashioned" and seemingly self-conscious. But I think I am extra sympathetic to his wanting to celebrate all the different companionable sounds around him because I am so thankful to be able, myself, to hear pretty well. Sounds are very important, for one living alone. Now I need to get into the Visitor ch. to see if he ever feels threatened or at least irritated by any visitors...

Comment by adrianne Tue May 22 18:02:12 2012

Mom --- Daddy had the same problem you did when he was starting to read comments. If you're watching them pop up at, just click on the title of the comment (which is blue, underlined text --- a hint that it's a link) and you'll go to the post the comment is on.

If you want to find an old post that you remember from last week, another way to get there is to click on "Blog Archive" on the sidebar on the left side of any page. Click on the year you're interested in (2012 for right now), then the month you're interested in (May). That will show you all the posts from that month. Click on the title (more blue, underlined text) of any post and you'll go to that post and can see the comments.

I hope that helps!

Comment by anna Tue May 22 19:39:36 2012

The snakes and I have an understanding; they make their presence to me known before I get within 10 feet of them and I don't scream like a little girl! Ok, maybe I'm not that bad but I do prefer to see them from a distance instead of discovering one right next to me. I catch them when the girls are around to teach them something about snakes and how to act around them. I typically give them a pass and let them go unharmed unless they're near the nesting boxes.

This morning I walked up on a big 'ol black snake sunnin' out away from the house. It was big, well over 5 feet, and is the first one I've had that's actually ever reared back like a cobra does to warn me off. It sorta freaked me out and I nearly put a bullet in it for its trouble. Apparently I'm able to speak Parseltongue because it left when I threatened its life!

Comment by Heath Tue May 22 22:56:45 2012

Heath --- I don't think you would have shrieked if you saw this little guy. His coiled up body was smaller than my palm, and he was hiding his head under his coils when I first found him, as if to say "If I can't see you, you can't see me!"

On the other hand, I learned that I'm going to have to stop telling people that we only have two poisonous snakes in our area. Wikipedia informed me: "[Ring-necked snakes] are slightly venomous but their non-aggressive nature and small rear-facing fangs pose little threat to humans who wish to handle them." (They use their venom to subdue their prey of salamanders, worms, and slugs to make them easier to swallow.)

Comment by anna Wed May 23 07:19:48 2012


You bring up what might be an important point in my not liking Sounds. You have excellent hearing, while I've got a moderate high-frequency hearing loss. I hear well enough to have never learned sign-language, but any time I put my hearing aids in, I'm rather stunned by how much I'm missing. Although I'm often rather grateful for the silence, too!

Comment by Sam Thu May 24 22:55:43 2012

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