Grit Blogs > Rosedale Garden

Saw Tooth Cobra

A photo of MaryWe finally had a break from the weeks of 100 plus degree days without rain this past week.  Several temperature records were broken during the spell.   Friday June 29 temperature was 108, Saturday temperature of 107 broke a record set way back in 1914.  Temperature on Sunday July 1 was 106, another record.  The last significant rain at my house was on June 12th when I reported 0.58 inches to CoCoRahs from my reporting station.  When the rains finally started on June 12 with 0.75 inches, my area of NW Alabama was over ten inches behind on rain.  Now we are trying to catch up on our rain deficit in just a matter of a few days.  Thursday June 12th I measured 2.54 inches.   Sunday July 15, 1.82 inches.  After the first round of rain, the crab grass grew two feet overnight and has consumed a few of my flower beds.  We have a break from the 100+ temperatures, but the high humidity is back, making it less bearable than the hot temperature.

All week, before the rains started, the clouds were threatening and rumbling each afternoon after I got off of work, so I choose to work close to the back door weeding some of my flower beds in case a mad dash for the house was needed on my bad knees and injured foot from stepping in a hooligan hole .  One of the beds hadn’t been weeded and mulched this year and was overgrown badly.  As I worked something grabbed my leg from behind and its fangs dug through my new jeans and into my skin.  When I whirled around it strengthen its hold.  A saw briar had me.  For those of you not living in the country and not knowing what this is, it’s a steel tough vine with very big sharp heavy duty thorns.  The older portion of the vine is a hard tree like consistently that can puncture a riding mower tire. 

After I unwrapped it from around my leg, it’s swayed in the air like a cobra trying to attack me again as I dug around it to remove it.  Once rooting either from a bird deposit or from mulch that I used, it sends runners under the ground in two directions or more to take over a flower bed sending up baby briar cobras along the way.  I’ve seen them snake up a tree forty or fifty feet or more. One thirty footer attacked myself and Blackie, one of my rescues while cleaning up tree limbs it was blown to the ground with during a recent wind storm.  This particular one ran under a couple of clumps of daylilies going both north and south.  In order to remove it, I had to dig up the daylilies.  Whenever I pulled on the roots, the cobra part swaying in the air would strike at me trying to prevent me from removing it from the soil.  

When I finally got it dug up in its entirety, I dumped it beside my weeding pile on the driveway to dry before disposing of it.  Each afternoon I would add to my pile until the rain chased me into the house.  

saw briar 

Saturday morning we finally had a break in the rain, and I started hauling the pile on the driveway off to the compost pile.  While working on the second loader full I noticed the cobra sticking out of the pile in the loader.  I didn’t want to have it live on in the compost pile, so as I started pulling it out of the loader, it wrapped itself around my arm. When I dumped it out on the driveway, it stood up on its two root legs swaying back and forth one more time like a cobra. 

look it even has eyes 

My squash and tomatoes are started to coming in.  The first tomato, I put a label GG on the container when I planted my heirloom seeds.  It’s a very flat tomato, and extremely tasty, but I cannot find what I did with the seed pack after planning.  My German pink and Cherokee purple have a while to go before getting ripe.  My 2 hills of orange watermelons not drowned a couple of months ago are doing well despite the drought.  I haul water to them a couple of times in the loader of my tractor.

I didn’t learn my lesson after walking around all day in the 100+ temperatures as a volunteer photographer.  I volunteered as one for the upcoming W C Handy Music Festival which runs for ten days starting July 19.  I’ll be taking in a lot of blues. Hopefully I won't need to go and see my Orthopedic surgeon again afterwards.  I had stepped in a hooligan hole a few months back and injured a foot bone and tendon.

hooligans on quard 

The hooligans have been busy chasing the abundance of rabbits invading their territory.  It was several days before I found out what they were after in an iris bed close to the underground fence between Mom’s place and mine.  Levi was being very brave at a distance so I knew it couldn’t be a snake.  Their new wading pool has gotten a lot of use in this hot weather.

Levi being brave at a safe distance