This Article is About
peat moss
california quail
untimely demise
catching fish
sudden moves
Maggie And Me - A Summer Affair
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Maggie And Me  -  A Summer Affair

While I was living in my last house and still single, I spent a lot of time gardening. The hot afternoon sun beat down on my front yard and I tried my best to turn the area into a little oasis. I dug a deep pit which became a small pond fed by two smaller upper ponds. Flowers and vines of many varieties spewed forth their splendor all summer. The entire surface of the garden was covered deeply with a soft cushion peat moss.

I lived in a quiet area and my home abutted a forest so my garden soon became an extension of the domain of many wild animals. Deer and rabbits frequently visited along with my most welcome visitors, California quail, who often joined me in the garden, snuggling down into the soft peat moss. They were quite content to sit beside me as long as I did not make any sudden moves.

As I mentioned, I dug a deep pond and circled it with a three foot stone wall reminiscent of an old-fashioned well. I filled the pond with brightly coloured shubunkins, koi and comets. During one of my daily feedings, I found that I had a new visitor to the pond. A garter snake was swimming back and forth looking to me as if trying to free itself from its watery prison. Poor thing I thought as I grabbed my fish net, saving it from an untimely demise.

I let the snake go off my property and sat in my garden, enjoying the rest of the afternoon sun. About 20 minutes later, who shows up but the little garter snake. It slithered toward my pond, up over the rock wall and down the other side, pausing just above the water. It finally dawned on me. The snake had not mistakenly fallen into the water, it was fishing. I don't know why it did not occur to me earlier as I know garter snakes are quite at home in the water and are adept at catching fish.

Well, I paid a lot of money for those fish and I was not about to feed them to the wildlife. Out came the net, the snake was scooped up and my dog and I trotted a half a mile down the road to release it. Guess who showed up at my pond the next day. Out came the net, the snake was scooped up and my dog and I went for our afternoon walk in the opposite direction. I released the snake several miles away in the forest. That would be that! Now I could site and write my novels without a bothersome snake menacing my prized fish.

I know you are waiting for it and yes, within a couple of days the snake was back after my fish. So, now I had a hard decision. I didn't want my fish to get eaten but I really didn't want to hurt the snake. After all, it was just trying to get something to eat. I thought, "What if I stocked my upper ponds with small cheap fish? Would the garter snake leave my bigger fish alone?” It worked like a charm.

The small, cheap fish started to disappear one by one and sometimes I would see her in the garden with a little bulge in her belly that was probably one of my fish. I whimsically decided that she was a female (after all, how would I know?) and gave her the name Maggie. Maggie became a regular part of the small crowd of wildlife that burgeoned my garden. She never caused me another problem. I watched her grow all summer until she disappeared to hibernate for the winter, much fattened up from her diet of fresh sushi.

I sold that house but I still think of that summer with Maggie. The little snake taught me that there is probably a suitable solution to most problems if you don't overreact. Instead of hurting the poor little thing because of anger, I ended up with a pet that helped me enjoy the summer. When suddenly confronted with an angry situation, pause, reflect, and take a gentle approach. Perhaps you will find a solution that could turn your problem into a positive that will make your life richer, as the summer with Maggie did mine.


Street Talk

Dave, this was one really excellent story!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks, Lewis

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Great story!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks, Shawn.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I shared everywhere....k

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I definitely enjoy your writing....oddly enough I have not had a fond relationship with snakes but I encounter them as my travels have taken me to West Virginia and Florida where they are plentiful.....and I am not a citygirl.......your story made me feel better about them being about a ittle friendly snake that you could pick up in a net and take somewhere....made me smile about the snake.....and I have bookmarked your links to your books...When I find my spare time again I would like to read your writing....thanks.....k

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks, Sister Kaite. As a child, I grew up living next to a large boggy pond. So, the order of the day was always carrying snakes around under my shirt when I was collecting newts, tadpoles and other wildlife. Thanks for the kind words and glad you enjoyed it.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
William6  

Dave, Good story about getting along with nature (snakes in particular). I just goes to show you there is almost always a solution, if you keep your wits anout you and think it through. Once again. Good read. Really enjoyed it.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks, William. Like most people who have been around for a while and been through a bit, I have learned a few life lessons. Thanks for the kind words. Regards

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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