Python panic

Heatwave days last week, but the wretched python had me beseiged in the house with the door and all but two windows shut! I still am beseiged, although the temperature has dropped. Here’s why.

I was making some small shelves in the house, trotting back and forth to the verandah to saw and drill timber, stepping over the thigh-high masonite snake barrier in place in the doorway. 

On one foray back out, I got to the door just as the python was oozing over the snake barrier; half in, half out. I shut the door against it so it couldn’t come in, not fully shut, so not hard enough to squash it against the ‘barrier’ – ha!

I just stood there holding it, almost heaving with fear, cursing hard and wondering what to do! It wouldn’t be able to climb back up in such a small space so it  would remain there until I  did something.

Dragging the sewing machine over with my foot, I wedged it against the door, then climbed out the window and used one of my long bits of shelf timber to lever the ‘barrier’ up and hold it up so the thing could get out. If it headed my way, I’d drop the timber and run.

But it went into the box cover on my gas bottle, right near where the grandkids play at cooking.

Constant checking showed it later went back behind the shower to its old haunt on the timber frame. I washed in the sink that night. 
Thoughts of what the situation would have been had I been a second later reaching the doorway kept me shuddering all night.
 
Next day it had gone from there. Good, maybe I could have a shower.

But no.

Peering about to see where it had moved to – far away, I hoped – I broke out in a sweat as I saw it curled up just above the shower. Had this been at night I might have missed it until I was in there, happening to glance up, maybe with shampoo in my eyes. Ugh!

python-shower

I think I’m losing my nerve to cope with such things. If the python gets inside I’d never find it in my crowded cabin. Worse still, if I didn’t know it had got inside and it just appeared, like from under my desk, where I now must check. Often. Double UGH!

Of course when my friend the snake man came the following day – no python. Or the next day. ‘Too hot for it’, he said. The door and windows remain closed except for the few with screens; I put the fan on.

There’s still no python to be seen; not that this gives me any comfort. I keep remembering how my friend kept looking up at my ceiling edges, or behind my fuel stove. He clearly thought it could be inside!

I will have to go a demolition yard and get a screen door and some screen windows to remake to fit. The ‘snake barrier’ has been tossed in the shed. But nothing is ever that simple: my car doesn’t have a towbar or roof racks.

Perhaps it knew the snake man was here. I expect to see it again now he’s gone.

Return of the python

Having assumed that the Diamond Python relocated from my verandah to the national park would stay there, I received a nasty surprise late yesterday afternoon.

python-back-1

What looked like the same python –– no distinguishing features! but the same size – was making its way along the footings. Had it travelled several kilometres to its old home, i.e., mine?

python-back-2

As it appeared to consider heading straight up the mud wall, I went and closed the windows. I was glad I’d got round to plugging a few holes in the last week. But had I found them all?!

python-return-3

As dusk fell, with shudders at the memories of last time, I hurried to have my shower (which is  on the verandah) before it decided to resume its occupancy there. 

I didn’t see where the homing python went, but later that night my torchlight found it back in its old spot on top of the mud wall corner, just under the tin.

Next morning it was still there, but more restless. After breakfast it was gone, and despite peering hard into the grape vine along the western wall, I couldn’t see it.

Every time I went outside I searched the verandah for telltale splashes of pattern or bulges of shape. And I realised how complacent I’d grown since it was evicted last time: such as flipping over the wind-blown rubber bathmat by hand. It’d be back to the broom from now on.

It was only as I went to ascend the steps to the verandah that I glanced up and there it was: right above the top step, seemingly comfortable, slung between the wire netting and the tin, and only marginally supported by the rafter.

python-return-4

I envisaged its questing head dangling down as I walked beneath. 

I’m back to high python alert outside and inside, in case it finds a place to sneak into the ceiling.

But if it’s so keen to share with me, I think I’ll have to get used to it. Perhaps it will help if I name my python tenant, but that’s hard when I don’t know its gender. Daphne or Desmond?

Python farewell

The day my python had surrounded the shower shell on my verandah, I hadn’t been able to bring myself to risk a shower that evening.

It was a windy night, and next morning when I did go to have a shower, the rubber mat had been blown back, doubled on
to itself.

I usually just flick it back flat with my hand. Something made me use the broom this time.

Just as well, for there lay the sleepy python, in a perfect coil.

I gave the shower a miss yet again. A top and tail at the kitchen sink was a far better idea!

But I kept checking for when it might awake, to see where it would head next.

Eventually it uncoiled and poured itself over the mat and between the boards — or was it going under the mat? How would I ever be sure it wasn’t under that raised edge of the mat where it met the fibreglass base?

Read morePython farewell

Verandah python

It doesn’t seem so long ago that I was writing about a rare sighting for here –  a diamond python. That was a fair distance away, on the track.

Meanwhile a friend, having rescued a stunned python down on the tar road, had brought it here to recover.

He thought I might like one for my garden; despite the posed benefits of keeping the numbers down of other snakes and small mammals like bush rats, I declined and asked him to release it outside the yard down by the dam.  I thought no more about it.

I do have a bush rat of some sort that, every night, without fail, enters the house and dashes along the same exposed rafter, always between 8.45 and 8.50. I haven’t been able to find out how and where it goes in and out.

Then one night it did fail to show up.

Next day this is what I saw, up on the top western corner of the mud wall on my verandah, partly hidden by the grapevine.

Plump loops and rolls of spots and diamonds, fishnet black over yellow and white.

It was a diamond python, curled up, fast asleep. Was this a post-prandial nap? Post-rat?

Read moreVerandah python

Final winter flurry


As August came to an end, the season decided to show a bit of properly wintry snow.

Not at my place, unfortunately, although I’m just high enough at about 1000 metres, but opposite me in the Wilderness Area, where the range is about 1500 metres.

It was cold, 2 degrees, which is about as low as it gets here here, 4 or 5 degrees being the average on a cold morning.

I love to see some snow each year, and I was cosy, with the slow combustion wood fire banked right down, gently beaming fire glow and warmth day and night.

When the snow clouds lifted, all of the upper southern faces had patches of snow, which isn’t unusual.

The surprise was that they stayed there, brightly, whitely visible, although this range is quite a long way off, for the next 4 days. It was sunny down here and not snowing up there, but clearly a lot colder.

Yet the very next week I saw my first red-bellied black snake in my yard!

Crazy season

creepers
nashi pearsWith temperatures veering from 13 to 35 degrees, neither the fauna nor the flora know what’s going on here.

The snakes don’t know whether to hibernate or hunt, I’ve had to bring out the winter woollies, the autumn crocus are blooming and the ornamental grapevine began changing into its autumn colours only halfway through summer, while still putting out new green shoots.

On top of that we had 251mm in January: that’s nearly 10 inches, old style!! The track’s a squelchy mess, the back roof’s leaking and I’m sick of wearing gumboots.

And while I’m having a whinge, the king parrots and the crimson rosellas have eaten more than their share of nashi pears.

But I shouldn’t have worried. I’ve picked what’s left and now I’m condemned to nashi-ing for days: nashi butter, nashi and ginger jam, nashi Bavarian, nashi and date and walnut chutney, nashis in red wine…

Anyone got any more recipes?