Just give me some acreage, seeds, tools… Reflections of an Ecology Action Intern

By Pauline Montemayor

Montemayor mug shotI killed a rattlesnake. I didn’t think I had it in me, but I did. Before anyone calls PETA on me, there’s good reason as to why the snake had to go. One, the snake was just outside the entrance to the garden and could have easily bitten an unsuspecting passerby. It was also a juvenile rattlesnake that barely had its rattle, therefore we’d have been more unlikely to hear its warnings. Two, Kevin, my housemate, had already concussed it so I felt it was better to put it out of its misery. I decapitated it and buried its head. Why the latter? A lot of the people I told the story to have asked me that. The thing about snakes (especially the venomous types), apart from being slightly hypnotizing to watch, is that their nervous systems remain active sometimes hours after decapitation. What this means is that the snake can still bite and inject venom. Therefore burying the head is much safer for everyone around. Additionally, since this was a juvenile snake there was no telling how much venom would be injected if it were to bite.

Now that it’s been cleared up, here’s an update. As far as work goes, it hasn’t been monotonous in the least bit, which is definitely a good thing for someone like me. I’m the type that checks out once I feel like I’m simply going through the motions of work, and when that happens I feel very restless. In this time I’ve also found which tasks I’m much happier doing, and those are the ones that require lots of movement and manual labor. Weeding plants, and other tasks that require some degree of meticulousness have become something that can only be done in short spurts. I’ve learned that I need a challenge, something to distract me from the heat of the day. Therefore U-barring and clearing beds have become my favorites and tasks that I am sometimes specifically assigned to.

Outside of work, I have become more friendly with members of the community and have been participating in their nightly dinners. As a result I’ve been finding myself more and more attached to this place and I’m dreading the day that I have to leave. It’s peaceful here and I often find myself relaxed by the sounds of all the animals outside (even the loud horse whinnies). My only bad experience thus far has been the one regarding a snake in the bathroom and me having to come to the rescue. Because, really. Who could expect that?

I feel like this experience has motivated me even more into buying a plot of land and putting a farm on top of it. Forget a fairy-tale wedding, or a giant mansion. Just give me some acreage, seeds, tools, and a plethora of animals and I’ll be happy. Bonus points if I also have a 1970’s Toyota Land Cruiser.

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