Monday, March 18, 2013


It’s interesting how it’s like you have two dictionaries in your head. One full of words you know what they mean, but the second is full of words where there are vivid, living definitions that leap that will forever follow the use of that word for you. This weekend I added a word to my ‘living’ dictionary—that word was puff adder.

Jill and I were finishing our Sunday lunch when I heard my cat hiss at something in the kitchen. Now this is not usual, and the answering hiss I heard back convinced me that this was something I needed to go investigate—NOW. When I went to the door I saw a snake curled up in front of my screen door, and the cat crouched a couple feet away and watching it with blazing eyes. The snake had chosen it’s spot for a last stand brilliantly from it’s point of view—it was in front of the only accessible exit from the house, and it was also cutting off access to my brooms which might have been of use in dealing with it. However, it was also trapped, and had no way of getting out again.

I put the cat in my room so she wouldn’t get underfoot, and then Jill and I proceeded to watch and decided how to deal with it. I fetched the curtain rod I had in the dining room for Jill, and then got a bucket from my bathroom so I could deal with the immediate threat before the snake met its more permanent end. As I carefully edged into the kitchen, the snake started to hiss loudly and puff itself up alarmingly. I didn’t know how fast it could move, but I sure knew that I didn’t want to find out the hard way. I decided that the bucket would require me to get too close to the angry, frightened reptile, so I stepped back to get a cardboard box. As I did, my skirt brushed my leg and I about jumped through the roof. There was *just a bit* of adrenaline flowing through my system by now!

I fetched the box and managed to successfully toss it over the snake—now the immediate danger of being bitten was dealt with. I then called Pam to have her send Mark and the watchman over. When they arrived, Jill and I pushed the box out the door and onto the porch, the box was pushed off, and the snake met a quick end at the end of a shovel. Praise the Lord!

Of course the ironic thing is that it was St. Patrick’s Day—the guy who supposedly sent all the snakes out of Ireland. Too bad he didn’t come over to Africa too… I knew that there were snakes called puff adders, but I have never considered how they got their name. The memory of that snake puffing and hissing at me has now graven it deep in my mind—PUFF adder. I just hope there aren’t any more of them before I leave! I’m not sure my nerves can stand it…

Other than that, I’ve had a lovely weekend. Lots of sleep, and playing around with a few projects. I can’t believe we’re down to two and a half more weeks!


  1. SO glad you survived!! On another note, I don't know if my iPod is showing your blog incorrectly, but the black writing on dark brown background is really hard to see. Your mom linked to this story from her Xanga blog, so this is the first time I've been here. Oh, and I LOVE your 'living' dictionary concept! It's brilliant -- and so true!!

  2. Thank you SO MUCH for switching to the white print so it is more readable! See you in 19 days!