Philip warned me never to pick up a baby copperhead, since they don’t know how to let go, and so inject all the venom they have. I couldn’t resist. Unlike last year, I thought I might see what the chickens would do. They went berzerk, all chanting in chicken-talk: “Kill the snake! Eat the snake! Rip it to shreds!” What mayhem! One chicken grabbed the snake and ran. Here’s the result, fast and furious, a blurr of blood and scales. The snake hadn’t a chance.
I did find some killer vines with leaves (and thorns):
UPDATE: On second thought, and having looked through umpteen zillion snake pictures, I’m thinking that the snake is an Eastern Fox Snake, a constrictor that will eat anything it can get its mouth around, including rabbits and… and… chickens. At least the eggs! They get to be six feet long. The second one I’ve seen at the hermitage. Non-venomous. O.K.! I’m happy for them to get the rats and mice, but not the chickens or the eggs.
"B"-vines protecting the huge patch of Lady Slipper orchids next to Holy Souls Hermitage
The vines in this picture, taken from the steps of Holy Souls Hermitage, can grow to the tops of the tall trees or spread out at any height horizontally. They have no leaves or flowers that I know about. They have a huge root system. They are very thin, and super long. And… and… they have thorns sharper than any razor wire on the open market. And… and… they seem to be stronger than any braided steel cable known to man. If you get caught in them, don’t think that just plowing forward will get you anywhere. You’ll just start to bleed, badly. You have to stop, take a step back, and disentangle yourself. Not easy. While you’re at it, don’t step unwittingly into a man-eating tree hole filled with horrific spiders.
Analogy: When fighting the world, the flesh and the devil, don’t think that you can just plow forward on your own as if you are going to get anywhere under your own power. You’ll only get yourself into more trouble. Instead… instead… rejoice in the friendship of our Lord Jesus. After all, He knows what it’s like to have a crown of thorns that we smashed onto His head. We shouldn’t destroy ourselves with dark thoughts for having done that. He doesn’t want that. What He does want is for us to rejoice in His overwhelming goodness and kindness.
Now, having said all that, does anyone know the technical name of this vine in the mountains of Western North Carolina? The locals call it a “b*****d vine”, for obvious reasons. But that can’t be the technical name, can it?