Seedlings and Snakes: Let the Season Begin!

It was exactly two weeks ago today that Ms. Jeannie got going on her spring garden with the official planting of the seeds. And now here we are just 14 days later with sprouts that look like dancers…

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The cucumbers and the snow peas are winning the race towards bloom day…

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And the okra is not far behind…

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Even the lone zinnia in the rescued and re-purposed pitcher has come to surface. Not doubt happy to have such an exotic home!

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It is always fun to watch how each kind of seed unfurls…

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The dill is dainty…

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…while wax beans look downright pre-historic…

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And then there was the sighting of an actual pre-historic…

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“Just a baby,” said Mr. Jeannie Ology. This “baby” indeed, was three feet long, which was plenty long for the likes of Ms. Jeannie. Hopefully this little one will be gracious enough to stay out of the greenhouse!

Someone’s Been in the Shed…

Or more accurately, Ms. Jeannie should say, something has been in the shed. Take a look…

A snake skin!  Mr. Jeannie Ology was the one to discover it, wrapped in between the prongs of a pitch fork hanging on the shed wall. Yikes – that would be quite a surprise to happen upon. Here’s a closeup of it’s head…where you can even see the skin covering his eyes…

Snake head.

If there is one creature in the natural world that Ms. Jeannie has an honest to god fear of – it would be snakes.  The South is home to some pretty big ones, so as a gardener, Ms. Jeannie has learned to be cautious about where she goes digging.

This snake skin measures  just over 47″ inches long and at it’s fattest area 1″inch around. Holy moley – that’s a big one!

The fattest part of the snake measures 1″ inch thick!

Snakes shed the outermost layer of their skin as they grow. Unlike humans, as we grow and expand, so does our skin. But as snakes grow, their skin only has so much capacity for extra give. So they shed what no longer fits and moves (or in this case slithers) along in life.

Illustration from The Question and Answer Book of Nature by John Saunders circa 1962. Available for sale in Ms. Jeannie’s shop. Click the photo for more info.

They do this shedding fairly often, more frequently when they are youngsters growing into adults (as much as once a month) but once they reach adulthood their growth slows down quite a bit, so shedding slows down to once every two or three months.   This still seems like a lot to Ms. Jeannie.  At those rates, you would think that we would come across more snake skins then we do.

Funny enough, as mentioned above, their was a small section on snake shedding in the nature book  Ms. Jeannie has for sale in her shop…

The Question and Answer Book of Nature by John Saunders and illustrated by Donald Moss.
Page 20…Why Does a Snake Shed its Skin ?
Complete with illustrations from world renowned illustrator, Donald Moss.

Ms. Jeannie just knew this book would come in handy for both kids and adults! The illustration in the book features a timber rattlesnake, which got Ms. Jeannie to thinking about what kind of snake her skin is from.

While trying to identify the type of skin, Ms. Jeannie discovered a website where you can send in photos of your snake skins for free identification. So she just sent her pictures off.  We’ll see what they say!

Mr. Jeannie Ology’s bet is that it belongs to a black snake. Do you have a guess? If so, comment below and we’ll put your naturalist abilities to test!