Re: [gardeners] Tales from the Bamboo Thicket

Diane Birmingham (
Mon, 19 Apr 1999 12:52:18 -0700

Hey George:

Any chili pepper seeds in them thar Bamboo thickets?

Diane in CT

George Shirley wrote:

> Allen and Judy Merten wrote:
> > Hi George,
> >     Did the Yellow Eyed beans ever arrive? Second mailing was in a "mailing
> > pouch" with the little bubble whatcha call its lining the inside.
> Not yet, now I'll be calling my mailman at home to see if he has them. Our town is
> small enough that the mailman, same one for 11 years, is a fishing buddy. I'll let
> you know when I get them.
> >     I wish that I was close enough to come cut some of the big bamboo. Our
> > youngest son went with me today and we cut some more. The location is really
> > kinda spooky. It is right on, in and alongside one of those steep sided creeks
> > that are indicative of flash flooding. Lots of "bottom land" type vegetation,
> > kinda dark. The sunlight that does get through is dappled and all broken up
> > which just makes spotting Copperheads and Canebrake Rattlers more difficult.
> > Keeps one in a "heightened state of awareness" if one knows what one means! If
> > you have never experienced meeting a big Canebrake Rattler at close proximity
> > to your face, you need to get out there and do it before the opportunity to
> > check the soundness of your heart gets away. Opportunities like that don't come
> > around very often.
> Lived in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana most of my life, the native cane
> here doesn't get much diameter but gets tall and hides all 5 of the poisonous
> snakes in the US. Never came face to face with a canebrake rattler but beat a 7
> foot timber rattler to the draw back in the sixties. Good thing I had a change of
> drawers in the truck!
> >     Back in the early '70's I was living in Marshall, Tx, 20 odd miles west of
> > Shreveport, La. Found an enormous canebrake. Some of the stuff was 8 - 10
> > inches in diameter. Cut a bunch of it and made porch swings, lawn furniture,
> > wind chimes, etc.
> See, that's what I'm wanting to do. Did you store it and let it dry first or work
> it green?
> Took it to the Trade Days at Canton, Tx. Stuff sold likecrazy. Took orders for
> more. The day after we got home, back to the canebrake I
> > went. Man, I'm deep inside the canebrake, hot, humid, sweat just arunnin'. I
> > have a good sized bundle of Bamboo to drag out, but decided to cut down what
> > must have been the oldest living bamboo in the cane brake. I was using a hand
> > saw. It was tuff work. I had sawed almost through the trunk when up pops ol'
> > grandmammy Cane Brake Rattlesnake. I mean big.  She had a head as big as my
> > fist, and I have big hands. She's looking at me, looking at her. Wheeww!! That
> > snake was about 2' from my face. I apologized for poking her with my saw,
> > s-l-o-w-l-y backed out of there and retired from cutting anymore bamboo. She
> > was a little bit stirred up but not bad. She would give her rattle a little
> > shake and let it whir a little.
> Probably had her belly full and decided you were more trouble than she wanted to
> deal with.
> >     I could see her when I closed my eyes that night to go to sleep.
> >     Allen
> >     Bastrop Co.
> >     SE Central Tx.
> >
> I think if I got that close to one that size I would never sleep again. Been snake
> bit twice, one as a 7-year old by a ground rattler - didn't even get sick. Second
> time by a copperhead and I had to have the antivenin at the local hospital. Think I
> was 23 or 24 at the time and was clearing a lot we built our first home on. Scared
> Miz Anne worse than it did me. Stayed at the hospital overnight and then back home.
> Reckon big ol' rattler like that would have enough poison to kill you pretty quick.
> We sometimes have a problem with coral snakes in this area, haven't heard of one
> biting anyone in recent years but one of the local hospitals keeps a supply of
> antivenom just in case. Don't think one of those would be able to bite me, they
> have to chew on you to inject their venom and I ain't giving one a chance to taste
> much less chew.
> George, waiting for the sun to warm the ground before I start doing a little
> weeding.