Re: [gardeners] Tales from the Bamboo Thicket

George Shirley (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Mon, 19 Apr 1999 15:25:27 -0500

Diane Birmingham wrote:

> 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.
>
> --
> MZ

Went out today. Sorry about that but grubbing for food got in the way. ;-)

George