Rattler  Page 3

When you examine the shed skin, it is perfect - every scale, the eye holes, the tail all intact (minus the rattles of course) - though now inside out.  The skin separates at the jaws and they scrape against something to push it back, and crawl right out - inverting the skin.  Amazing!

Another seven button female rattler also visits the kilns this summer.  She is twice the size of Matilda, and is much more active.  A young farming couple from Grant County was visiting last week, and we just about stepped on this one as we were looking up at the solar collector on the roof of the #3 kiln. 

She was leaving the kiln and heading back up the hill above the barn.  Being surprised in the middle of the gravel driveway, this one was quite defensive and gave a very impressive rattle to warn us back.  She retreated to the kiln, coiled at the foot of the stairway to the solar collector, stood her ground, and blocked our intended route. We quickly went to plan B and toured the #2 kiln instead.  "If that snake was on my farm, that snake would be dead!" exclaimed farmer Bill. 

I explained that we see all snakes as part of our natural eco-system.  We respect  nature in all forms and do our best to let nature take her course as we practice  Full Vigor Forestry.  All our lumber and flooring customers know about our      rattlers - it makes Timbergreen Farm a special place to visit.  They tell their friends!  Our rattlesnakes actually help us sell our flooring!

This article is a compilation of several issues of Timbergreetings! - a free e-mail newsletter on Sustainable Forestry written by Jim Birkemeier.  To be included on the mailing list just send me an email and sign up for Timbergreetings!