Essex 7-24-10

The sewer project in the village is much in evidence now, with tree cutting opposite the fire house and land clearing behind the library, where a major pump station will be located. Sewage from around the village will flow by gravity to the rear of the ECHO parking lot, where it will be pumped uphill to the treatment plant. The treatment plant will be started first, followed by the collection system. It's expected that work will start in the village streets in about a month.

Apparently, we're having a very good year for rattlesnakes, as calls about problem snakes are on the increase. The snakes in question are timber rattlesnakes, Crotalus horridus, which are native from southern New Hampshire to the Gulf Coast. In Essex, they dwell in the Split Rock Mountain area, preferring deciduous hardwoods and rugged terrain. These are large, stocky snakes that average from 3 to 5 feet in length, and are active from April to mid-October. They feed on small mammals as well as birds and frogs, and other snakes. They are well camouflaged and can be difficult to spot. They make a buzzing sound like an angry bee, not a rattle at all. If you are hiking and hear a loud buzzing, stop, stay calm and look around. Back away slowly if you can, or if the snake is very close, stand still, don't move, and wait for him to leave. Timber rattlers can travel up to 3 miles from their dens seeking prey. The Whallons Bay and Couchey Hill areas are where they most commonly encounter humans, although about 20 years ago a nest was found in Whallonsburg.

It's been dry in my vegetable garden, but the sweet corn and pole beans are delighted with the hot weather. Our water well is rather limited in capacity, which means sharing the hose with Amy. She incorrectly thinks flowers have the same importance as vegetables, but with careful scheduling, all of our gardens get their fair share.

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