Flat out Silly

A few years back our niece sent me a “Flat Stanley” but created and styled to look more like her fabulous self. 👑
If you hadn’t guessed already, I am exactly the type of person who your child should send a Flat Stanley or Flat Savannah to!

I added the scorpion lollipop 🤣🌵

At that time I was volunteering at a local museum. Me and my new flat pal went everywhere!!

This reminded me of quite possibly THE best prank ever pulled on me by a few of the funniest and most creative individuals I was blessed with befriending at the Phx Zoo.

Our Experience Team was sent a Flat Stanley. I was thrilled and also put in charge of it!! With an entire Zoo at my disposal, plus being the Senior at the time (meaning I had access to some seriously cool stuff!!) I all but lost my mind at the chance to goof off on that level and take photos all in the name of education!!!

Yes I was standing there !! Yes Paige took me out there on my very last day 👑💚yes this was a screen shot from my computer because nothing was cooperating this morning!!! Zuri and Makope 💚👑
I am obviously the less smarter of the two of us 🤣 Thank You Jessica for a last day I’ll never forget ❤️

I treated that Flat Stanley like VIP! We went to the best of it all!

On my day off my evil friends Michelle CN and Ben Brose plus who knows who else was in on it, ( you all know who you are!) started sending me photos of my Flat Stanley roaming the Zoo! 😳


Stanley was on the zip line !

Stanley was going nuts!

Next thing I know Stanley has a sling on his arm and crutches !!😳


I start losing my shit at these two via text screaming that I have to send this thing back on behalf of the PHX Zoo!! Wtf are you doing?!?( super professional but it was my day off and I now have a Flat Stanley with a leg cast, an arm in a sling , crutches they have made …)

Uh laughing their asses off behind the scenes. 🤣🤣💚That’s what they were doing!

They had made a duplicate Stanley on the copier and were hell bent to turn him into the next star of Jackass!!🤣🤣🤣🤣 I don’t have photos of this mayhem but if you guys do please share !

Omg did they get me good!🤬😤😂🤣😂We all had harassed each other before by doing dumb stuff to our desks ect . But this was brilliant.

Fit for a Princess 👑
Michelle my pretty pretty princess


Now that I have the nonprofit Desert Nature Alliance and am
free of serious pranksters! I would love to get more Flat Whoever’s and enjoy sharing more of this desert with whoever wants too!!!#goodtimes #flatstanley

That’s a wrap

Invasive Species

I am going to challenge YOU.

Are YOU an invasive species?
Have YOU moved far from YOUR basic area of origin only to forcibly try to recreate where YOU came from in an entirely different environment ?

Why?

Did you adapt to your new environment or did you move there and simply continue your habits and behaviors and even disrupt the ecosystem by building homes with concrete walls to stop that awful wildlife from entering??? Did you poison “weeds”?

Do you suggest to anyone who will listen that shooting a native animal to the area you plopped yourself in is the answer to all problems ???

DId you seek out your new community when you arrived ?

How is it any different when a human does this and causes harm to an area they are not remotely from by their attitudes and bad behavior but when an animal does it ….

Well, we know how the animals get treated .

Compare Contrast Videos from the DNA

Next Educational Video Coming SOON From The
Desert Nature Alliance
“Compare and Contrast:
Coyote vs Your Spoiled Dog”
In this video we will explore some obvious and not so obvious ways we treat these two canine relatives SO differently. Get ready. I’m not going into this one with soft gloves.
If you haven’t already, head over to YouTube to our channel ( oh so Stace and the Desert Nature Alliance) and watch a few of my education conversations. All are designed to be used in conjunction with classroom learning,#stem and #steam education. the DNA has created lessons to help you follow along.

You can find lessons on our website http://www.desertnatureallianceaz.org Not designed for small children or sensitive viewers due to the graphic nature of some of the discussions and examples shown, yet entry level so all of us who are interested in science, nature, biology ect. can share ideas, learn and grow. Use our videos for your own lectures or classes ! Please contact us with ideas or topics we could cover. Videos from us directly to your classroom are available. Please support our mission by donating today 💚🌵☀️ #compareandcontrast #coyote #domestic #wild #canine #dog fund us now on tik tok, Instagram, FB, WordPress, Linkd, and our YouTube channel.

Baby Rattlesnakes are Hard to See

Last night out, by the dumpster, barely visible until it’s almost too late, too young and too small of nubs to really rattle and warn a predator away. Curled into the usual floppy disc position, a tiny baby rattlesnake.

A rattle snake is born with a tiny nub at the end of its tail. As it grows it sheds its skin. Every time it sheds, a new segment is formed on the rattle. The rattle doesn’t tell how old a snake is. That just shows how many times this snake has shed, plus the rattle can easily break off. Snakes vibrate their tails when nervous. Even my pet gopher snake will do it. But rattlesnakes do it to try to warn you to back away. They don’t chase you. They stay coiled and the rattling becomes serious until they feel threatened enough to rear up and strike a pose . At that point you are in a crap position and need to back away fast.

All rattlesnakes are deadly and need to be dealt with respect . Losing your fingers, hand or life ( let’s not even discuss how incredibly expensive anti venom from any hospital is!!!) is almost certain if you were to try to pick one up. It is a huge NO.

You can NOT let your guard down when you live in the desert and you know you live along with rattlesnakes. So small and at night I am assuming it is a Western Diamondback ( extremely common here) or a Mojave as was suggested to me online.

Temperature, weather , dictates the probability of seeing any snake. It was still in the 80s last night. October 14th. Our heat hasn’t trailed off enough for the snakes to brumate yet. They don’t hibernate like bears do. Look it up.

Be careful and use a flash light! But as you can see, this tiny danger noodle would be almost impossible to see in daylight due to the natural camouflage. #Rattlesnake #babyrattlesnake #desertlife #naturebased #stem #steameducation

The Black Keys, Band of Horses at Ak-Chin a Review

There are very few bands that, when my phone alerts me Monday morning tickets are still available for Monday night half the state away, I hit buy now. The Black Keys are one of those bands.

My introduction to the Black Keys came from my husband Jay years ago. He always find the best new music. For me “Howling For You” seemed like my theme song , being born raised desert and loving coyotes. But it was “Gold on the Ceiling”and “Lonely Boy” when the Black Keys became one of Stacys favorite bands.

I live out in Gold Canyon, East side of the Valley of the Sun. Roughly an hour drive to get to Ak Chin for a concert starting at 7pm on a Monday night. For those of you who might be unaware, our freeways on the West Coast are massive ( picture 7 lanes, one direction, driving into the setting sun, going 65 mph minimum if it’s not dead stopped, full of cars and trucks ) Deciding to jump into that nonsense and danger to drive 100 miles round trip when you work from home is a big deal.

Opening for the Keys were the Velveteers and Band of Horses. Arriving late due to the heavy traffic, I got to listen to what was a very energetic and bombastic ending to the Velveteers set from the Ak Chin ladies bathroom. Therefore I can not give a review of their performance.

However, we were present for Band of Horses and we both said Neigh! I want to blame their sound tech for a chunk of it. We truly could not hear one word lead singer Ben Bridwell sang clearly. For a “Band” who has been together producing music for as long as they have ( formed in 2004) I expected better sound quality and a better live performance.

The bands “logo” makes zero sense with what looks like a Coyote with the words Band of Horses around it. Boring, flat uninspired, trying to make it big sounding band is the best I can say. Not worth the drive in the least. Two fans of theirs stood behind us and seemed excited for at least one song. If there was rhythm to dance or move or sway to trust me, I was in the mood to do so, I came to see the Keys, but the horses let me down. I took the lag in entertainment as my opportunity to go check out the merchandise and grab a shirt.

The intro for the Black Keys was a silly video

Keys Lead Singer Dan Auerbach sounded great. Drummer Patrick Carney pounding away. Of course it was hot, 80 at night, it’s Arizona, but the fans overhead blowing helped a bit. Only complaint I really had was the smells wafting around Ak Chin. Sewer? I don’t know but it had moments of pew.

I will admit that during the show, while they indulged themselves playing a jam type session of old music along with old friends they rolled out on stage ( KB!) my mind wandered off to the gossip and drama surrounding Pat and his baby momma and soon to be ex Michelle Branch.

Pat’s a good sized guy. He pounds on drums for a living. Though I’m not attracted to him, plenty of folks are attracted to guys in bands. There has never been any secret that guys in bands are far from faithful given the smorgasbord of offerings nightly. Michelle is also a singer and performer. She must tour once in awhile though I’m not sure females get sex tossed at them in the same manner or as much as a dude in a band or even hanging around near a band. So staying home, having babies with a drummer, is literally a recipe for being cheated on. No surprises there. The surprise is hearing she tried to kick his ass! He’s huge Michelle, but I feel ya girl! I’d smack my man too for cheating but yours is in the Black Keys! Shoulda figured he was bad.

Overall the Black Keys sound and performance was on point but I felt like there were times they had the crowd up dancing and singing only to slow everyone down to sitting. If I had my way we would be dancing and Howling for you all night.

The Keys stalled us out until the encore for our Lonely Boy dance along. Was well worth the 100 mile round trip drive to exercise my demons dancing and singing on a Monday night. Been too long since I let my hair down and flung it around. I gotta love that keeps me waiting …

Guided Tour of Our New Storefront for the Desert Nature Alliance

As a newly developed nature based nonprofit who devotes itself to loving this desert here in Gold Canyon AZ and keeping us all safely enjoying it, I would like to invite you to follow me on this tour and experience what we have to offer. Being small and brand new, any support you can offer is greatly appreciated.

Come Visit Me!

Open Thursdays and Fridays 12-8pm Saturdays and Sunday’s 9-6pm.

She Works Hard For No Money So You Better Treat Her Right: the story of one female’s nonprofit startup journey

Part 1

I pull my truck into the small empty parking lot and park. Tears staining my cheeks. One argument first thing in the morning too many. I’m running out of options. I sit and stare at the empty spaces in the old plaza. The location is great but there’s little life or foot traffic. Is it even worth the effort to get out and peek in the windows? How am I going to afford this?

For some reason I’m drawn to an open space on the end near locked, but for public use bathrooms. I peak in. Immediately my creative brain wants to decorate. I can’t take this as a “sign” because my brain does this with any empty space it sees. But I do see the possibility.

I look around and notice there is a Uhaul rental in this plaza so I head over. It’s early and by the posted sign they aren’t even open but dogs run up to the door then a women answers. Nice enough she lets me in and finds the contact information for the plaza rentals.

Back in the truck heading home I just want to throw up. Nothing I had planned for the last few years was really going to work the way I had hoped or dreamed. It wasn’t falling into place. If anything it was falling apart and I needed to make some serious life decisions. But at this point, not counting my husbands keeping me fed and a roof over my head, I was broke.

Once Covid hit I made the decision, stayed home and put my life and soul into the tiny non profit I had created, the Desert Nature Alliance. My DNA, literally blood, sweat and too many tears. Mine. Though making videos and keeping up with my online presence was starting to gain traction, money was not . YouTube wanted thousands more subscribers than I had. Instagram didn’t find me influencing. My friends and followers were solid and truly encouraging me to grow but they aren’t millionaires.

The gravel driveway gives away my return. The tension in the house still lingers. A lot of it is my fault and I know it. My frustration at life in general had turned me into a growling, sharp toned bitch blaming him for breathing. Mad, angry, burning inside from a life of hard work that never got rewarded but instead came with bosses, customers and clients insults and abuse. Forcing my way out of the employee role and into the Queen Boss Bitch was my goal. Money had never been the pinnacle, but to actually make a difference was where I was headed. A true Nonprofit.

Filling my detached garage and multiple sections of my home were parts of the bigger picture. Half of the garage had become my museum, housing my collection of bones and skulls, my workshop, home to making all of my YouTube videos. Inside my house were pieces of furniture and items I dreamed one day I could house altogether museum style with my collection like the old wooden organ from the 1800s, a style clash with our actual personal tastes.

But my dreams of people coming way out to visit the DNA on our property weren’t coming true. It was not convenient. It was awkward. Sure, I had really cool things to see and learn from and the view is to die for but the reality was I needed to meet my audience half way. But how? I had no income.

I walked into the house and tried my best to stammer out where I had just been and that maybe I had been very wrong. By forcing my dreams into one location (safe at home) I limited so many possibilities to really grow. But the right timing and finding myself needed to happen. Stripped of all but pride, I asked for help. Was there anyway in the world he could give this awful woman who he claims to have loved for the last 25 years enough money to pay first and deposit on a public space? Did he believe in me like that? Did I believe in me like that?

Magic Bug

Sitting outside in front of my mini DNA museum/workshop, melting in the Arizona sun, I am doing the very unglamorous part of my field work, cleaning up recently found bird parts and bits (I have a special permit, don’t trip out, I’m legal) Using a bucket of rain water to clean my hands and what not, out of the corner of my eye I see something bizarre.

Whoa!

Iridescent green is catching the intense sun and beaming from the bucket next to me. The color is so glorious and shimmering I’m immediately mesmerized.

Born and raised desert , using all the animal knowledge I possess, I’m only vaguely familiar with what I am staring at. My limited background around insects tells me it’s a huge beetle. I can’t identify it further than that without Google. But honestly, look at it!! Such a fabulous looking beetle, covered head to toes with an insane level of iridescent green sparkle, this beetle must be part of the community.🌈 These shimmering creatures probably only vacation here in Gold Canyon. The monsoon rains must have ushered them in. Honestly I have no clue if this type of beetle is even dangerous or deadly. End of my TED Talk.

Okay?!?!

I scoop it out of the water and onto a stack of paper to dry. I’m covered in flies and sweat and filth and need to clean up and go shower before taking pictures of my new green friend and finding it a place in the collection.

I’m special and I know it.

The AZ sun is so intense it makes outdoor photography hard at certain times of the day. I wanted to make sure I could capture all the colors bouncing of this beetles entire body. Exhausted from working in the heat, I figured I would come up with a better lighting situation after a shower and a bong load.

Sitting at the table, talking to my husband about work, debating on whether I should eat or nap, Jay looks over at the beetle on my desk and says “ uh babe, it’s moving”

What? No…I took that crazy looking thing out of a bucket full of water almost 30 minutes ago! It’s alive?

Can’t stop won’t stop just keep movin

Why yes, it was.

And still is! After I took enough photos and videos of this insane looking creature we moved it to under a flowering bush in the shade . Good luck you fabulous green flying machine 🌵💚👍

Magic Bug! I want it, I want it, I want it…

Trying Korean Corn Dogs in Arizona because of British 8th Graders

One day while mindlessly scrolling through YouTube latest suggestions I landed on a video who’s title alone sucked me in immediately. “British 8th Graders try Korean Corndogs for the first time”. Intrigued, I had to find out what made a corn dog Korean.

I am desert born and raised. I live in Gold Canyon Arizona. Tucson is known for a Sonoran Dog but that’s an entirely different meal altogether and it definitely wouldn’t stay on a stick very well. I’m very familiar with Hot Dog on a Stick, the 1980s style mall food famous for young pretty girls in goofy uniforms doing crazy pogo like moves while making buckets of fresh lemonade. They made really yummy fresh coated, fresh fried corndogs I would dip into half ketchup half mustard. They also made “cheese on a stick” but rarely, if ever, did I eat one. I don’t tend to go to the fair but on those occasions that I have I didn’t enjoy the oversized over coated over priced semi warm ones I bought.

As I watched the video I could tell immediately the coating on these Korean corn dogs came with a really nice crunch. Being a big fan of fried foods, they had me at that irresistible crunchy sound. The British boys with their cute manners giggled realizing these magic corn dogs were covered in sugar! Personally my brain exploded at the thought that someone finally heard my prayers and put salt and fried and sweet and meat and hot sweet dipping sauces all on a stick! Hallelujah sugar coated corndogs!!! Genius!

I grew jealous as I watched the boys devour their corndogs with delight. My last corndog from Sonic was so awful and misshapen from what looked like they put it in a panini press I didn’t eat it. I refuse to buy the frozen ones. There is no Weinerschnitzle around here and they don’t put sugar on their corndogs anyways. No, these special sugary hotdog on a stick treats were something I needed to try!

Maybe it’s an American thing, I don’t know , but my brain was pretty confident that even though I was in the middle of one of the hottest deserts on the planet, no where even remotely near Korea, I would be able to find a legit Korean Corndog if I Googled it.

In Mesa!

I might be in Arizona but yes of course the Valley of the Sun has Korean Corndogs in multiple locations! We chose Mesa for our first try.

We stood at the outdoor sign for a minute trying to decide but figured let’s just go inside and look around.

Dipping Combos

Cheese Mustard. I can say it over and over but it still doesn’t seem to make sense. Cheese Mustard.

I tend to chat with whoever is helping me either at the counter or the server who takes the order when it’s my first time and I’m really not sure what to get. I want to enjoy my experience. Sometimes just hearing what is or isn’t on an item helps me decide. The young lady that helped us was great. Obviously it was our first time by our gawking at the menu but she didn’t call us out on it! I truly hate staff that condescendingly ask “is this your first time?” No, I eat daily. I am at fault for being too preoccupied with corndogs and fillings to catch her name so please excuse the random ways I’m referring to such a sweet girl. She aimed us at the ones that were half cheese half hotdog, one original, one with potatoes on the outside, so we could get a sample of quite a few varieties and dipping choices. A great way to get started! We chose bottled water as our drink. Keep the liquid simple so all the new flavors could shine.

Where to start first ?

I decided to try my first bite with no sauces. Hot gooey cheese comes stretching out of the crispy sugary coating nothing like a standard corn dog coating at all. My mouth is at first confused then wants to smile. Textures and flavors seem to go together when they shouldn’t? The Siracha and Mayo dipping sauce made the most sense to me so I went for it. Sugar, Siracha, Cheese, Salt, Crunchy , Chewy Cheese… eyes close.

I yank the stick out and flip my sugar coated wonder over to get to the hot dog side.

Next up was the corndog with the potatoes and sugar on the outside. I really liked the potatoes and hotdog combo. The stretchy cheese becomes too much for me but I also didn’t have a beer. That might be the game changer for me and the cheese.

One Korean corndog was more than enough to fill me up. The prices were very affordable. Would I go back to Myungrang? Absolutely. The staff were friendly, the place was clean, the food was fun and yummy at a price you can afford. Next door a new dessert place is going in! That’s reason enough to make a trip back over to Mesa.

Entertainment while you wait for your corndogs!
Yummmmmmm

Hey All Arizona Birds! Look Out! PHX Home and Garden “Suggests” We Should “Avoid the Temptation to Poison You!!”

This actually should read Never Poison Birds because you are unhappy. ALL wildlife is desirable 🌵💚 Find a better solution not search for poison!

Before I launch into my thoughts I am going to post a series of pictures I’ve taken of just some of the local Arizona birds who swing by my seeds or water. I have no way of telling certain birds they are not welcomed due to color ( that’s really what it is all about isn’t it Home and Garden? Being “desirable” A pigeon is a no. Is a Dove is ok? Or only the White Winged ones Stevie Nicks sings about? Maybe just the white ones sent off for a wedding?What about a Quail?)

I’ve already started, I’m too irritated not too. To print that Poisoning Birds was ever an alternative at all was quite irresponsible. Our state has protected species.

Can Mrs. Nosy Neighbor identify these baby birds? No Nancy these aren’t baby Pigeons. Are they Desirable now ????
Not a pigeon. Hey Oriole! Don’t eat the poison that’s just for the Pigeons !
Don’t Eat The Poison Pigeon Food!
Is there poison in the juice ?
There’s poison in the food?
I’ll watch
I’ll wait…

Disappointing on such a huge level that a publication like Phoenix Home and Garden didn’t take the time or effort to give better advice than to not contemplate killing an animal that bothers you .

Irresponsible also on an enormous level to suggest certain birds are desired and others should die. Based on what PHG? Is that how the affluent do it? Your neighbors idea of what a “good bird” is decides what lives or dies? To flippantly say that sure, you probably can’t find such a product on the shelf smacks of your entitlement as if you or anyone should be able to buy products that kill our local wildlife!!!!

If any wild animal becomes a problem there are resources to help. Not bothering to mention any of the help Arizona has available besides death or an evil HOA is again, completely irresponsible for such a large publication!

Phoenix Home and Garden, you didn’t bother to edit this piece with any sensitivity. You chose to mock those who love birds and who watch them and you are a GARDEN magazine!! The Audubon must be something you aren’t familiar with or Global Big Day where we, the whole world counts the birds!

So I am going to suggest everyone avoid the urge to buy a Phoenix Home and Garden magazine even from Bookmans until they can support the wildlife here in Phoenix and all of AZ.

Emotionally What It’s Like to See a Rattlesnake

youtube.com/watch

https://youtu.be/ZWjbsEIARTs

I would love it if you popped over to my YouTube channel Oh So Stace and the Desert Nature Alliance for this video and more. I started making videos to work on my public speaking at first but started to enjoy it more and more. The education I can share for free and in my own style with no editing feels liberating! My channel has over 400 videos now. Some are of me sharing my desert love and safety tips, but most are of the wildlife living here in Gold Canyon Arizona. https://youtu.be/ZWjbsEIARTs

Where am I? What did I come here for?

I step inside the door, away from the intense Arizona heat, to the freezing sensation of cold air being blown at me. I stop. It takes my body a minute to adjust and not faint. The long walk across the huge parking lot in triple digit heat has me dripping sweat through to my bra. The cold air has turned my sweat into wet and I am shivering. Take off my sunglasses and toss them into my purse. I squint as the lights inside are too bright, not sunlight bright, fluorescent bright and now I am questioning whether I should put my glasses back on or let my eyes water and adjust.

Popular music from the 1980’s is playing loudly. I don’t mind it. The songs bring me back to high school and are surprisingly not the typical, overplayed top forty. I sing along as I go. There are very few people around me so I feel less awkward and self conscious being alone, blurry eyed and still so sweaty .

I turn the corner and see all the seats at the bar are full. Puzzled, I grab my phone to check the time. It couldn’t be after noon already? No, it was still 11:30 am or so. I hadn’t lost time. It was still fairly early and during the middle of the week. Out of curiosity I look over to see what everyone is drinking. Mostly beers and wines.

At this point in my life I am not much of a drinker at all. I am a stoner. Drinking beer, any time of the day, is really not appealing to me. Morning or night, the flavor is kind of gross. I will drink one with sushi or chips and salsa but I really can’t seem to drink more than a few sips of beer before I feel really full and have to pee. I can not imagine drinking wine that early in the morning either. I can and do imagine myself smoking a bowl that early, so no judgements here.

Years ago an intoxicated girlfriend once told me her stellar wine drinking philosophy which I actually stand by to this day.

Her: “You don’t drink wine so I’ll show you. It’s three sips! It’s the three sip rule! Ok so the first sip you take is like ugh what am I drinking? The second sip is like ok this isn’t thaaaat bad. Then by the third sip you’re like hey?!? this shits good! And there you have it! You’re drinking wine!”

This handy yet somewhat slurred advice got me through my first glass of red wine at a formal business party with out me making a complete ass of myself and is how I have judged “good” wine ever since. If I do not need to take “three sips” before I am smiling and claiming “this shits good!” please go buy another bottle!

I am now staring at the bar and realize if I don’t stop day dreaming I am never going to get out of this Grocery Store and finish my errands.

Yes, I am at the grocery store!

This mammoth sized freezing cold building I have entered contains everything from Starbucks to patio furniture to clothing to flowers to a Pharmacy. I can easily get my 10,000 steps in here anytime I come without a shopping list. Complete with blaring 80s music and a wine/ beer bar if you need a drink for the strength or courage to finish “filling the house with food so you can eat this week” grocery shopping!

I am NOT in Walmart. That, to me, is the funny part. I expect Walmart to be huge and carry every item imaginable. I expect Walmart to be a somewhat crazy, disorienting experience with music in the parking lot that is not the same music playing inside the store. If I dress badly or oddly enough, I could and probably should end up online as one of their infamous shoppers! A Walmart excursion at this point in my life requires a day to mentally prepare that I am going, then a two day rest period after to recover. Walmart doesn’t have a bar.

But I guess my local grocery stores need to compete with Walmart and Target so, step right up ! Beer and Wine is now being served! Take the edge off that inflated food bill! One more round you wont care how much ground beef is per pound!

The Bar at Fry’s

I am standing with my empty cart next to self serve donuts. There is Sushi, a deli and a bakery on my left with a bar serving drinks to my right. Up ahead of me is frozen fish. Rock the Kasbah is playing loudly in the middle.

It’s almost Noon and I probably should have eaten before coming. I have no idea what I am supposed to be shopping for anymore and have left my list at home. My brain wanders to what it must be like to be the bartender at the grocery store.

Do grocery store bartenders get hit on like the ones in a club? Do random grocery shoppers ask the bartender to send a drink to an attractive stranger at the end of the bar? Omg does the grocery store bartender really get to watch two random grocery shoppers start drinking then hook up? How far is the bathroom from the bar? The mental images and questions flood in.

My experience with bartenders is from back in the days when I was much younger and would go party on the weekends with friends after work. Taking shots of whatever liquor was sent to the table, my happy place was out on the dance floor. I have never told a bartender my life story but I have been cut off from being served, kicked out, and once, in Vegas, had a bartender grab my entire right arm and wildly tape a glass to my hand because I accidently dropped my last drink into the part of a slot machine where your coins come out!

My brain drifts off again…Do grocery store drinkers get rowdy? Does it become a party in here after 5? I can’t be trusted around an open olive bar after a glass of wine!!!

The lady behind the bakery counter is now staring at me. I’ve hovered around the cookies and sliced cakes with an empty cart this entire time staring at the bar. We make eye contact. She cocks her head to the side as asks “Can I help you?” in a tone more or less suggesting I was mentally unstable rather than was I looking for a tart. I laugh and say “no I’m good.” I cut her slack mostly because I have never had to work all day around delicious sugary treats I can not eat and stare at a bar I can not drink at. The frustration seems real. And yes, I am sure I looked weird at this point. Time for me to finish shopping, or start and get out of there.

I wind up buying maybe half of what I actually needed. The distractions in the store beat me this time. I will have to return, with a list.

doin’ the rattlesnake shake…

We both see it at the same time. It’s laying in the road up ahead. Is it dead? And what kind is it?

We slow down to a crawl to get a better look. It’s a rattler.

No longer alive, yet I’m still terrified. The head took the impact of this hit and run. The rattle broken off and gone. But this has happened recently. The body is squishy and warm.

My husband knows what’s going to happen next. I want it. I want this snake so it’s life wasn’t wasted. It will come teach with me at the museum. The skin will educate.

He also knows he was the one driving and pulled over so….

But honestly, my brain was on pickle ball just minutes ago so mentally I am a disaster now.

We had gotten up early and were heading over to a park in Apache Junction that has nice, free outdoor courts. I am dressed for pickle ball not roadkill recovery. I don’t want to smell. I’m positive neither does my husband. We also don’t drive an open truck. We have an Expedition that I put things in I shouldn’t. There really isn’t a way to describe what a few week dead coyote smells like. It’s currently down in the shed waiting it’s turn to become educational…I will write about that later.

Grabbing a box, we scooped up the dead snake, put the lid on and threw it in the back of the car. My brain has basically exploded at this point. Yuck!, gross!, OMG this is super cool!, how am I doing this?, what am I doing? I don’t know how… must go to youtube, oh yeah pickle ball.

Adrenaline.

Up until this past April, I had never seen a rattlesnake in the wild. I am born and raised desert. Now, thanks to living around the Superstition Mountain and working at a museum with a very old barn and stamp mill, I have.

They are terrifying. A living, moving, breathing diamondback is beautiful and deadly at the same time. I have great respect for our wildlife. I don’t really have it in me to be the one who would kill a snake. It would have to be attacking my dog or something where I was defending. I’m more catch and release.

Hitting the pickle ball around for a while was greatly needed but still didn’t drain my anxiety. I brought the rattler home, I was going to have to skin it. I have absolutely no idea how.

youtube.

I find some crazy dude in Florida that sounds like someone I would hang out with and watch his video. His snake is huge, but in Florida they have all kinds of crazy reptiles so the one he had was probably average and he was right at home working with it.

But watching and doing are two entirely different things.

This snake body I have is squishy. I have no real area or tools dedicated to this new hobby of mine. I improvise.

Though my husband is awesome, supportive and a Marine, no he is not going to touch this. He hands me an axe and protective eye wear.

The mangled head must go. Again, I am new, this is my first beheading. I am having an out of body experience. I tell myself it’s already dead and I’m just cleaning it but that doesn’t slow the high- speed train of adrenaline pulsating through me.

I have scissors dedicated to this sort of thing after I used them to remove the skin from a Javelina corpse.

I will spare you the rest. How anyone would eat snake I don’t know.IMG_1256

I get parchment paper and lay the skin out flat but realize this is going to make jerky quickly since it’s 100 degrees outside before noon. I go back to my youtube guy and see that if I want my skin soft and pliable I need to soak it.

So that’s where we are now. Soaking.