By the time I returned to Blue-Merle Vineyard I was feeling pretty good and even better after inspecting the traps Bluey and I had set that morning by the border of the Crazy Lady's property where the gophers had infiltrated in a coordinated counter offensive trying to outflank our defenses and there he was, the infiltrator, ally of the Crazy Lady, dead in his tracks.
This is the first time you've read about the Crazy Lady in this narrative and when you live in the country every community has one. She's the person who drinks more than you and staggers up to your house yelling she's against a winery in the neighborhood because it will attract too many drunks. There's an old proverb about letting dogs and crazy ladies lie and I believe it which has limited our ability to launch a preemptive strike against the gophers and the squirrels on her side of the demilitarized zone, providing them a safe haven to wax strong and borrow their Ho Chi Min trails and supply lines onto our property and invade, when we may need her approval for our winery permits in the future.
As I walked the path lightning struck again at the same place (it's not supposed to do that!) and my jaw dropped in disbelief as another snake appeared at the same location as the week before. Fortunately, Bluey had taken the high road through the fruit orchard or would have walked right upon his mortal enemy as I almost did (especially after a few glasses of wine). After positive identification of the viper's pointed head I dispatched the Diamondback, and hurried to cover up the evidence as the Queen ascended the mountain. Is it cheating on your wife to hide from her the fact you just killed a snake? Or, in her case is ignorance bliss? One rattlesnake on a path is a coincidence but two in one week is a conspiracy and it's clear that the gophers and the snakes have entered an unholy alliance against us.
"Connie, we're under attack. Are you alright?" She sounded a bit shaken with a tint of slurred speech. "What happened?"
"Sounds like you need another beer."
"The Bishop is coming on Sunday and I need to pack up three cases for the Diocese. I'll get you some more after I take care of him."
"Connie, you'll be fine. Thanks for defending the Blue-Merle. Remember the Alamo and don't forget what the gophers did to our last, remaining 25-year old kiwi plant. Somebody has to pay."
"Now you tell me. I just threw it over the fence. I guess its relatives will be back soon, right?" I thought for a moment and announced: "I've got an idea...."