About this time of year, as the earth warms and nature is awakening, growing up we were all sat down and Mom and Dad would give us stern warning. Not only were the flowers starting to grow, the little animals starting to show up, but also rattlesnakes were waking, and with the warmer days, they emerged from their dens and started to shed their skins. At this time they were particularly dangerous, as they were almost blind, and very cranky. We always had to carry a stick and make plenty of noise, because they would rather run than fight. The only time they would strike is if they felt threatened. It was a fact that we learned to live with.
The summer kitchen was at the back of our house, and the back door was shaded by a huge lilac bush that Mom had planted. I remember one spring, she opened the back door and started to step out when she heard the telltale sound of the rattle. Quickly she got the shovel and disposed of that snake. She had nightmares thinking what would of happened if one of the little children had been the ones to step outside. But that chance came with living on the side of mountain and this was the land she loved.