News and Opinion from Anne Barone to Keep You Chic & Slim


chinaberries in autumn

|| 27 October 2016

Biting & Inspiring: Rattlesnakes, Chiggers & Chinaberries

For those of you who may have read in the media that my city is having a serious problems with rattlesnakes, I want to reassure you that I have a good “rattlesnake protection force” chez moi. I wish I could say the same for those pesky chiggers. (They got me again and I’m rather miserable.)

Actually I had been so focused on painting and other chores that I was unaware our local in-town rattlesnake infestation. Fortunately Vicki in Friday Harbor, who had picked up a media report, kindly emailed her concern. Merci, Vicki. Rattlesnakes with their poisonous, potentially fatal, bites are definitely something of which I need to be aware.

As for my “rattlesnake protection force” I have both cats and possums, both excellent rattlesnake killers. Though I sadly lost my biggest tomcat MacDougal mid-September, my other tomcat Sam is a large, strongly-muscled cat with razor sharp claws. But my best anti-rattlesnake team is my two resident possums Pogo and Petit Pogo (who is not so petit any more). Possums' advantage with rattlesnakes is possums have a natural immunity to rattlesnake venom.

I have never seen a possum do battle with a rattlesnake. But once when I was living in India, I was wandering about a back section of the garden surrounding Humayun’s Tomb, the elegant old 16th century structure that was chief inspiration for the Taj Mahal. When I ventured into a weedy area to better inspect some beautiful tile work on a corner wall tower, I encountered a mongoose doing battle with a cobra. I will be just as happy if Pogo and Petit Pogo encounter no rattlesnakes in the weedy corners of my garden. The chiggers are bad enough.

But I love the bright autumn gold of chinaberries on my trees that you see in today's Nouvelles image. Despite biting vermin you might encounter, it is worth venturing out (with precautions). Nature's autumn colors give wonderful inspiration for shades and hues of accessories to accent your fall wardrobe. Those chinaberries make me think of textured yellow-gold beads against a soft gray sweater.

be chic, stay slim, be careful — Anne Barone

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