Maybe next time we can make rattlesnake omelettes

I will now address another in my list of maybe-true-about-me-things.

Thing 6: I once skinned a rattlesnake in my Idaho homeland.

There is an area in Idaho of truly wild and stunning natural beauty, enhanced by the remains of a rich history of pioneers. I am proud to say that I have traveled on the River of No Return in the Frank Church Wilderness. I am extremely lucky to know people who travel there regularly and have let me stow away in their boat. It’s the kind of place you need a guide, and several modes of transportation. You drive to what is literally called The End of The Road and then take your jet boat upstream until every passenger is sunburnt to the color of lobsters.

The #1 Mountain Man I know, Don, came across a rattlesnake one morning and introduced it to the business end of his shovel. Not one to be interrupted during a task, he put the headless rattlesnake in a box on the picnic table to tend to later. By “tend to” naturally I mean skinned and added to the wall display of other formerly fanged beasts.

So yes, it is true that I helped skin a rattlesnake in Idaho. Don did the work involving his big mountain knife, and Elyse and I made faces and poked the rattle. I don’t want that to make it sound like we were squeamish girlie girls, because that was definitely not the case. That face Elyse is making above is not to say “eeewwww grosss organs,” it’s exactly the right reaction to a paper plate with a headless soon-to-be-skinless snake whose organs are hanging out and whose heart is still beating.

That’s my favorite element of this story. The snake spent a couple hours on the picnic table before we turned it to an operating table, so we had a lot of time to hold the snake… shake its rattler… scare ourselves silly because it was still moving like a perfectly healthy snake. Just… the head wasn’t there. I never dissected a frog in high school, so this near vivisection of a dangerous animal was very thrilling. Once when I was holding it, I was shaking its rattle and I guess that pissed him off, because he lunged toward my other arm to strike.


Ryan's a Mountain Man too, I bet he'd hold it like this even if it had a head.

I hope you liked that story. A little business before I sign off– We are nearing the Second Saturday of the month, and that means another very happy day at River Organics.  Also I have an open invitation for you guys that if you come with me to the Starbucks in Tigard that is showing my art, I’ll buy your drink.

It’s nearing 7:00 now and the kitchen stage is set for deep fried macaroni and cheese balls. I must go direct the show.


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