11 April 2013

Blue skies have arrived along with some slithery critters...

It looks like Spring might actually be here.  The skies are mostly sunny, and the temperatures are inching (or centimetering) their way up slowly.  We're seeing 13C, 15C some days.  And we're supposed to hit that magic 20C next week.

The fruit trees are still staying dormant though.  There's the odd flower here and there, but it looks like the trees are staying put for a wee bit more time. 

With the warmer weather, the wild asparagus has started to poke up through the long grasses, and I often see people out searching through the underbrush, along walls, and near the roadsides for some tasty bounty.

A word of warning though:  the asparagus starts to grow at the same time that snakes awake from their winter slumber.  And those snakes can be stiff and slow because the temperatures are not quite hot enough for them.  So what locals do when searching for asparagus is they bring a long stick with them.  When they spot asparagus, they first tap the stick all around the asparagus to scare away any snakes, or at least to be alerted to any slow-moving snakes who might be within biting distance. 

If you think people are a bit too cautious about this whole business....think again.  There is one particular snake in Croatia that everyone needs to be aware of.  I won't go into detail here...but you can search the internet for Poskuk. 

I heard about these snakes, and heard lots of stories about them.  But I didn't really think much about it.  I mean, how often does someone actually come across these things?  Until last spring, when out walking in the countryside along a rocky path, I almost stepped on one (I was standing with my foot approximately 5cm away from it).  I spooked it though and it slithered off crazily faster than lightning and just about scared the living daylights out of me (and the 7 other people in our walking party).  It was dark grey and white with a diamond pattern.  And about 90cm long. 

Now, if I'm out walking near anything resembling a blade of grass, I'm carrying a long stick. 

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