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Oops! Homesteader

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Oops! Homesteader

While I was visiting my brother  in Florida, he showed me his latest toy, a Wood-Mizer portable sawmill. A huge hickory log was mounted on the cutting platform. Sawdust puffed as the blade effortlessly sliced a 3" thick section from the top of the log. "That was the 'clean cut'," he said. "The next cut will be the first lumber-maker." He pushed the blade back into the log, and in only five minutes, we were stacking a beautiful 10' long board.

My brother was pulling the saw back to make another pass through the log when, only inches from his hand, a small red, yellow and black striped snake wriggled out of an old woodpecker hole. “Yikes! That’s a coral snake!” I thought, remembering the old cautionary rhyme “red on yellow, kill a fellow.”


Fortunately, my brother wasn't fazed. "Give me that shovel," he said. “I forgot—I usually probe holes like this one with a wire before I cut." I expected him to bash the snake, as we would have done as kids, but instead, he scoped it up and tossed it back into the woods. "Coral snakes eat mice and other vermin," he explained calmly, even as I was taking deep, cleansing breaths and trying to swallow.