November 28, 2016

Living "Free" in the Real South Park

Robert Dear's stationary RV in South Park (Colorado Springs Gazette)
It was around 1970 or a little earlier that someone subdivided several square miles of South Park, the altiplano of Colorado, at the foot of Wilkerson Pass, north of US 24.

The real-estate developer cut roads across the cold, dry, and windswept pasture land east of tiny Hartsel and put up green-and-white street signs with names like "San Juan Drive."

And then no one bought most of the lots (except for some more scenic, hillier ones) because they were cold, dry, and windswept.

I used to drive by there a lot when I lived in Manitou Springs, now not so much. So I missed its transformation into a "gritty" community of "RVs, Tuff Sheds and nylon tents," as the Colorado Springs Gazette describes it. 

The area came onto the media radar a year ago because Robert Dear, who shot up a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs, killing three people and wounding five, had been living there in a permanently parked motor home, "equipped with solar panels, a wood stove and a ramshackle fence encircling a storage shed, chickens and a yapping dog."
Shelters started popping up within the past five years, but the situation compounded with the so-called "green rush" after recreational marijuana was legalized in 2012, many residents say. . . .

The explosion in emergency calls is fueled by out-of-control trash fires, faulty generators and embers dumped in the woods, among other hazards, officials say.

Getting to the emergencies can be difficult, because many lack addresses.

"A lot of them are societal dropouts. They just don't want to be a part of it," [Hartsel Fire Protection District Chief Jay] Hutcheson said.
It is a harsh place to live. The Ute Indians came through only in the summers, while the early ranchers picked sites with more shelter and water. (Hartsel is on one fork of the South Platte River.) Five acres out on the flats — I would not want to live there year-around. Gardening is out of the question. The hot springs at Hartsel, developed commercially in the 1870s, have been closed for decades, so you can't even go soak off the grime.

We see this story played out elsewhere, and it's all "live free or die" until someone starts a forest fire. Or starts shooting. The "problem," if you define it as a problem — and should we? —  is not homelessness in the ordinary sense, because people can buy little acreages cheap. (No utilities.)  But then some of them turn into literal basket cases:
Two years ago, Hutcheson encountered a family of five living in a tent. While removing a woman on a stretcher, he said he "postholed in 3 ½ feet of snow" and fell backwards, fracturing a vertebra. "Surgery. Plates. Screws," he said in recounting the episode.

Other calls have brought his workers to places where people "are living in their own filth, with no sanitary precautions at all," he said.
The bureaucratic response, of course, is more regulation.

Maybe if you want to go West and re-invent yourself, all that is left are places like this.

November 12, 2016

A Lethal Combination

Coyote and badger at Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center
in northern Colorado. Kimberly Fraser, USFWS
A US Fish and Wildlife Service staffer got a series of pictures of a coyote and a badger hunting together, which are published on the USFWS Open Spaces blog.
Each partner in this unlikely duo brings a skill the other one lacks. Together they are both faster and better diggers than the burrowing rodents they hunt.

These partnerships tend to emerge during the warmer months. In the winter, the badger can dig up hibernating prey as it sleeps in its burrow. It has no need for the fleet-footed coyote.
Meanwhile, here in southern Colorado, I was talking this afternoon with a Colorado Parks and Wildlife employee who lives on the prairie west of Pueblo.

She said that she had seen from her house a coyote, a badger, and a harrier (hawk) apparently working together.

Domestic falconers team hawks with dogs, so why not in the wild? Probably that is where the idea came from. 

November 08, 2016

Packing Seed up into the Burn


Jeff Outhier, who works for the US Forest Service in Westcliffe, Colo., made this short video from the interior of the Junkins Fire, which is now 100-percent contained:
Video taken from a dozer line between Middle and North Hardscrabble November 4, 2016. Jeff Outhier and two of his mules, Rose and Hita, packed seed (native Mountain Brome and Slender Wheat Grass) up to the ridge for firefighters to spread. This will help to repair the fire line and provide some erosion control. At approximately 11 seconds into the short video, you can see the old Mason Gulch burn from 2008.
I am glad to see the seed going up there, because we have nasty spring run-off coming next year, most likely, as snow melts on the burn with not much to hold it back in places. This seed is for revegetating the dozer line to try to keep it from turning into one big gully.

November 06, 2016

Medical Marijuana and Firearms Purchases

Twenty states and the District of Columbia permit medical marijuana.  A bunch more are moving to liberalize their laws on recreational use, but it is the medical side that interests me, because it involves record-keeping.

I have not heard too many hunting- and shooting writers address this issue, but it does not take much of a conspiratorial mindset to see a trap here that could be set for legal gun-owners.

As a Coloradan, I have seen the Obama Administration speak with forked tongue on the cannabis issue. When Colorado first legalized the stuff, there were no DEA agents kicking down store doors. I had the feeling that our votes as a "swing state" in presidential elections mattered enough that they were not going to come and start arresting people on federal charges.

But the administration's other hand held the big stick:
• Cannabis businesses were constantly blocked when they tried to have business banking, because the federal government never told banks and credit unions to stop treating these as criminal busineses. Worried about their own status, the financial companies refused to open account and shut down accounts that they learned were connected with cannabis.

• Industrial hemp farmers were not hassled either — except the feds would not let them import seed from Canada, where it's legal. And they have banking trouble too: some are turning to Bitcoin and other electronic money systems.

• Despite various petititons, the Obama Administration refused last August to reclassify cannabis, leaving it as a "Schedule 1" drug, right there with heroin. That's handy if you plan to prosecute someone.

• Likewise, despite the evidence that cannabis helps veterans with PTSD, the Veterans Administration takes a hard line against it. It's illegal for active-duty military, of course, but veterans can get an extra kick in the butt:
For instance, veterans are routinely blood-tested every time they go in for a VA appointment, [VA spokesman Sam] House said. So if a veteran tweaks his or her back in a way for which a doctor would prescribe prescription painkillers, when the bloodwork comes back positive for marijuana, the VA doctor can no longer prescribe the painkillers.
Now let's talk about Form 4473, the form you fill out at the gunshop counter when you make a purchase.

Question 11e asks, "Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?"

It stands to reason that thousands of buyers are checking "No" with mental reservations. "I smoke occasionally, but heck no, I'm not an addict. And in my state I'm not an 'unlawful user' either!"

As Wikipedia says, "The dealer also records all information from the Form 4473 into a required "'bound-book' called an Acquisition and Disposition Log. A dealer must keep this on file at least 20 years, and is required to surrender the log to the ATF upon retirement from the firearms business."

So imagine a presidential administration that wanted to stick to the law gun-owners. They collect the 4473's, cross-reference them with state records over who has a medical marijuana card, and there you have it — a huge list of people who can be federally prosecuted for perjury, at the least.

There is some legal protection for that information, but where there's a will, there's a way to get an approving legal opinion from government counsel.

Some people might consider this a feature, not a bug.

Too conspiritorial, or quite possible?

October 30, 2016

Smoked Links with Seal Meat

This is "good" smoke, coming from a fire-line burnout
on the Junkins Fire three days ago.
I am still catching up after the evacuation, the firefighting, the meetings, and the general nervousness of having Chinook and Skycrane helicopters thumping over the house hour after hour.  So here are some quick nature-blogging links.

¶ Talk about going against the narrative an Inuit filmmaker creates a pro-seal hunt video.
Alethea Arnaquq-Baril: I'm Inuit, so I grew up in the Arctic. I grew up hunting and eating seal meat with my family, and as an Inuk, you just grow up hearing people complain [about] and criticize seal hunters. It's just kind of always been an issue for me, and I knew that when I became a filmmaker that I was eventually going to have to cover this issue. 
¶  When trekking poles became popular a few years ago, I had a sort of snobbish reaction. "Who needs two poles?" I thought. "They turn you into a beast of burden. Maybe if you are carrying a very heavy pack on rocky ground . . . "

Other people put a positive spin on "beast," saying that the poles make them feel like a sure-footed quadruped.

I am all for sparing your knees on long downhill trails, but I hate to have two hands occupied with poles. When I broke one of my old bamboo x-c ski poles a few years back, I cut them both down to walking-stick length and added rubber tips. But usually I carry only one, because the other hands needs to be free for a tool, a leashed dog, or whatever.

But here is Randy Newberg, one of the few makers of hunting videos that I can stand to watch, making the case for them — with a video too.
“You can laugh at me all you want,” says Newberg. ” But there’s a reason why this 51-year-old, gray haired fart, who drives a desk for a living a good portion of the year, can go and hunt the mountains: trekking poles.”
Another video: Put a camera on bears in Yellowstone and let them wander — and see what happens when they encounters wolves.

October 22, 2016

Linkage into the Wild


Other linkage:

¶ Alaska writer Craig Medred proposes some cures for "bus madness," in other words, the pilgrims and wannabes who turn the abandoned bus where Chris "Supertramp" McCandless died into a destination — and who often have to be rescued at public expense.

A sample:
Ransom the Bus: Americans, or at least some of them, seem to think there’s something mythical, mystical, magic, marvelous, mad or some other m-word about visiting a bus where some poor, foolish young man sadly starved to death. Let them pay to keep their shrine out there. Put out a press release warning that the cash-strapped state of Alaska cannot afford further rescues, and unless people contribute $500,000 this year to save the bus it will be blown up as public nuisance. Let America start a GoFundTheBus campaign.
¶ A new cultural history of the Great Plains for that mythical creature, the general reader: Great Plains Indians by historical geographer David Wishart. It's part of a new series from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, "Discover the Great Plains."


A retrospective of setter and pointer dogs in advertising art. That is not two different appreviations for "Colorado," but rather Delta County and the town of Cedaredge.

October 18, 2016

Take These Links with 100% Agave Tequila

¶ Without bats, no tequila? There is some motivation for conservation!
Aside from consuming loads of crop-destroying insects, bats are plant pollinators, and Medellín's prized lesser long-nosed bat pollinates the cactuslike blue agave plant, the single plant species from which Mexican tequila is produced.
Habitat destruction has been especially harmful to the lesser long-nosed bat, first listed as a threatened species in Mexico in 1994. By 2008 it was well on its way to recovery, thanks largely to Medellín, a tireless advocate who's been dubbed the "Bat Man of Mexico" for his work with bats. (Medellín, a Rolex Laureate and National Geographic grantee, has also worked to help a variety of other plant and animal species.
 ¶ A study showing that bear spray works better than bullets for stopping bear attacks.  Yes, there are exceptions. Some bears don't read the rule book. But we are talking about statistics here, not about individual bears.

Link to a video on fire in California forests, set by Indians (and some early Anglo settlers too!) until the Forest Service put a stop to "light burning," as it was called a century ago. Now the term is "cultural burning.

¶ Silly tourists and professional nature-fakers: the ugly side of wildlife photography.
In 2009, the image of a “jumping wolf” by photographer José Luis Rodriguez won for him the prestigious wildlife photographer of the year award conferred by the British Natural History Museum. It was later discovered that the wolf was trained for the shoot. Rodriguez was disqualified.

October 17, 2016

Moviemakers Come to Florence and Make an Odd Decision

A Florence school band marches past the real Rialto theatre in a parade scene from "Our Souls at Night."
Evidently the fictional Holt school district cannot afford uniforms.
The movie trailers, lights and reflectors, and the crew members with handheld radios have now left little Florence, Colorado, which for a couple of weeks became the fictional town of Holt, Colorado, the setting of Kent Haruf's novel Our Souls at Night, soon to be a Netflix movie starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. (Some scenes were filmed in Cañon City and the West Side of Colorado Springs.)

For that time, it was big news.  A local blogger wrote about a resident meeting Redford in the alley behind her home and how Florence's business district full of antiques-and-collectibles shops made life easier for set dressers.
Florence, being the antiques capital of Colorado, has dozens of stores full of things at good prices for the movie sets and props. Some of the crew members, most of them from other states, were also doing browsing and shopping for their own homes.

Until I witnessed it up close, I never realized how Florence is the perfect town for a crew to come in and purchase so many things for the movie, all on foot and within a few block radius. And since Florence is a small town, most shop workers know what is in their own stores as well as neighboring stores and can help crew members find the item that will set the mood for a scene.

The day I saw Mr. Redford from afar many times, working hard, I texted a friend and said,"Another boring day at work, watching Robert Redford so many times that I've lost count."
Businesses around town sported fake signage: an insurance agency became the Holt National Bank — fitting, since its building started life as a bank a century or more ago — while a Main Street pizza restaurant became the Holt Drug Store. The empty lobby of a historic hotel was reconfigured into a cafe.

The "Rialto" move theatre created for the movie.
One movie-set decision did seem odd to me. Florence's Main Street includes the Rialto Theatre, built in 1923, which has been undergoing a slow, painstaking restoration, paid for mostly by community members. The original marquee and entry are in place. A perfect set, right?

Instead, they turned a former bar (now a gallery) into a smaller, bleaker, fake Rialto. Maybe someone just fell in love with those moderne glass bricks.

October 16, 2016

A Café without Pretension

A customer (not me) wonders why the cafe is closed when its posted hours say otherwise.
I picked up a "travel mug" ( or "auto mug" if you prefer) at the local cafe here in [Small Town], North Dakota, today. It carries the inscription, " [Blank] Cafe: Where Great Food & Great Friends Meet.'

It might be more honest to say, "Where average food and the people you can't avoid seeing every day in the town's only cafe meet."

For this place, a corporate account with Sysco would be a step up. The idea of chefs working themselves into madness is as remote as Alpha Centauri.

Self-service coffee? At the [Blank] Cafe, it's "self-made coffee." As in there are coffee pots sitting empty over there —  fill one with water, put coffee and a filter in the machine, and hit the On button. You're not too special to make your own coffee that you are paying for, are you?

Part of it is just that eastern North Dakota Scandinavian thing: You don't want to act like you are too special. It's hard to tell the truck driver from the farmer who is actually worth several million dollars — until the farmer goes on an expensive vacation, or you watch who is buying what at the auction house.

October 09, 2016

Touch Not the Coon Bot a Glove


Raccoon #1 finally leaves the carrier.
The wind was blowing 40 mph, it looked like the Aryan Brotherhood was setting up a campsite on the road coming in, and the two raccoons would not come out of their carrier.

So there is no video of excited animals returning to the wild with this post. It's like they were saying, "We're basically nocturnal, and we don't know where we are, and we've been jostled in this box for a hour, and we don't want to come out. And what happened to our buddies?"

Even in hot weather they would sleep in a heap.
Our friends the wildlife rehabilitators had ended up with twenty orphaned young raccoons this year, through various circumstances.

By late September they were passing them out like late-season zucchini to game wardens and other people who could re-locate them.

M. and I agreed to take two to a state wildlife area in an adjacent county. It is surrounded by dry piñon-juniper forest, but through it runs a stream with an extensive riparian area of big cottonwoods and underbrush. There are raccoons there already, most likely, but maybe two more could find territories of their own.

The coons were getting big and rowdy. Our rehabilitator friends are a married couple, retired. She put on her welder's gloves and attempted to pull one coon out of the pile in the back of the Dogloo
 
Angry snarls erupted. She jerked her hands back.

"Get the noose pole," she told her husband. He fetched it, I held the carrier, and we soon had the day's two snarling release coons boxed to go.

"If they have a bad experience with humans, that's a good thing," she said philosophically.


At the end of a long gravel road, M. and I neared the bridge over that creek that I had mentally envisioned as a release area. But there was a newish vehicle parked there — angler? hiker?

Hmmm. Trash bags full of . . . stuff all over the place. Three well-fed pit bulls. Two young guys, one shirtless—not scraggly looking, but buff with crew cuts, not waving but giving us cold stares.

They seemed too clean-cut (in a hard-edged way) to be homeless campers defying the "No Overnight Camping" signs. It is the wrong time of year to be planting a "pirate" marijuana grow, and if they were harvesting such, why make a big production of it? Meth cooks? Everything I could think of was negative.

I kept driving, down to the parking lot half a mile further on. It was not as a great a release site, but there were clumps of willows along a flowing irrigation ditch, and if the coons followed the water upstream, they would be by the creek. No one else was there.

We put out some puppy chow and husked ears of corn, then opened the carrier door. No action. It took a gentle prodding to get them out, whereupon they ignored the food (for now) and slunk into the willows.

I put the carrier into the Jeep, started back down the access road — and there was a dead tree fallen across it. Did I mention the high winds, a bora, in fact?

My mental inventory of tools on board turned up only a hatchet, but M. hopped out and discovered that the branches were dry and rotten. We snapped off enough that we could drive between the tree and the barbed-wire pasture fence.

And then out past the two buff guys with the pitbulls, still giving us the hairy eyeball, and down to the nearest town for a restorative pint at the brewpub.

I tried calling the district wildlife manager (game warden) who I thought had that area in his territory, just to give him a heads-up, but the call went to voice mail. (It's typical of Colorado Parks and Wildlife that you have to dig and dig to find out which DWM has exactly what district and what the boundaries area. )

So I sent him an email later. No response. You would think that he or the wildlife tech who manages the irrigation might like to know that he had Aryan Brotherhood-clones hanging around the place, but see paragraph above.

The post title comes from the saying, "Touch not the cat bot a glove," in other words, "Touch not the [Eurasian wildcat] without a glove." It's supposed to be the motto of several Scottish clans, in the same spirit as "Don't tread on me."

October 07, 2016

The Southwestern Monsoon and the Vocabulary of Weather

 (Click for full-screen view)

First, via writer Peter Grant's blog, here is the Southwestern monsoon (chiefly in the Phoenix area), in video composite form.

The creator,  Mike Olbinsk, mentions in his commentary how glad he was to get shots of a haboob, otherwise known as a helluva dust storm.

TV weather people love to roll out new terms for weather phenomena. In the pre-video era, we got through the Dust Bowl of the 1930s with the simple term dust storm.

Likewise, monsoon has lost its quotation marks and become normal speech.

Now I hear the weather-nerds using bora for a strong downslope wind, like the one that hit last Monday and kicked the Beulah Hill Fire up to more than 5,000 acres in one afternoon.

A little Bulgarian to flavor your weather forecast. Will it catch on?

October 03, 2016

The Earth Is Trying to Kill You, Cabela's Is Sold, Trees Talk

¶ "Landslides in the United States cause approximately $3.5 billion (year 2001 dollars) in damage, and kill between 25 and 50 people annually." I think we need a cartoon character: Rocky Bear. "Only You Can Prevent Landslides." Sort of.

¶ Outdoor retailing empires merge: Bass Pro Shops is buying Cabela's.
The deal marks a dramatic expansion of the outdoor retailing empire controlled by Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris, who founded the company in 1972. The billionaire will lead the newly combined entity as CEO and will retain majority ownership.
Foresters ponder how trees talk to each other:
The main reason humans cannot perceive how clever and complex they are is because we exist in such short time scales by comparison. There's a tree in Sweden for instance, a spruce, that is more than 9,500 years old. That's 115 times longer than the average human lifespan.

September 29, 2016

"On the Wild Edge," Nature Writer David Petersen's New Film

An article from the Durango Herald on a film about bowhunter and nature writer David Petersen, On the Wild Edge: Hunting for a Natural Life.
The film leaves out Petersen’s work as editor for Mother Earth News and his many books including Ghost Grizzlies, The Nearby Faraway: A Personal Journey Through the Heart of the West, and A Man Made of Elk. His advocacy for Trout Unlimited and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is also omitted. Instead, Christopher Daley, the film’s cinematographer, sound recorder and editor, focuses on Petersen’s version of ethical hunting during archery season in early fall.
But then they published another article about him that covered some of those things!  

You can order the DVD here.

September 26, 2016

Mouse War 2: Ballad of a Deer Mouse

In the 1959 Russian movie Ballad of a Soldier, a young war hero tries to go home on leave only to be distracted by multiple plot complications until almost his entire leave period is used up.

Could there be a movie called Ballad of a Deer Mouse? The Mouse guerilla moves cross-country, through many interactions and adventures, returning to what he thinks is his new home.

Only it's my home, you cable-chewing little collectivists.

Know Your Enemy.

Further analysis reveals that deporting Mice a distance of, for example, 150 yards (or meters) from the house merely creates a "catch and release" situation. "When both house mice and deer mice inhabiting granaries in grassland in Alberta were displaced, homing behaviour was poorly expressed in house mice, but well developed in deer mice."

Some went 1500 meters, even crossing a river and bypassing areas of good habitat. 

Another researcher reports, "One [radio-collared Peromyscus] mouse was traced as it returned to its nest 300 meters in 1 hour. This rate of homing is many times more rapid than the rate usually determined by conventional methods for tracking small terrestrial mammals."

The owner of a cafe in Westcliffe, Colo., said last Thursday (as we shared Year of the Rodent stories) that her daughter and son-in-law, who live near the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs, had live-trapped some deer mice and marked them with dabs of nail polish. These were released more than a mile from their house, and at least two came back to be re-captured.

It's Not About Us

When I was at CU-Boulder in the 1980s, I had a friend who moved from Nederland, up in the mountains, to an apartment in town. It was about twenty miles by car. Somehow in the move, her cat ran off and could not be found in Nederland. Some weeks later, it showed at the apartment  — where it had never been before!

We have all heard such stories. There was even a book and a Disney movie about one such "incredible journey."

Our collie-mix dog, the late Shelby, disappeared one winter — I was pretty sure that she was stolen and I had some suspects in mind, but they had disappeared from the area. Two months later, about 8:30 in the morning, she came walking up the driveway, skinny and with her claws worn down to nubs. We never knew where she came back from or how far she came.

These stories  are heart-warming because they show us that our companion critters are indeed incredible, and they want to be with us.

The Mice don't want to be with us. They just want what is ours.

I got five last night in one trap in the garage, all young recruits still in their gray basic uniforms. I was going to town, so they went five miles down the road to what may become the new deportation site, at the edge of a large pasture.

Maybe I should set aside some nail polish.

September 18, 2016

Mouse War: We're Kicking It Up a Notch

Photo credit Elizabeth Wolber, U. of North Carolina
This has been a yuge rodent year, deer mice (Peromyscus spp.) in particular. Some friends who live in a similar foothills ecosystem visited last week, and they agreed. One said that her mother, who lives next door, had trapped 66 mice this summer.

And we are just now getting to the cooler weather when they start invading our house in earnest, only it is more like last autumn's invasion never stopped.

I had set traps that I patrolled each day in the garage and connecting basement, but now the Mice are in the house upstairs.

When they ran around on the kitchen counter and gnawed on vegetables left out, we were annoyed.

When we found Mouse turds in the bookcases, we were a little disgusted.

When one got into the bedroom and awakened us at night with its rattlings and rustlings and chewing, we were highly annoyed, especially M. who is a light sleeper at the best of times.

And yesterday when I discovered that a Mouse had chewed the line between the telephone jack and my DSL modem/router, I was ready to declare war. Finding Mouse turds on my desk is one thing, but losing the Internet is serious to someone who works at home.

A red line has been drawn. There is no more "Reset" button with the Mice.

What has changed is that I must fight this war in a blue helmet, because the UN High Commissioner for Rodents (M. herself) has declared that only "humane" methods may be used. No more putting a snap trap baited with peanut butter in every shadowy corner.  Now I am becoming an expert in brands of live trap. (The Havahart two-door mouse trap works well but catches only one at a time.)

Thus the battle has begun. The first step in our larger strategy is to reclaim the bedroom, where Mouse forces had struck at our communications infrastructure. Repairs were quickly made and one of our best traps deployed in case the Mice return. Last night there were no Mouse disturbances.

As we reclaim the living space, having blocked a key infiltration point (where the TV antenna cable enters the living room through the floor) with steel wool, we will again take the battle to the Mouse beachhead, the attached garage. Some food caches have already been located and destroyed.

While sunflower seeds for the birds are stored in a lidded container, we had been leaving the feeders out when we brought them in at night (because of bears). No more! Now the feeders go into an empty garbage can with a lid so that they are not subject to nocturnal pilferage by Mouse insurgents.

At this point, some readers may ask, "You speak of wishing to involve indigenous forces such as Foxes. Why not deploy Cat commandos? They are silent, nocturnal, and effective."

Yes they are, but the High Commissioner, even though she has great affection for Cats, is worried about ethnic friction with the Dog element.

Unlike our previous Dogs, who lived side by side with Cats although they could never speak Cat clearly, this Dog (a/k/a Problem Dog or Rehab Dog) has had no previous Cat training. She fears the consequences of introducing Cat forces into what he considers to be his exclusive area of operations.

Therefore, rather than quick surgical Cat strikes, we fight a war of attrition, complete with holding cells and deportation back to Mousistan (a location about a mile up the road, where I left the rattlesnake).