To Kill a Snake

I wrote this late last spring and never got around to sharing it. It makes me laugh looking back, hopefully it will make you smile as well. Note to the reader, several snakes were harmed in the making of this story.

This morning I needed to mow the lawn, and by lawn, I mean the giant yard space around our farmhouse. Where the 'lawn" ends and the pasture begins is really all relative, it's just determined by where I decide to stop mowing. This was my second mowing of the season, and it started off with a bad omen. And lets face it, if you've ever seen 'The Sandlot', we know to take the omen seriously.

The lawn mower had two flat tires. I called the hubs and he insisted to just drive it with the one tire, irreparably flat and to air up the other. So I did. I kerplunked along, just driving on the rim of one wheel while I slowly drove from the machine shed up to the house.

I aired up the one tire and set to work. I decided to mow the backyard first, so that the girls could play without concern of snakes. I mowed around the swingset, then let the two littlest play while I mowed a safe distance away.

All was going well, then as I was driving along, I ran over a large bull snake. I knew instantly that I hadn't killed him, as he darted away from my mower... straight toward my children.

Now my mama bear instincts have been know to come out when needed and this was no exception. I jumped off the mower and began screaming at the four year old to climb up the platform of the slide. I'm waving my arms and running and screaming, "Get on the slide, get on the slide. Snake. Snake. Snake." She takes heed and heads to higher ground.

Meanwhile the toddler is standing there oblivious to her mothers crazy antics, so I snatch her off the ground and promptly haul her, and my 7 months pregnant tush up the ladder to the little platform at the top of the slide.

So there we are, a four year old, a toddler, and my 7 months of pregnant crazy, on a small swingset platform, frantically surveying the area for a large snake that is presumably now set on eating us all alive.

Now if you are of the persuasion that bull snakes are a good snake and should be left alone, I suggest you just quit reading now. I am of the belief that if a snake is more than a foot long, it does not belong around my children or my yard.

Sooooo.... several frantic calls later, and I had secured help. We'll just say it was an angel of a helper who does not like snakes any more than I do. She joined me atop the 3x3 ft slide platform so we could maintain our vantage point where we could clearly see the large snake balled up inside my garden fence, partially hidden by my large rhubarb plant.

The angel stayed put with kids while I went to get weapons. Well there was a problem with the bird shot pistol, and the hoe was impossible to use due to the location of the snake. The angel and I eventually had to call defeat and climbed down from our weeny perch and went our separate ways.

But as luck would have it the hubs came home shortly after to pick up his lunch. He actually spied another snake in the driveway and ran it over with his pickup. Then he came to help me. He was able to resolve the problem with the pistol and shoot the snake. Stretched out, the snake was just over four feet long. Say what you want, but I am so glad he is dead. I do not need that thing hanging around my yard or garden.

Well one would think that my woes would be done for the day. Two snakes is enough for the day, right? Well, you would be wrong.

I finished mowing and felt confident in the now short crisp grass. I would be able to see all snakes from a distance and steer clear. I was right about that.

After picking all the kids up from school, and marveling at my wondrous mowing job, we all headed out on a walk. Down the gravel road we went. Oldest two on bikes, toddler in the stroller with me pushing along behind.

We got to the turn around point and we were all smiles. Sunshine, fresh air, a beautiful stroll, what could be better? We head back towards the house. Again I pushed the stroller while the big girls rode along a short distance ahead. Suddenly I hear a shout and look up to see my oldest child has dropped her bike and is running toward me. "Snake" she hollers as she goes blowing past me, as far as she can get.

I look toward where the bike lays abandoned and see a good three foot long bull snake slinking across the road. The middle child, who's is wearing protective ear muffs due to my earlier mowing, oblivious to the world,  is biking straight towards the snake.

So again I take my pregnant self and begin running and screaming to save my child's life. She finally hears me, and turns around and comes toward me. From this distance I can see that it is another bull snake, not a rattle snake. I am unarmed and he is minding his own business quite some distance from the house, so we huddle on the road and wait for him to cross.

After allowing enough time for him to make it to the next county, we gathered up the bikes and headed home. Upon our safe arrival with the bribery of popsicles, we headed indoors.....

Where we will remain until the first snowfall.

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