Apparently it was officially Snake Week here on the farm. I guess somehow I missed the announcement. I have found a snake in the chicken coop three times in about as many days. No, wait. FOUR times. Sorry. I am losing count.
Snake one: Large black ratsnake, northeast corner of the coop. Easy catch, no problems.
Snake two: Another large black ratsnake, same corner. It is midnight. Jason has already gone to bed and I had forgotten to close the coop. I am sweeping my flashlight over all the hens and BAM! there’s another dadgum snake. He sees me and tries to escape out the little hole he came in. I grab a hold (a’holt) of his tail and hang on for dear life. He’s not escaping the Crocodile Huntress of East Texas! Bear in mind that I am trying to hold onto my flashlight and the butt end of a snake simultaneously here. After a few minutes, it is apparent that he’s not giving up and neither am I, and his head end is already outside, and no amount of pulling is going to get this snake back in the coop. Naturally, I forgot to turn on the coop light when I came in, and I now need a third hand to flip the switch. Since I couldn’t pop one of those out, I take a deep breath, clutch that snake tail in my left hand, get the flashlight in my right and STREEEEEEEEETCH myself into a weird ‘X’ looking position and somehow manage to flip the light on with the tip of my flashlight. All the while not quite sure that Mr. Snake’s head has not popped back into the room. I work at him a little more with both hands, trying not to damage any scales in the process, and it’s obvious we are like the proverbial two old goats on the log over a ravine. Ever heard of that one? Neither would move out of the way for the other, so they both fell in and died. But, I was ready to get into bed, so I let go of the tail, and ran as fast as I could around the corner of the coop. There he was, snaking down the side of the tin and WA-POW my hand shoots out like a bullet and snatches his head. His mouth is wide open and boy, is he mad at me! I told him to get over it and I plopped him in my official handy-dandy snake bucket.
Snake Three: We come home after dark, and Jason drives me up to the henhouse to collect eggs for the last time for the day. I gather up a shirtfull of eggs, balancing them carefully in the front of my t-shirt. I talk to the hens and…yeah you guessed it. Another snake, same corner. (See the pattern here?) I look around wildly, hoping that Jason sees my look of desperation. I have people beating down my doors for these eggs, and I can’t afford to break any. I see no response, so I hold onto my shirt with my left hand and say a little prayer for the safety of my right hand. Luckily, the snake’s head is within my grabbing distance and POW! I grab up that snake with my right hand. I come out of the coop balancing a dozen eggs and a 3 foot long snake. Jason apologizes for not seeing me, but it’s nothing that the Huntress can’t handle.
Snake Four: Snake four was last night. A smaller ratsnake, probably 2.5-3 foot long. I was gathering the last laid eggs, look up, and there’s a snake’s head, peering down at me. I think to myself, “You have GOT to be (………) me”. (You can add in your own word here, but I wasn’t really thinking “kidding”). Anyway, of course, I am alone. This snake is the smartest by far. He has completely wedged himself behind a board holding up the tin, and there is absolutely no way to get him out. I go outside and beat on the tin to try and run him out. I poke him with sticks. He must have flattened himself to the width of a piece of paper, I swear. I go out and beat on the tin again. I come back inside and as I am poking him with another stick, here comes a yellowjacket, rubbing his eyes, looking at me and my flashlight as if to say, “What in the HELL is going on out here?!?” I freeze. Snakes, I can do. Snakes PLUS an angry nest of yellowjackets? Mmmmmm, not so much. Then I hear buzzing. I decide that even the Huntress can’t win them all and I shut off my light and run out the door. As I walk back to the house, somewhat dejected, the comical aspect of the entire situation occurs to me.
I am not big into video games, but I think we can all relate to Super Mario Brothers, right? You know how each successive level gets more and more difficult? It occurs to me, at that very moment, how this is really getting to be like a video game.
Level One: Catch a snake in the open, while wearing pajamas and flip flops
Level Two: Catch a snake in the open, while wearing pajamas, flip flops, and carrying a flashlight.
Level Three: Catch a snake in a building, while wearing flip flops, and the snake is about 5 foot above your head.
Level Four: Same as three, except the snake is large and angry, and you must get it down with a pole saw, a nervous husband, and finally a rake.
Level Five: Catch a snake in a chicken coop.
Level Six: Catch a snake in a chicken coop, while in pajamas and flip flops, and balancing a flashlight.
Level Seven: Catch a snake single handedly, in a chicken coop, while balancing a shirt full of delicate eggs in one hand.
Level Eight: Catch a snake in a coop, single-handed, while being attacked by an angry nest of yellowjackets.
Level Nine (hypothesized): Catch a snake in a coop, single-handed, while also playing “Beer Barrel Polka” on an accordian and a kazoo, and being attacked by an angry pack of rabid raccoons, while wearing stilts.
Is it also a strange coincidence that my Chinese astrology symbol is the Snake?