Snakes Alive!

Wow, it’s really been a loooong time!  Lots has been happening around the farm.  Since I last wrote, I’ve been harvesting potatoes, tomatoes, and strawberries, and I have planted corn and okra.  I still have several empty beds, but I just don’t know what to put in them!  I’ll probably reserve them for my fall crops now.  Planting for fall will begin next month, starting with fall tomatoes.

About 2 weeks ago, Jason and I came home from a dinner date and found a small ratsnake in the driveway.  Naturally I had to jump out and investigate (I’m pretty sure I’m one of the elite few women in Texas who will do that….wearing flip flops, nonetheless)  Anyway, I picked up its tail and shooed it on it’s way.  So, about 2 nights later, I was walking in the chicken coop to close up the chickens for the night, and there was another scaly friend slipping into my henhouse!  Not in my henhouse, I told it, and I actually caught this one (barehanded, wearing boots), and carried into the house, where Jason was relaxing on the floor.  Poor Jason.  He married the only woman in East Texas that would handle a snake and bring it indoors. 

 Anyway, so then about 2 nights later, I walked out to water the garden.  We have a pair of Dwarf bunnies that reside in our chicken tractor and I heard them running frantically in their cage.  When I looked over there, I saw a large ratsnake trying to strike them through the wire….can you only imagine how terrifying that could be?  This snake was larger than the first two; about 4 or 4.5 feet long.  Armed with nothing other than a flowerpot, I used it to squoosh his head up against the wire so that I could grab his head.  So, I caught him, too, and put him in a little plastic cage so we could release him elsewhere.  I had forgotten about a snake’s sheer will and strength to escape, and while I was out doing something else, he managed to pop the top open.  Fortunately, he only made it to the corner of our shop and we caught him again, this time, we put a roll of heavy wire on the top of the cage. 

Sooooooo, then the NEXT night (lol)  we were in the shop, and I had the thought, “Wouldn’t it be funny if there was yet another ratsnake in that same corner”, and I looked up and there was the biggest one yet, calmly snoozing in the upper corner.  Now, this snake was about 5 foot long, maybe a little more, with a girth of about 2 inches or so.  Pretty big for a native snake.  Jason got his head with a rake and I put on my gloves and caught him.  He was NOT happy, either!  You probably don’t know this, but ratsnakes, and many other snakes release a foul-smelling, musky liquid when they’re caught.  It resembles a dead skunk….it’s just really lovely.  Once you catch a snake, you kindof have to ‘clear house’ for a while so you don’t get nauseated from the smell!

So, I have really had my share of snakes for the past week!  They do not bother me as long as they aren’t trying to eat my livestock, and then it’s war.  I do catch and release, I don’t ever kill them, with the exception of maybe a water moccasin at our pond (haven’t seen one yet).  Even then, I’d have to use a gun to do it, as there’s no way I’m getting close enough to a moccasin to kill it with a shovel!  Same goes for rattlesnakes…I have not seen them, but I wouldn’t get anywhere near one, either.  Moccasins tend to be a more aggressive snake, and rattlesnake’s poison is just plain scary.  I am not really scared of either the copperhead (poisonous, but not aggressive) nor the coral snake (DEADLY poisonous, but rear-fanged and shy).  And, as you can tell, as far as the non-poisonous snakes go, they just don’t scare me.  Mind you, I am very, very careful with them, because I still do not care to get bitten, but I have been bitten before, and while it was scary, I got over it. (Obviously) 

I would urge you not to kill snakes if at all possible as they do an excellent job of eating mice and rats.  Of course, unfortunately, they will also eat birds, chickens, and rabbits, too!  But they’re actually basically good creatures with a bad rap.  I know I’m in the minority when it comes to liking snakes, especially being a woman who likes snakes. People always look at me in a really funny way when I tell them I do catch and release, and I’ve even had parts of the Bible thrown at me (Genesis 3:15 – 15You and this woman will hate each other; your descendants and hers will always be enemies. One of hers will strike you on the head, and you will strike him on the heel.”)

I think that’s very sad to take it in the literal sense, after all, snakes provide us with a great service, which is keeping down the rodent population.  While trying not to question Satan’s choice of a serpent as his earthly form, I really wish he would have picked the cockroach.  Now that I can understand. 

Anyway, the next time you see a snake in the road, think of me and don’t swerve to hit it!