Sunday, May 24, 2009

What To Do If You're Catherine and There's a Snake in the Hen House

1. Scream. Loud.
2. Drop the egg basket and run in the house.
3. Bypass Mommy, run straight for Daddy.
4. Watch from the top of the pop-up camper through the crack in the top of the hen house door,
5. While Daddy chases the snake around with a steel-tooth rake,
6. Then, when it rears up and tries to bite him, scream a little more.
7. Run to the house and ask Mommy what we have that we can spray at the snake.
8. Hightail it to the barn to get what Mommy suggested, and
9. Watch Daddy spray the snake with wasp spray to stun it,
10. Then run back to the house again, yell for Mommy, and gasp, "Come Quick! Daddy needs you!"
11. Sigh exasperatedly when Mommy says she wants no part of it (and who wishes desperately the big boys were home instead of out playing baseball!), then hold the door for her expectantly, ushering her out with wildly flapping hands.
12. Hang back in the safety of the doorway with your sisters while Mommy finds an empty storage bin for Daddy to rake the now-groggy snake into, then
13. Skitter back to the top of the pop-up while Mommy tries to clumsily jockey the lid onto the storage bin without the snake jumping out at her.

14. Fearlessly hitch a ride with the snake (which is confined safely in the bin) to the back twenty to relocate it far away from the chickens.

15. Come home and look through the North American Wildlife guide to try and figure out what kind of snake it was.
16. Find out, with a little more investigation with Mommy on the internet that it was a Bullsnake ~ a friend to the high plains farmer, because it eats mice ~ but an unwelcome guest if it's in the henhouse eating eggs.
* We caught it in the act of eating an egg; one was lodged, sidewise in its neck as we chased it around the henhouse! (Wish we'd gotten a picture of it before the egg slid down, but we weren't thinking about the camera until after we'd snapped the lid tight over our captive!)
* It was, incidentally, between four and five feet long, and we're a little concerned there may still be a smaller one in the outbuildings, because Catherine thought she saw a smaller one the other day... (Agh.)

* After the incident, we were talking about how to avoid surprising a snake and possibly causing aggressive behavior. I told the girls one way to be safer is to make a lot of noise when they go into the outbuildings during the summer.
Cathy said: I did make a lot of noise!
I clarified: Before you see a snake, you goose!


Natalie said...

Oh My Goodness! Snake wrangling sounds like an event no baseball game could top. Too bad the big boys missed it. Glad all is well now though and I hope your chickens are okay too.

Lisa said...

I'm afraid it might have been a little bit "old hat" to the boys. They've wrangled snakes away from the house a number of times. But, you're right ~ they do love doing it. What's with that? Boys are so weird.

Do you suppose that's a something they could put on a resume? It surely exhibits composure in stressful situations... (ggl)

Natalie said...

Haha. I'm glad my boy isn't big enough yet to wrangle snakes. Right now he enjoys bringing me rocks, weeds, and an occasional dead bug. =)

MightyMom said...

grab your .22 and blow his head off!!!


Blessings each day said...

Wow, you've been one busy lady, even changed your Header!

My friend Mimi had a snake in her pond and Michael tried to help catch it (so it would stop eating her fish), but it was very sneaky and elusive. Finally someone else helped her and they took it out into the country, but now she has a water moccasin in there and I am not anxious to help her with that one (I did try to search for the non-poisonous one with just she and I looking once).

Too bad you had to get rid of the king snake as they also eat poisonous snakes (with chickens and eggs for dessert, sad to say).



Lisa said...

Look out, Natlie! It's only a matter of time... &:o)

MM ~ you're so funny! I couldn't take the chance of hittin a chicken, now, could I?

Lisa said...

Marcy ~ I know! They are good to have around ~ esp the king snakes, because they'll eat rattlers. But. If there's a chance of saving eggs from a snake hanging out in there, there's no chance the girls 'll go in after the eggs if there's even a possibility there's a snake in there. We may have to have the boys collect eggs for a while before the girls will feel safe enough to venture in there...

Kim H. said...

I would have screamed and run like a total sissy girl -- and MM's comment made me laugh.

Lisa said...

Oh, yeah, oh, yeah, Kim. I've had many a screaming and running like a sissy girl snake incident ~ I'm just really glad I wasn't surprised by this one. Cathy got that pleasure this time... It's important for the little girls to have their farm breaking-in experiences just like i did, truly.

GrandmaK said...

Dearest Catherine! I, too would have RUN, leaped and screamed!!!! God bless you!!! Thank God it was a bull snake. Have a grand day! Cathy [Catherine]

Threeundertwo said...

Gah! I would have been running around flapping my hands and screaming too!!