This post was most recently updated on July 11th, 2015
I had a post ready to upload yesterday. It was a fun and light-hearted account of my husband’s and my recent trip to a really cool flea market event in the City, which served as my Mother’s Day gift. But none of that matters in light of the thing that happened yesterday afternoon … and I decided that I really must share with you that thing. So I’ll save the fun flea market trip for another day and share …the thing.
Let me begin my saying that gross stuff happens all the time around here. We have something of a scorpion issue, (Not ‘Scorpion King’ deadly scorpions, but just small brown ‘sting you on the toe if you don’t shake your shoes first scorpions.) for example. We deal with it, mostly, by setting glue traps around the basement and being cautious about our shoes – especially during the fall and early spring when the crazy temperature fluctuations send them scrambling toward the cozy insides of our house. But the other day, my teenage son came upstairs with his trusty pliers in hand … and I knew that meant he’d caught a scorpion. What I didn’t expect was that he was holding his glasses in his other hand with a totally disgusted look on his face. Apparently, he’d grabbed the little critter with such gusto that he’d actually squeezed it’s guts out … all over his face, including his mouth. I know – ew. Point being – I’m no stranger to grossness.
But yesterday, while I was walking my mom to her car from our back door, my 7 year old daughter was going on and on about something she saw in the tree branch that hangs directly over our back patio. “What is that?“ she asked. “Is that a snake wrapped around that tree branch?” I immediately paid attention to her ramblings … snake? Yep, that definitely got my full focus. I looked around and couldn’t see where she was pointing. When I finally did, I wished I hadn’t. This is what we saw …
Bleeeeeecchhhhh! Seriously, this gives me the willies all over again just looking at the picture!
Anyway, about the time I was feeling totally creeped out, my husband drove in and wondered why were hanging out staring up at the tree. When I showed him, all he said was, “Huh.” Then he decided that he was “not comfortable” with a snake having close access to the roof, which might translate to said snake getting into the house. Really, none of us wanted that! So he and our oldest son started pondering how to get the snake down from the tree without actually having to come very close to it. Even though I got this up close picture of the slithery thing, and we were pretty sure it was only a bull snake … we couldn’t actually tell for certain it wasn’t something poisonous. So caution was kind of the word of the day. Especially in light of last summer’s rattlesnake episode.
A brief explanation of The Rattlesnake Incident: Last summer, I’d returned home from taking the girls to summer dance class and parked the car in my usual spot. I opened the door and stepped out of the car without paying too much attention – just like always. However, I cought a glimpse of *something* moving by my foot and heard just the whisper of a noise that sounded spookily like a rattle. I looked down, just in time to see a snake shoot under the car and coil up by the inside of the back tire. I very carefully looked and could see that I had evidently hit it, at least partially, with the car tire, but it was still very much alive and super angry. I was pretty sure it was a rattlesnake … the dull, grey, ugly skin and broad head … not that I’ve seen many in my life, but growing up here, we’re all trained to recognize the Prairie Rattler from a young age. And to steer well clear. So I hurried into the house to get my husband. He bravely coaxed the wounded, pissed off snake out from under the tire … and chopped into many pieces with the shovel. I did take a picture of it with my phone, but I think I deleted it out of sheer repugnance. Anyway, it wasn’t very big in size – Prairie Rattlers aren’t usually – but it was at least 4 years old because we counted that many rattles on its tail. Ick. I’m not one of those moms who saves the rattles for their kids, either. The whole snake and caboodle went far, far away. Then I told my Dad about it and he said, “Well, you better watch out – his mate’s probably not very far away.” Yikes! I spent the rest of the summer tip-toeing around outside, terrified the dead snake’s mate might find me.
So. Back to Icky Snake in the Tree … After experimenting with many tools and utensils, including the apple picker, a long piece of pipe, and the garden rake, it was determined that nothing was quite long enough to warrant poking at the snake. Then they started throwing small rocks at it. I don’t know whether they hit it or just amused it. Eventually, though, the snake slithered down the tree trunk all on his own … where he met his end at the end of the hoe. My heroic husband whacked it so hard trying to sever it’s head that he broke the hoe handle in half. It was brand new. The old hoe handle got broken when he was trying to kill a rat in the garden. Maybe he’s got some issues with killing things with the hoe … that’s a topic for another day. This day, all I cared about was that that snake was d.e.a.d. And, as you can see here …
…definitely dead. And fat … he’d obviously been in that tree eating bird eggs. Quite a few from the looks of him. One of the most repulsive things I’ve seen in a while, though, was his severed head still trying to strike – his mouth just opening and closing. *shudders* And his headless body kept moving around, too. I was horrified, but I couldn’t look away. Nature may be gross sometimes, but it’s still pretty cool. But in this case, mostly gross.
I have reservations about relaxing on the patio now. I probably will have for a while. That tree hangs directly over where we grill, where I putter around with my seedlings and where I plan to paint my daughter’s bunk beds. The vision of that snake in that tree will stay with me, I’m sure. But eventually, I’ll forget about it and go on about my business. Or, more likely, something more disgusting, more creepy, or more distressing will happen and that will take the place of the icky snake thing. But just in case, I know the farm store carries snake repelling pellets and I’ll be buying some of those. A lot of those.