Non-venomous, still not welcome

My Facebook memory from this morning was the 6 foot black rat snake that I extracted from my chicken coop exactly a year ago to the amazement of my then 14 year old grandson. Then about 5 weeks ago, another about 5 foot one from the coop, and last night just as a thunderstorm was beginning, I went over to lock up the hens who had wisely gone into the coop to find another 6 footer lounging on the outside of the coop, right at waist height. I walked past it in the deepening gloom without seeing it and spotted it when I came back out. Another 5 gallon bucket with lid grabbed, a call into the house for hubby to put on shoes and grab keys.

When I grabbed the one last night, it wrapped it’s tail around the gate handle that I use to secure the chicken run gate closed and was so strong that it almost pulled it’s head from my grasp. It was stretched out on the trim board above the handle it’s head half way down the length of the coop and it’s tail on the trim piece behind that fiberglass post.

I don’t kill them, but I don’t want them in my coop, eating eggs, feed, or babies when there are any, so they are put in a lidded 5 gallon bucket and taken away from the farm. The first two were dropped off in the wood about a half mile from home. This one was taken two miles away and dumped. I have to admit, that I never handled a snake before these three except for twice. Once when I took a small, 2 foot Hognose snake into my classroom from the adjoining classroom to show one of my Biology classes, the second time to feel, but not hold a python. Snake skin is dry, cool, and smooth, they are not slimy like some people think. They are well muscled and you can feel the muscle movement when they coil or try to.

Hubby is not a fan. He would prefer that they stay in the woods well away from us. When we bought a house in Virginia Beach when our children were young, the air handler was in the ceiling above the family room. The first time I went up to change the filter as it was a crawl on your hands and knees to get to it fit, I found several snake skins. Later that summer, a black rat snake crawled out of the hole in the brick where the condenser tube ran and he commented that if the snake was found in the house, he was moving out. Last night, he was taking the picture above and afterward, I lowered the snake in the bucket at my feet with the lid in my right hand. That snake did not want to be in that bucket and before I could get the lid firmly on, it tried to escape, in the direction of hubby who was standing back about 6 feet with the camera. I caught the snake and secured it, but his reaction before I did was priceless. I thought he had learned to fly, he jumped back so fast and so high (he says this is an exageration).

They have their place, eating rodents, but their place is not in my coop.

It did rain for a little while last evening and this morning, the farm was shrouded in fog. By the time the chores were done, the fog had lifted except at the tops of the trees and the mountain tops.

It was very pretty sitting on the porch with my breakfast and coffee watching it shift and having the territorial little Hummingbirds fly around through the covered porch chasing each other off.

The fog mist had settled on the asparagus ferns in the garden and they glittered like they were covered with thousands of tiny diamonds this morning.

The row of sunflowers are producing more blooms each day, bronze, lemon yellow, and Hopi dye seed varieties. Non of the wild Kansas sunflower seed that my sister sent produced plants this year.

It is going to be another hot and humid day, Roanoke, the nearest city has broken their weather history for the most consecutive days above 90 degrees f. It has gotten that hot here a few times in the past months, but mostly hovering in the upper 80’s. We await the mobile vet to check out the big guy and to administer vaccines possibly and do heartworm tests if the pups cooperate. The visit will be socially distanced on the front porch.

Stay safe, wear your mask. Let’s beat this virus.

I would love to hear your comments on this post.

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