Friday, July 11, 2014


Blame it on the long, cold winter. Blame it on the lack of spring. Perhaps it's a greater awareness. Perhaps, it's just a fact.

There are more flipping snakes at the farm this year than the past.

We established quite some time ago that I am not a fan of snakes.

I do not like them in my yard. I do not like them at my farm.

Almost every weekend this summer, I've seen a snake. Or at least, that's how it feels to me.

First, it was the garter snake, Jim Bob.

Then, it was the black snake in the bird house. I'm searching, but apparently I didn't mention this little snakeisode on the blog. At the far end of our front yard, beyond the strip gardens, Ghon hung a bluebird box. One afternoon, Jonathan tried to look inside to see if there was anything living in it. He runs back saying there was something inside! Hand in hand we walk down, I attempt to peer into the opening to see if there were any birdies.

I jump back and we walk quickly back for Dad. Blasted snake was all curled up in the birdhouse.

Ghon comes down and opens the birdhouse, quickly jumping back in case the snake was a 'bad' one and it strikes.

Feathers. There had been birds.

Tim was with us, and he's not a fan of snakes either. He had the kids with him, at least 15 feet away. I was behind them.

Once he saw it was only a black snake, Ghon pulled it from the box and attempted to drop it on the ground.

Queue the scared dance.
Yuck, yuck, yuck.

He picked it up again, and that sucker was over 4 feet long. He slinked away into a small lumber pile that had been left behind and we'd never touched. And I never will touch.

Then, there was a green snake. Some random green thing. Passing through.

This was not taken at the farm. But what I saw.

Next up, a red snake, that of course, I had to find when I was at the farm with just the kids. I was mowing the grass with the tractor, kids in tow. I crossed over the front sidewalk near the driveway and there was this red striped snake crawling in the high grass next to me. Why was the grass high? It was sticking out of some lilies. Why didn't I weed it? Cause there's snakes hiding in it. Duh.

Heck no, I didn't stick around to take a picture. This is another internet photo, the eastern milk snake.

Thankfully, I was on the tractor and could just keep driving. Jonathan missed it, but Genevieve spotted it and started yelling "SNAKE! A SNAKE!" I had the eebie jeebies and drove the tractor to the other side of the field. Far, far, away from the snake.

I keep being told the black snakes are good and harmless. And I think I've got down what garter snakes look like. But dang it, some bright colored snake I've never seen before shows up, and no one to tell me what it is and if it's safe, I'm a little panicky. On my way across the yard, I started googling the snake to see if I needed to go back and run it over.

Apparently, eastern milk snakes are also harmless.

And last weekend, another yet another snake. There is still a good bit of metal we are working on scrapping near the old outbuildings. There is also some other stuff lying around on the ground, and since it's at the base of the mountain, it's prime habitat for snakes. I don't particularly care for walking around up there, or going into the outbuilding. But, I put on my big girl panties and went in to get the push mower. I was looking all around, as this time, I just knew there would be a snake.

Intuition is astonishingly accurate.

There are two plastic house shutters lying on the ground. They'd previously been propped up against the building, but had blown down. I don't make a habit out of picking stuff like that up. You never know what's living underneath. I walked across, grabbed the mower, and walked backwards out. The mower wheel was caught on the shutter, and there, next to it was a snake. Guess I woke it up on my way in.

To my credit, I'm not screaming much anymore. I didn't scream when I saw the milk snake. I didn't scream when I saw this snake. However, the paralyzing fear is very much present. With the first sighting last year, I screamed, couldn't move until the snake moved out of my way, then I ran. When Ghon finds snakes and hold them up, I usually start retreating. When I see one that I'm not expecting. I freeze. Then run.

So I stood there for a second, catching my breath and trying to figure out if it's "OK" or if I need to start screaming for Ghon. It looked like a garter snake, so I yanked on my mower, and left. Running down the hill.

I didn't ask him if his name was Jim Bob.

Given the number of snake sightings already this year, I suppose I have to get used to the idea that they are around. It does not mean I will like them any more or less. I have to get educated and know what is what.

This website, Virginia Herpetological Society has been a good resource for my little snake issue. It lists all the good and bad (only 3??) snakes found in Virginia, the regions they can be found, and pictures.

It's been about two weeks since I saw the milk snake. Seeing some of these pictures, I started worrying that maybe it wasn't a "harmless" milk snake, but a dangerous copperhead. That thing was definitely red though, so I think I'm in the clear.

 Here's a handy chart for telling the difference between a harmless and venomous snake.

I'm sorry, what? I have to find it's anal plate and count the rows of scales? Are you freaking kidding me? That would involve picking up the snake and looking at it's anus? To do that, I'd actually have to go near it.

The kids are still pretty fearless when it comes to snakes. We've brought home books from the library to talk about snakes. Jonathan has a snake shirt and like to tease me when he's wearing it. Heck, even Genevieve will sit with me and say, "you don't like snakes, right, mom?"

No Punk, I don't like snakes.

I really hope I don't encounter any new varieties. I don't think I can withstand the fear if any brown spotted looking things show up.

Lord help me and save the house if this ever happens.

If I walk to the house and there's a big ol' snake to greet me, I don't think I'll walk in that door in a long time. A very long time.

How about you? Do you have a fear of snakes, regardless of how rational or irrational it may be? Or are you a snake charmer?  Drop me a message in the comment section below. Just don't tell me to grow up and get over it. I'm doing the best I can.

1 comment:

  1. It was hard just reading a lot of this post ! Ew!! You are so brave! Great blog ;) new follower from northern Utah!!