The other day, I took the boys on a walk. They wore mud boots and shorts – their typical walk fashion. Max rode in the double stroller alone and Reed rode his bike to the bottom of a hill, then parked it until we got back. That took all of 7 pedals. Either way we walk we face a huge hill. It’s great for the exercise factor, which is a good thing, because our walks are not what I would call vigorous, what with all the stopping for every interesting rock, possible wildlife sighting, weapon-shaped sticks, and puddles containing 5 or more milliliters of water.
Anyway, we were on the way home and walking along at a pretty steady pace. Apparently, the rocks and puddles had already been conquered along that leg of the journey. Suddenly, Calvin yelled, “Mommy! Snake!” I immediately looked down and could barely see a copperhead. I could barely see it, because it was under my stroller, right by the front wheel. I backed up quickly, pushed everybody far away, and did what any good country Mama would do. I called the dog back to us and started talking about snakes and markings and venom, and why he was coiled up and ready to strike at the moment. Now, you may be wondering why I wasn’t freaking out like the big spaz that I usually am. It’s because life on our little patchwork farm has given me experiences I never DREAMED I’d have. Things like this:
- Nightly tick checks (with frequent discoveries and extractions)
- A possum in the shed in the dog food bin
- Ryan shooting a possum on the porch for getting in the cat food
- Ryan shooting four water snakes by our pond (don’t tell the conservation agents…)
- Ryan shooting TWO skunks who came to “court” the female skunk that was residing under our house for about a month
- Dragging skunk carcass out of the yard after our curious coonhound puppy discovered it
- Chickens ignoring the roost we provided and instead taking up residence in our storage shelves under the porch.
- Milking goats by hand
- Chasing goats out of shed and off of lawn mowers
- Holding goats steady while Ryan treats for “hoof rot”
- Washing (and snipping) dried-up poop out of baby goat’s fur IN MY KITCHEN SINK!
- Blow drying newly-named kid, Dingleberry, so he wouldn’t freeze after his shampooing.
- Ryan and the boys playing fun games of kill-the-wood-bees-with-shovels-in-midair
- Holding deer legs steady while Ryan cuts through the bone with a hack saw (mightta spazzed a little on that one, but COME ON!)
So, you can see how a venomous snake in the middle of the road, but safely away from my boys wouldn’t really be that big of a deal. Until our previously-mentioned curious coonhound puppy began to take interest in it. Shaky doesn’t listen like our Labrador. Despite my firm commands and the boys desperate screams, she wouldn’t “Come!” or “Stop!” or “Get away from the venomous snake, Shaky!” Too bad I couldn’t continue our Venomous Snakes 101 lecture. They could have learned the difference between coiling like you might strike, raising up ready to attack, and actually lashing out at dangerous predators. We saw it all. We also saw Shaky back off in fear and took that as our cue to run – encouraging her to follow suit.
The next day, the boys would excitedly tell the tale of how “Calvin saved Mommy and Max’s life!” and how “Shaky almost got bit by a venomous snake!” but not even a week later, the tale was forgotten. Just another day on the farm…