Along the Natchez Trace

Friday, June 10, 2016

Not For the Squeamish....

We don't do any farming these days...  haven't for going on 20 years now.  But if we're back on the farm for more than a few days each year, we put up bird feeders and try to get some mowing done.

There is a lawn mowing service that keeps the rental lawns under control, but they don't mow clear back here by the barn/house.  We have been mowing the field just below and around the barn at least once during the summer.  This helps keep the mice and other critters from nesting in or around the barn.  Mice are tasty little meals for snakes....  so no mice...  no snakes.

Well....  maybe...

Snakes also like bird eggs and baby birds....  When Bill puts up bird boxes he also puts up predator guards to deter 4 legged...  or no legged....  critters from raiding the nests.

When Bill walked out on the deck of the rental we're working on yesterday, he looked down into the field and saw a black snake working its way towards the barn.  I was inside working, but hurried out when he told me what he saw.

After a small skirmish I had him....
I wish I'd measured him, but he was at least 5' long....  you can see he's coiled around my arm several times.

We have bluebirds and robins both nesting nearby and I'm sure that's what he was after.  Despite having a penchant for baby birds, snakes are really good guys, so I carried him up the road a ways and tossed him over the fence.  We kept our eyes out for his "snake mate" the rest of the evening.

This morning as I walked outside I could hear the robins...  they were terribly upset...  squawking and dive bombing their nest.  This nest is located in what we thought was a safe place from predators.  Bill had built a box-like structure under the 2nd floor deck of the barn house.  It was our cat's entrance to the house...  after dropping into the box, they'd go through the rafters and a series of kitty doors to get into our house.  After we moved out, Bill closed up the entrances, but left the box suspended from the deck bottom as it became a ledge for bird nests.

Well, looking up into the box, I thought I could see the form of a snake up there....  I came over to our motorhome and got my binoculars...  and Bill.  Yep... it's a snake.  Bill put the ladder up against the barn and up I went...

I tossed him onto the ground...  hoping he hadn't already had breakfast.
I was too late....  no baby birds left.
But he was so full he didn't slither way, and I was able to grab him without a struggle.  He's at least a foot shorter than the one we got yesterday.
You might see that I'm wearing gloves this morning...  the snake yesterday managed to bite me a time or two and while not poisonous, those little puncture wounds can get infected.
I made another trip up the road and tossed him over the fence...

We had lunch, I changed back to shorts and a tee and started my blog....

Since then Bill has interrupted my blog progress... twice....

I was writing...  heard Bill...  went out and grabbed another big guy...
You're seeing more of his belly or underside here.  He's darker with a more subtle pattern on top.
Relocated him a mile or so up the road....
Came back and started writing again...

And again...  Hey, Sharon....  come out here....
This one was fairly docile...  no struggle...  until....
Bill tried to spray paint a mark on his back...  (you know, to identify him if he returns)
Well, that didn't work...  an old can of paint...  a wriggly snake.

We took him for a little car ride...  stopped and let him off in a field down the road.

So...  4 snakes all in the same area in less than 24 hours.  
I don't know if they were hibernating in the bottom of the barn where the stalls are or just exactly where they're coming from.  
Bill hasn't seen any evidence of mice in the barn so maybe they've been keeping the rodent population down.

Whatever's going on, I guess I'll be watching where I walk and keeping my gloves close at hand....

I know these are "good guys"...  I just don't like sharing my space with them.

That's All For Today!


  1. WOW! I'm willing to hold tame snakes and tiny wild ones, but I'd never grab wild big ones.

  2. You be the "Snake Whisperer" good job Sharon.

  3. Wow, better you than me:) After the first one, I might have gotten a little rough with them. I have had only two good sized Black Racers here and I just wait them out to return to the woods. They are also good guys, so I try not to disturb them too much.

  4. I will have to warn Gerry about this posting since she absolutely hates and fears snakes. I don't mind them as I used to see them all the time growing up in Illinois. I did not like cottonmouth water moccasins have had close calls with them while fishing.

  5. Yikes! I would not have been able to do that.

  6. I had a pet snake for awhile. Yes, that was before I was married. I was in college when I got it. When I came home, my Mom said, NOT IN MY HOUSE!!, so I let him go free.

  7. You didn't write what kind of snake these were. But I can tell you that I NEVER would have touched any of them.

  8. We once paddled our canoe into shore on the Connecticut River and I found myself nose-to-nose with a black snake. I yelled, "Push off!" Friends laughed when I told them and said, "Oh, black snakes are harmless. They eat gophers!" "Which means they have teeth that bite!" was my response. You're a lot braver than I (but then I already knew that).

  9. Good grief. If Bill would have called me, I would have yelled back..."No way in he-- am I coming out there!"

    Are snakes territorial creatures? Will they come back like a groundhog?

  10. That's a lot of snakes and big snakes. You're brave to grab them that way. I wonder if they're the same snakes coming back.

  11. I know about snakes being good guys, but you won't find me picking them up.

  12. Now that you have the hairs on my arms standing up on end ... can you go back to photos of "raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens", or birds and flowers and other such nice things please?

  13. Wow! That is a lot of snakes in a short period of time. Hopefully you'll get them all relocated so that your birds will have half a chance.

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