green acres

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as much as i love living in a country setting it’s been a trying week here for us suburbanites. early, very early, sunday morning i was awakened by the rudest, most pungent smell my nose has ever been exposed to. it has later come to light that a skunk apparently sprayed the side of our house, of course the side of the house where our bedroom and bathroom happen to be. fletcher did not take a direct hit but he apparently sustained some skunk shrapnel and after three days and a lot of nature’s miracle the smell seems to be holding on strong. suffice it to say that our house stinks and we’re dealing with it.

tonite after dinner dave was carrying murray outside when the evening was split open with a very loud shriek followed by dave yelling “get the dogs inside!” at this point i should tell you that in moments of panic or distress dave has a habit of just yelling one or two words, none of them being descriptive. he’ll yell at me to "come here" or "bring me (insert noun)," or in this case, "get the dogs inside," with no further information which is always followed by me asking why. he’s been instructed to just give me a little bit of information so i’m able to proceed in an informed fashion. so tonite “get the dogs inside” was followed by this eery phrase: “big snake!” so first off, well done dave; descriptive, short and concise; second, holy shit. at the time of the yelling i was walking outside with my fist happily clenching a handful of pepperidge farm goldfish which for several reasons i could not drop. first of which, i was hungry but more than that i didn’t want to drop food outside and have all the dogs stopping in the path of the enormous snake to eat (believe me, i do not use the word enormous lightly here). the dogs’ reactions were varied but fortunately most of them seemed to not see the snake and actually listened to us, perhaps it was the apparent fear in our voices propelling them. it was a lot of chaos but, still clenching my goldfish, i was able to get a bunch of dogs inside that dave had funneled my way. he was busy trying to find wilson and stop him from being a snake’s rat when i saw zander advance on the snake. as i saw the snake go to strike my screech was deafening – fortunately it was a swing and a miss. i was able to drag zander away but since my one hand was still clenching the goldfish, i couldn’t open the front door at the same time. i’m not sure what actually happened but somehow i was able to get the door open, usher zander in, throw the goldfish down inside the house and then yell “i threw food” to no one in particular. once the dogs were inside we were able to get our wits about us. we stood for several minutes, taking pictures so we could "id" him and trying to figure out a plan. i’m assuming the snake was a he because don’t all snakes seem like hims? he had gotten himself in a nice space beside our front porch where we could keep an eye on him but not easily capture him. it took us quite a while to figure out what to do, especially when the conversation included gems such as this:

dave: “if i were a real man i would just grab his head”

kym: “i don’t want to be married to that man”


kym: “do we have a pitchfork? (knowing full well that, no sir, we do not own a pitchfork)

dave: “if i’m going to kill him i’ll get a shovel”

kym: (several octaves higher than normal voice) “you’re not killing him!”

dave was able to successfully slap a clear plastic box over the snake (thank goodness cause he only had one shot) which we then slid onto cardboard, flipped over, and then carefully replaced the lid for the cardboard. the capture and aftermath went fairly smoothly, albeit for the 5 minutes we spent arguing about whether the snake actually rattled or if he moved his tail quickly which caused the plastic box to vibrate and create a rattle-like sound. i really think it was a garter snake but at this point there’s no telling.

on the way to dropping mr. snake off at his new home at a creek several miles away my questions on snake life began. am i taking him away from his friends? does he have any friends? why is he alone? (good lord, i hope he was alone) will he make new friends? snake life seems lonely i suppose. in any case it was last call for this particular snake at the colella home and as many fine bouncers through history have said “you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.”

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