Well I guess I should not be surprised that summer is here already. Not only is it hot as blazes and we need rain, the snakes are in "full bloom". How do I know this? Well we have been missing eggs recently, as in 35 hens should = around 18-20 eggs daily. I have several hens that are well past their egg laying days, but continue to help keep the feed picked up that the goats spill so they get to live the life of leisure.
So about a week ago, I went to the barn and was collecting eggs, not really paying attention to WHERE my hands were going other than into the tubs we have for the chickens. Yep, you guessed it, right on top of a rather large black snake. I screamed and jerked my hand away. (Now anyone that knows me knows I am an animal lover and would never kill anything that is not hurting another animal on my property; BUT I really don't want to be feeding a rat snake all my eggs either.) I went and got my hard rake (my favorite snake catching tool) so I could wrap it around the tines and go drop him into the woods.
Things did not go as planned. He would not get onto the hard rake no matter how many times I tried to tell him to get on and go for a "Joy ride" back into the woods. Oh no, he started crawling up the wall trying to go up into the rafters of the barn. Now look, I sure do not want you up there so that at some point you may be staring at me in my eyes. Oh no.. So I grabbed him by the hard rake to pull him down and well he landed on my head. Yep, I'm so glad I could break his fall.
I chased him out of the barn with my hard rake and telling him in my most stern voice "No freeloaders allowed!" I followed him down behind the barn and into the woods, swatting him every chance I got. He must of been good and pissed off too because he musked as he was leaving. Fast forward until this past Saturday, Jason and I were in the barn to tattoo the babies and low and behold who was back in the barn??? But this time he had a friend...a female friend and well they were in the middle of making baby snakes.
My hubby, Jason, God love him is terrified of snakes and wanted to kill them. Calmer heads prevailed and I told him to go and get a bucket with a lid. This dude was so big he would not fit between the tines of the hard rake, so I had to use a different "snake getter tool" that is the scientific name. By that time they had finished their mating and I was trying to grab one of them while Jason was on the other side of the pen. They both went through a hole in the floor so we went outside of the barn and they were no where to be found. I went back inside and started moving pieces of wood and bricks that we had used to block where erosion was washing away under the barn and there they were. They had made themselves a nice little nest to hole up in and wait to surprise us with baby snakes. So the big one came out first and he was going up the wall. I grabbed him by the tail but he was too strong for me to pull out of the crevice between the wood. Also I could not see his head and while rat snakes are not venomous, they can still hurt you.
Jason was poking him trying to get him out of the wall and I was poking him with my snake getter. Finally I was able to put my tool on the back of his head and grab him and put him in the bucket. Then the smaller one, I am assuming female, came out and we got her captured. We called the hay guy and he wants them for the hay barn for mice so he said we could bring them down. The whole way Jason was turning around making sure that the bucket did not come open. Scaredy cat. No sooner did we get those 2 released and got back home but there was ANOTHER ONE. Dang it. Got him caught and in the bucket and released at another farm. Hopefully we are done with snakes for the year but it is Sssssssummer....
I hope this made you laugh. Life on the farm is always interesting, to say the least..Shannon