Wednesday, May 25, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different

Okay, so I had half a dozen ideas for posts to write, but something just happened that moved all of them to the back burner.

Did he think the faucet was a lady snake?
Ten minutes ago I came inside to fill a watering can in the kitchen sink AND THERE WAS A SNAKE WRAPPED AROUND THE FAUCET!! 

Allow me to back up for a minute.  We have our fair share of critters pass through the house, including a very occasional snake, usually courtesy of our cat Bella.  (Both cats adhere to the “catch and release” philosophy – catch them, then bring them inside alive and release them.  In general, they are poor hunters, rarely kill what they catch unless they torment it to death, and lose interest quickly.  Hence, I have gotten very good at catching mice, chippies, and snakes who all have the same goal as I – to get them the hell out of my house.)

When I was around 11 or 12 years old, I saw a program on television along Little House on the Prairie lines, where the pioneer family claimed an abandoned homestead out west.   One of the first scenes was of Stalwart Mom in the sod-roofed house, reaching up to take a python-sized snake out of the rafters and nonchalantly toss it outside.  I remember thinking, “Oh, how utterly bad ass!!! 

While dealing with snakes is not one of my favorite parts of rural life, there are not a lot of them around here.  I have to admit most of the ones I have come across here are small and unintimidating and I don’t mind handling them.  When I lived in Argyle, now, that was a different story.  There was a sizeable snake under every bale of hay you moved out there.  In Corinth, we had plenty on our property when I was a kid.  My mother was Stalwart Mom, finding them beautiful and interesting.  My father, who hated snakes, would walk through the tall grass with a long branch brandished in front of him.  My mother said he looked like St. Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland.

So back to my faucet snake.  After giving myself CPR, I took a picture of it so you can all look at it and say “You have got to be kidding me.”  The correct way to deal with it would have been to pick it up with authority and remove it from the premises.  But for some reason, I just could not make myself grab it.  It may not look it in the picture, but this sucker was sizeable!!  I was suddenly afraid of getting bit or having it make sudden defensive moves which would totally freak me out.  Did I mention that hubby was at a planning board meeting at the time all of this was happening?

I opened the back door and cleared the decks for a quick grab-and-toss exit.  I tried to use the barbeque tongs to pick it up but it started to move and I was afraid it would get behind the counter.  So I put on the woodstove gloves, figuring I could just pick it up that way and it wouldn’t matter if it bit me.  But the gloves that work well with red hot pieces of wood seemed clumsy and bulky for having to pick something up between thumb and forefinger.   I tried the tongs again but then it was just annoyed and slithered along the back of backsplash, behind the sugar bowl and coffee maker, and behind the counter to exactly where I didn’t want it to go.  I now have absolutely no way to access where it may be, and it has the run of the kitchen behind and under the cabinets along the wall.

In retrospect, I should have used the same tried-and-true trapping technique I use with the many little mammals that end up in the house – a rectangular plastic container, such as Zip-Lock or Glad brand.  They have good edges for covering your prey in a corner (especially useful with mice) and then it’s easy to slip the cover underneath to secure the subject for removal.  I could have pushed the snake into the sink and at least gotten a handle on it that way.  Instead, it capitalized on my stupid fear and now is somewhere in my kitchen.  Still.

There are oh so many nooks and crannies and openings in this house, I have no doubt it brought itself in and, I hope to God, will let itself out when it realizes there’s nothing in here even remotely interesting to a snake.  If nothing else, it will probably keep the cats entertained for a short period of time. 

 I will not be thoughtlessly putting my hand anywhere in the kitchen for a long, long time.

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