I Doubt It

It had already been a long, hard week when my husband called me from his cell phone to tell me that he was sitting on the tractor we borrowed and it was stuck in mud. Could I come and help get him out? he asked. I laughed. Not because he was stuck, but because he actually thought I could be of some help in the situation.

Me? Help? Really?!! What in the world could I do? I wouldn’t know where to begin to get a tractor un-stuck.

Well, there was one thing to do: call a neighbor for help.

stucktractor

When I got there, our good neighbors had already arrived to save us ONCE AGAIN.

“We don’t have any business being on this farm…” I said. Whined really. I was feeling low after the week I’d had. Our neighbors are so generous and kind and helpful. They had stopped what they were doing, which was cutting hay–very important work this time of year, in order to come across the road and rescue the city people ONCE AGAIN. The city people who were clueless in this country setting.

“You got as much business being here as anybody else,” our neighbor said kindly. And then he added, “Everybody gets stuck. One day you’ll come and get us out.”

I doubt it.

I doubt it seriously. If you are stuck in the mud in your tractor, we are not the neighbors to call. If your farm equipment is broken, we cannot help. If your cow is sick, we have no idea how to assist. If you are in jail, yes indeed, call. Or if you need to have a contract reviewed before you sign it, yes. Or need advice for forming a business, yes. Stuck in the mud? No.

Doubt in the head. That’s why I said that we have no business here.

Just that morning I was working on my computer in the den. I kept hearing a strange noise over by the fireplace. What was that? We have had mice problems, so I thought maybe a mouse got into the firebox. I saved my document and went over to look through the glass doors of the fireplace.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear?

Want to guess?

Or do you just want me to tell you?

Okay, take three guesses.

Mouse?

No.

Snake?

No.

Squirrel?

No.

Okay, I’ll tell you what it was. A bat. No joke. I did my best to take a photo.

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Bats do not freak me out. At all. They aren’t scary in the least to me. Cute and fuzzy. And they eat all those mosquitoes. Bats are my friends. So I put on my gloves and opened the door and scooped it up and headed outside with him.

No problem, right?

Well, there was a problem. He found a little tiny opening between my hands and he flew out. In my house.

I called my husband so he could come and help me. The bat was flying all over the place, up, down, here, there, so erratic and unpredictable. My husband freaked out. You know the way snakes freak me out? Where I scream and carry on? That was my handsome, usually courageous husband. He was totally freaked out. When the bat would fly at him, my husband would let out a squeal. And that would freak out the bat. Which would freak out my husband. The more he hollered and waved the broom, the more erratically the bat flew. Oh, did I mention the broom? Yes, he grabbed a broom and was waving it all over the place. It was crazy. Out of control and crazy.

Finally, I got him out of the room. And by “him” I mean my husband. I sent calm energy to the bat, opened some windows and calmly asked the bat to fly out one. He did. And that was that.

But. Earlier in the week?

It was my time to freak out. There was a snake in our bathroom. I can’t discuss it much because I’m trying to block it out of my mind. Permanently forget. You know, so I can continue to live in this house. A snake. In. The. Bathroom. Come on, now. You see why I was doubting this farmlife thing? I mean, how do I live with the snake in the bathroom truth?

I’ll tell you how. Ostrich approach. Denial. Avoidance.

The first few days after that happened, I would not go into that bathroom. Obviously, if there was one snake, there were hundreds in there, perhaps thousands. Like all those movies. Yes, I figured they all came out from hiding and covered the floor with their gross slithery-ness. It was the thing my night-mares have always been made of.

I’m sure I’ve told you, but it is an important factor in my snake-phobia, so I’ll tell you again. When I was a little girl, not afraid of snakes at all, I shared a room with my older sister. We had twin beds with a bedside table in between us. At night, before I’d fall asleep, my older sister would tell me that snakes were between the beds on the floor. She’d say that my hand better not hang off the bed. My arms better be inside the covers. I better not have to get up and go to the bathroom. Torture, I tell ya. Truth be told, I carried that fear into my adult-hood. It look a lot of years before I came to realize that I wouldn’t go to the bathroom in the middle of the night because I was actually afraid of snakes being on the floor. No joke.

And now this. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! A snake on the bathroom floor? Tell me it is not true!

It’s funny. I was talking to the guy in the plumbing department at our local home improvement store. I was asking him about snakes coming up a bathtub drain and whether that was possible. And he asked me why I was inquiring and I told him. And he freaked out too. He said that was the stuff his nightmares are made of too. His fear, he said, has always been snakes in the toilet at night.

Adults, us all. And we’re carrying our childhood fears with us.

Which brings me to the creek out front. My daughter and I have been enjoying the summer on rafts on the creek. We sit or we float. It’s been so relaxing and fun.

Until the other day. We’re floating and my eyes are closed, listening to the sound of the water over the rocks.

When I hear my daughter say, “Snake!”

And I lose it. Go crazy on her. But I don’t know where the snake is and we’re floating on the water. So I just sit there and scream. Frozen in fear.

Eventually, she is able to tell me that it wasn’t that big. And she thought it went in the other direction. So, we decide to stay and enjoy our float in the creek. (hardy-har-har. I mainly just want to show her that it is okay, that we can co-exist, that she doesn’t have to be snake-phobic like her Mother. I was still freaking out inside, but saying to myself, “It’s okay. You can do this…”

“Are you afraid?” my daughter inquired.

And I answered her question with a question. Well, more of a “cheer” than a question: “Who’s more brave than us? NOBODY!” I kept saying that over and over and over. To her. To me. To us.

But the more I thought about it, the more I thought he’d be back. If he headed upstream, which my daughter THOUGHT he did, then he’d be heading back downstream eventually. To us. To our rafts. I’m thinking those thoughts about the time she says, “Do snakes have a smell? Because I think I smell something snake-ish.”

And I remember when one of the guys who were helping us in the barn caught a snake and told me that the snake let out its musk because it was afraid.

So I was done for. “Let’s just head back inside for the day, Sweetie,” I said calmly. “Are you afraid?” she asked me. “I’m just ready to go in. I have work to do,” I answered. And I did that cheer again. “Who’s more brave than us? NOBODY!” And added a “woo-who” for good measure.

Which brings me to the barn. I’m cleaning out the barn and do the thing I know better than to do: I look up at the rafters above me. What is that long black thing? An electric wire? No. It moved. I ran. Why did I look? I KNEW better.

I’m a mess. I’m a scared mess. I haven’t been back to the barn. I haven’t been back to the creek. And now the bathroom. I’d done for. I doubt everything. What were we thinking? Moving out here?

The other day, out of the blue, a friend sent me an email with this graphic (which, by the way, I have no idea who created it or where it came from, but will be delighted to credit the source if any one can tell me.) She sent it because I call my Merlin, the great white horse, a unicorn. But the words were perfect.

unicorn

Okay, I can avoid the barn and the creek, but my house?

I did avoid that bathroom for days and used a different bathroom. But I can’t live with this paralyzing fear. I don’t want to live like that. The way it is now, the snake won. I lost and he won.

So I got some new bubble bath. And my dog Blue. And we headed to the snake bathroom for a bubble bath. I made Blue stay with me. There were no snakes. I looked on the light fixture. Behind the toilet. Down the drain. In the shower curtain. On the rod. Under the sinks. No snakes. So I took a bubble bath. It was short and sweet, but I did it.

And I did it the next night. And the next night.

Am I over my fear?

No. I’m still snake phobic.

But I’m not moving out. I live on this farm, in this farmhouse. I love it here. Dang snakes are not going to ruin it for me.

I must believe in myself. Get rid of the doubts. Banish the stupid fears.

Oh yes, all that.

And get more cats.

The one on the left is Sgt. Pepper. The one on the right is Hey Jude. Sweet, sweet boys. Who, I hope, will scare off the snakes! Go get ’em, Boys.

kk

And guess who is hanging out close to the house and barn? Mr. Mus-tachio, the feral cat I got off of death row. Yippee! Snakes B GONE!

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Sunset reflects in our small pond. The Old Sycamore Tree is the large tree to the left. The two lights you see are the local church. The white creature you see in the pasture is Merlin, the unicorn.

And it is almost August. Time to get out the jar and beans. Around here, they put a bean in the jar for every foggy morning in August. That tells you the number of snow events there will be this winter. I’m hoping for a jar full of beans!

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Yeah, it’s going to take more than bats and snakes and stuck tractors to run me off from this place.

 

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl in the Country, Rebekah

Leave a comment 22 Comments

  1. Maureen says:

    I know this works for mice, but I would think it would pertain to snakes as well. Wherever pipes come through a hard surface, such as a floor or a wall, if there’s any space at all open around them, critters can squeeze through. Stuff any openings with steel wool. It works on any entry source you can find. They cannot chew through it. Good luck! Pretty handsome guard kitties you have there.

  2. Marcie says:

    Hi Rebekah,
    So glad you’re ‘staying’! You do have a right to be there, with all the hard work you and your family have done to ‘make that your home’, stay put!

    Thank you for saving the bat. Bless you! So many folks do not realize how beneficial bats are to our existence. They can eat their own weight in flying insects every night, from mosquitoes to moths that take out a farmer’s corn crop. A bat house near your pond would be a great addition to the farm (if you do add one, it needs to be at least 8 feet high + it would be a great educational tool to teach folks about bats + bat watching at sunset as they come spiraling out of the house to go on their first feeding). We love bats and we often sit out on our back deck in the evenings and listen to them as they feed while soaring overhead.

    take care, Marcie

  3. Karen C says:

    Rebekah, you are so blessed to be living the dream! Have no fear – I still get freaked out whenever I mow the lawn and see a skittish garter snake get out of my way.

  4. Joan says:

    Oh Rebekah, I so relate to your snake phobia. I NEVER go into my yard, flower gardens without a stick to poke the ground before I step. I lived in my previous home 38 yrs. and the last 10 years of that time I had snakes, the reason that all of a sudden they were there doesn’t matter BUT I moved into this home 8 years ago – all new housing area in the middle of an old buffalo ranch, clean clear ground, did all the planting of everything and never a snake but obviously I brought my phobia with me and it is ok, I am just totally aware of every where I step, put my hand, look up n down at all times. This all being said it is ok to have the phobia, just be aware and live at your lovely, wonderful farm as if you were always there. Thanks for sharing your experiences. God bless.

  5. Bonnie Ellis says:

    Woo hoo! What adventures you have. Keep up the courage, you are a real farmgirl now,

  6. Linda Wigington says:

    Your childhood experience reminds me of a Bill Cosby routine, where his parents go out and leave him in a playpen in the kitchen, telling him snakes will bite him if he gets out. So he calls out to them, “Snakes, snakes, you out there snakes?…don’t bite me, just give me a little snaky lick!” As only he could say it. My mother hated snakes and wouldn’t even pick up a magazine if it had a picture of a snake in/on it! I, on the other hand, freaked her out as a child by putting a black snake around my neck and showing her! My father taught our full-size Cocker Spaniel to kill snakes. He would shake them until there was not a piece much bigger than an inch left! I am much older now and more cautious, but have never seen a poisonous snake. Good luck and I envy you living in the country. Enjoy God’s creation. Beautiful sunset, by the way.

  7. We live smack in the middle of suburbia, but I’m thinking of getting a snake. Something needs to get rid of these gophers! I do want the snake to stay outside though.

    Like others, I’m so glad you are sticking it out! And you know what? Someday you WILL rescue a stuck neighbor. Honest.

  8. Rebekah, I had snakes at my home in La., where we had a creek that ran all the way thru our property. We had water moccasins and copperheads, it got to the point that they would even come up on my porch. I was so sick of snakes, so someone had told me to throw moth balls around, I threw them up under everywhere, and the snakes stayed away. I also told The Lord, Lord, I am superior to snakes, and I am saying now Snakes you have no right to my property, be gone in the name of Jesus, and no more snakes here in NC after doing that. Good luck, and remember what we fear most is what we bring about. Be Blessed!

  9. Nan Roberts says:

    Oh, Rebekah, I’m so sorry you’re suffering from this test. That’s just awful. I’ll keep praying for you, that you will hav God’s peace and ease around all creatures.

    When I was a kid I was afraid of bees. Well, “bees”, could’ve been any similar creature which would sting. Yellow jackets, say. Because we were stung by some while playing in the big gulch behind our house.

    But as I grew older, in fact after I became a Christian, I lost those fears. I keep bees now.

    But your rotten sister, telling you that. My rotten sister and friends had a Something wrapped in rags and told me it was The Mummy’s Hand, and it was buried alongside a neighbor’s house, a passage to the same big gulch. I was terrified for YEARS of that place and wouldn’t go there, thinking the Mummy would get me. (I guess the movie had come out then.)

    So good for you for challenging those fears. You guys are wonderful people as neighbors. And the skills and helps you can offer really could help your neighbors. They already know how to pull tractors out of the mud. They don’t know anything about reviewing contracts.

    So hold on. You’re going to be ok.
    I will speak peace and safety and healing over all of you every day. Peace will come. It’s a process, it takes time.

    I love hearing about your life there.
    Love from Nan in Oregon

  10. Nan Roberts says:

    By the way, you are a Brave Girl!

  11. Nan Roberts says:

    Not “test” but fear. Stupid phone.

  12. Cathy says:

    Jesus says to ‘speak to the mountain’. In other words, whatever the mountain in your life is, speak to it and say “Be thou removed”. You need to speak these words to your fear and anxiety over the snakes. You’re being tormented with these critters and you need to come against them with your words. “I refuse to fear” is a favorite of mine daily. Just a thought to help you through. Our imaginations can do us a huge disservice in the fear department.
    By the way, I thoroughly enjoyed the part about your husband and the bat, haha. Don’t be run off your farm by disappointments. You have far too many successes to let a few unfortunate things rule the roost. Take care :)

  13. Donna cyr says:

    Miss Rebekah
    Fear not the snakes for they have there job on the farm to. just to let you know the snakes are just as afraid of you as you are of them. they will never bite unless they are threatened or you are by a nest. they will slither away as fast as they can as soon as they sense you are there. as far as snakes in the house if it is a old farm house there are lots of places snakes can come in and they do eat the mice, coack roaches,and other small critter around your house they are not the enemy fear them not. They are part of any farm. and have the right to be there to . You will get this farm life it takes awhile but all is good in the end.

  14. Tammie says:

    I love your posts. They are refreshing and honest and sweet.
    Can I make a suggestion? (You don’t have to take it of course :) )
    Learn everything you can about snakes. What are the names of the snakes that live in your area, their habitats, their habits… the food they eat… everything. I can promise you that there isn’t a snake alive that has humans as their main dish. You will probably learn that they like to stay hidden for a reason and it’s not to be sneaky.
    I hope this would be helpful for you in learning how to co-exist.
    When I was a little girl (the youngest out of 4 kids) my siblings teased me unmercifully with June bugs. I know, crazy right? I was scared spitless of them. (To this day I’m still not all that crazy about them but … we’re good lol). One evening my dad took us to visit his parents in Oklahoma and he sat me on his lap. There was one of those creepy little things under me and I could feel it fluttering around. I wasn’t sure what it would do but I knew it was there. My dad wouldn’t let me up until I told him what was wrong and the more he held me the more freaked out I became. Finally he couldn’t hold me any longer and I ran to the bathroom and locked myself in.
    All was much better until…. (this was an old house and the light switch was on the outside of the bathroom door. So cruel…)
    The point of that story was to say, I understand irrational fear. I’ll give it to you snakes can do much more damage than any June bug, but on the other hand we went camping all the time in California and the river we went to had rattle snakes. We were told to not move any rocks or logs, things like that because the snakes would sleep under them during the day to stay our of the heat. I remember when I would see a snake I was told to move slowly away and leave it alone so as not to scare it. So, rattle snakes were fine…. June bugs on the other hand totally freaked me out. (Thanks loving siblings of mine :) )

  15. loreta says:

    My husband said he heard that Turkeys would keep snakes away. But you have to let them run loose you can’t keep them penned up. Loved your blog. Couldn’t stop laughing. I’m scared of snakes too.

  16. Nancy says:

    I’m only 5 years ahead of you on the city-country transition, and still suffer from the “varmint vapors” from time-to-time. Ticks are my especial fear (for good reason). Snakes I must tolerate (at a distance) since they feast on the field mice, which are plentiful. I’m hoping my intrepid cat will scare away the snakes from near the house, as well as dispatch a few mice to their eternal reward. I wish you courage and strength as you continue to face the challenges that will come your way. A crisp autumn night with stars strewn like diamonds across a black-velvet sky is just one of many rewards for your efforts.

  17. bonnie b says:

    Oh Rebekah, I had to laugh at the bat part of your story. We lived in a log cabin with a lovely fireplace that we found out housed a “family” of bats. On that night we had 3 fly out of the fireplace and my hubs was the hero- he got out a fishing net and caught them one at a time and took them out the front door. We went to bed thinking that was that. But 10 bats later with my husband running around in his underwear with a fishing net, he had gotten all the bats out. The next day we worked on the chimney and never had another bat. But what a story we had to tell.

  18. Cindy Bee says:

    Well first of all I’m plumb out of beans! And I intend to stay that way! Ok, so I have to admit, this post gave me a Willie! You know, where you get a cold shiver and goose bumps. Ugh….girl, Jake and Cake were ok…. being outside and all….but in the bathroom! Oh me oh my! So, I’m still living in one room in the basement while we build our house…still….still….still…..and I was thinking this morning… I really was thinking this….I kill one spider a day. I do. I used to not kill them. When I first moved out here, I’d re-locate them to outside. Now, WHACK! I’m tired of it. Tarrrrreeed of it all I tell ya! I have my eye on tomorrow’s spider…if it comes down from the ceiling. Guess where it is? Yup! In the bathroom!

    Cindy Bee

  19. Denise Ross says:

    Snakes scare me too tho I don’t live on a farm. We have plenty of kinds here in Australia some venomous and some not – I only remember the king brown as a deadly one. Anyway I think you’re being very brave and yes it’s hard to switch off from those childhood fears. I still don’t let Amy of my body dangle over the sides of the bed at night lol. Good ole siblings – they just can’t help themselves. Keep on keeping on. Each day you’re learning new talents even if it’s just adjusting to life with snakes and I’m sure you’re short changing yourself on the talent front. Just keep telling yourself if the pioneers could do it, I can too. Happy farm days :)

  20. rene foust says:

    Rebekah I am not sure where to begin there are so many thoughts running through my head as I write this post. One thing I do know for sure is that you are a brave and honest woman. I have had the same thoughts on many occasions about my decision to make the move to my “dream life” questioning my reasons and really wondering if I will ever really be happy, and then out of no where some simple random thing or thought shows me the light and I realize I am right where I am supposed to be. Snakes, mice, stink bugs and gnats wont run me away. Keep up the good fight and know that all of your friends are praying for your happiness and that you find a way to over come your fear of snakes.

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