Barn Peace

Dear Snake:

You are hereby notified to vacate the premises as of 8/7/2013.

While I am certain that you have enjoyed your residency here in the barn in years past, I must now insist that you leave. Immediately.

Your very presence is causing me great mental anguish. When I accidentally picked you up the other day, mistaking you for a stick, I thought I was going to die. In addition, you pose a threat to my chickens and the eggs I hope they one day produce. You have greatly interfered with my relationship with my magnificent horses as I now am afraid to enter the barn. You have, quite frankly, stolen my barn peace.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. And please know that I greatly appreciate any rodent eradication efforts you might have engaged in while residing here.

You have until midnight on the date stated above to be vacate.

I mean you no harm, only the best of luck.

Regards,

Rebekah, The New Farm Owner

(who finds you intriguing and wants no harm to fall upon you, but cannot find the courage to share the barn with you. Can. Not.)

And so it was done. My mind was made up. The snake has to go.

Yes, so many of you are correct: there’s no way I could harm or injure this snake. I just want it gone. I finally made up my mind that this had to be done.

I posted the notice beside the pink cat bed in my barn that the snake was living in. I was pleased when I saw him come out to read the notice. Sure, I felt a ting of guilt, but knew this was for the best. There were lots of barns available that weren’t mine, lots of fields and woods too. He would find a better home, I was sure. One where he could be appreciated rather than abhorred. He had shown himself to be a friendly snake, so I hoped that his next home was able to return his friendliness. (Which is something I could not do.)

So it was much to my surprise on August 8th, the day after he was ordered to leave, that he appeared in my barn.

I was down in the barn, talking to a fellow who is doing some work on the barn. Suddenly he said, “Well, at least we know where the snake is today.”

“You do?! Where?!”

“Look up.”

I looked up and THERE that snake was, hanging from the rafters above my head, above my horses. Slinking along. Enoying life. Living it up.

Did he not have a calendar? Did he not know that he was evicted last night at midnight?

I thought I was going to die.

I headed back to the house, mumbling out loud to myself the whole way. “Snakes above my head,” I muttered. “Dangling from the rafters…Living in my pink cat house…My horse should stomp you…I can’t live like this….Go away…..

A couple of hours later, I heard some commotion in the yard. One of the guys had caught the snake. I rushed outside to help formulate a plan to find the snake a NEW home. They were able to catch it when it came down from the barn rafters and was crawling through the hole that the chain that locks the farm gate goes through. Did I describe that well enough? It’s the hole through the barn wall that holds the chain that locks the horse gate. It’s the hole that you stick you hand in BLINDLY because you can’t see the other side. Oh really? He was slithering through the very place I put my hand many times a day to lock or unlock the gate? OMG. Why don’t you freak me out a little more, Mr. Snake?

We decided to relocate the snake a few miles down the street. There was a wooded, undeveloped subdivision on top of a hill. The owners had filed bankruptcy and the area was never developed. I went to get one of the plastic containers I used for the chickens when they were baby chicks. We—now, by “we” I mean “they”— got him into the container. Put the container on the back of my truck. And we moved him to his new home, away from my barn and my head and my hand and my horses.

I made a video of the adventure. I can’t include a video on this blog host program, so you’ll find it at www.rebekahteal.com.

And then I came home and felt PEACE.

Peace.

Peace at least. Glorious, calm peace.

Ah….

I even walked to the barn that evening IN THE DARK to see my horses. Put my hand through that hole to unlock the chain to the gate. Not a care in the world. Life was good. The snake was gone. This was the way it was BEFORE the snake. Humming along, singing a song. I used to come to see my horses every single evening to bid them goodnight; to give them a kiss and a treat. And yes! My chickens are safer now. Their future eggs are safe. I can relax.

Peace.

Peace in my barn.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I thought about that snake, worried a little. Asked my husband before I went to sleep, “Do you think the snake is okay? Was that a good place for him?” Yes, I hoped he found a safe and secure place to hide, and lots of food to eat. But I felt good about relocating him. Real good.

I found this fun recipe and plan to make these over the weekend, just to celebrate.

http://www.nwf.org/Kids/Family-Fun/recipes/slithering-snake-cookies.aspx

Janet wrote me the sweetest email after my last post about the snake.  She told me that 2013 is the Chinese year of the Snake, the BLACK Snake.

2013 is the year of Snake, the black snake. According to Chinese astrology, black is the color of space, arctic night, darkness on the Abyss, deep, deep waters. The Black Snake will bring people unexpected changes, instability, and changeability. In the year of Black Snake, it is important to plan everything beforehand, and evaluate adequately before taking any actions. They say that you need to be more careful and cautious than ever.” So they ya go! How funny is that?

The next day, the worker guys called me to the barn. They had found a snake in the pink cat bed. Again.

My peace was over. It was nice while it lasted. So short-lived. Those 20 hours were really, really nice.

The guys told me that this snake was bigger than the one we moved 20 hours ago and not as friendly as it. This one is kinda mad, they told me, “grouchy.” They thought that this one might be the male, and the one we relocated the female. Oh goody. Isn’t that super news?

The guys tried to catch this snake, but he was too fast and wily. It slithered off into that pile of pine tree branches we have beside the barn. He was also aggressive with them: it curled up and raised up to strike.

Later in the day, I went into the barn GINGERLY to plug up an extension cord so that I could run a fan in the window of the chicken house (it was unusually hot today). When I stepped just inside the barn to do that, I happen to look to my right and I saw YET ANOTHER black snake. This was not the same black snake that went into the pile of tree branches. This one was smaller and curled up under some weeds, taking a nap. Offspring, perhaps, of the other two?

Lord have mercy. There is no peace in my barn for me. It is snake infested.

I won’t put out poison and I won’t harm them, so what is a Farmgirl to do?

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

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

Leave a comment 19 Comments

  1. Denise says:

    Oh Rebekkah, sounds awful for you, snakes are the thing that worries me about living on property. Your posts on it send shivers down my spine, especially when you accidentally picked it up…yuck!!
    In hindsight was it better the devil you know? Hmmm will have to send up extra prayers on this one for you,
    Blessings

  2. Sukochi Lee says:

    Girl, look on the UP side. Yes, there is an upside. Though, you would never catch ME in that barn….E.V.E.R. I bet you have no mice. But, mice ARE cute and soo much less threating. You need a snake whisperer. Take the offending cat bed OUT of there. Perhaps, that is the breeding ground. After all, it is a bed!! Good luck, you need it!

  3. Crystal says:

    Maybe there is a service in your area that specializes in snake removal. One of my neighbors has posted in their yard that they do snake removal, so there are people out that there that do it. Until then your husband gets to go in the barn 😉

  4. Brenda says:

    OH my….What to do…
    I am just going to say this. I love love my hens. They talk to me and I talk to them. They give me the best eggs I have ever eaten. When a fox came and drug one away before we caught it at it a couple of years ago and when my husband took a stick after it when it refused to drop one of the other feather ladies, I would have shot it….and I would never want to hurt anything myself either. I live with the little snakes that curl around the shrubs I want to trim and I just walk away and leave them be. But if these snakes find you chickens and thier yummy eggs, you may have to get tough. I agree with Sukochi, take out the cat bed, maybe add it to a bonfire, maybe one of your workers that have been trying to catch them for you would do it. Do you have a front loader?:)

  5. Karin says:

    If you find a way to rid your barn of the snakes, please let me know. I do notlike snakes and have ask Charlie, our black snake to leave, unfortunately Charly must have been a Charlene. I know it is not Charlie because I escorted him to the next county, after my neighbor told me he would come back. I will admit after coming upon a Timber Rattler threatening my cat, I am not so concerned about the black snake brood but I still do not like snakes and want them all to leave and let me cats take up the slack in rodent control…. The cats have gotten lazy and need the work out..

  6. Denise S says:

    Oh so sorry for your snake infested barn! I have always been told that if you see one then there is always another one close by. It’s not a comforting feeling but you do live out in the country and that’s just the way it is. :) I live in a subdivision but grew up in the country. Having to watch every place you put your foot and look in trees is just part of it. But in saying all of that, I NEVER EVER liked having to watch for snakes. I found one in my yard while mowing in my subdivision and ran over it & then realized what had happened. I was screaming bloody murder while pushing and pulling the mower back and forth over it only to discover the hole it had gone down into. I ran and got a box of mothballs because I heard they don’t like them and I poured the whole box down the hole. I never saw the snake again. I hope he and his family moved to a new whole that didn’t smell funny! Lots of luck!

  7. Sippie says:

    You know what you need? A road runner! Seriously, snakes hate ’em – or, of course, a few barn kitties, which I know you said it did not want, but… seriously … it’s time.

  8. Sherry says:

    I’d come help you out if you were a neighbor. I relocate snakes all the time. Black snakes can get grouchy. Last one I had was pretty big and I ended up catching her by the tail and relocating her to a creek bed about 2 miles off. But I know we have more, they’re just wily. I’ll be thinkin’ of you. I’d just try to relocate them one at a time. Good luck!

  9. Kathy says:

    UGH…I could barely read your post, i dislike snakes that much, but i could never hurt one, i had a snake in my garden last year..named him Walter….i would always call out his name so he would know i was coming and it was my time! Biggest, bravest snake thing i have ever done…good luck!

  10. Mary Rauch says:

    I must be a terrible person in your eyes. I grew up in a farming community lifestyle. There was NO TROUBLE getting rid of snakes at our home. Any kind of snake was eradicated immediately on sight. The area next to our property of tree-laden, gurgling creek water and mossy earth was a wonderland for snakes. We sent the ones that came to our property on to "snake-happy-hunting-grounds".

  11. Margaret says:

    Rebekkah, I too have snakes around our home and shed. Everytime I step outside even into the closed garage I look down before I step so I will not walk on one accidentally. When I first had trouble living with them I took moth balls and scattered them around. I don’t know if it helped but it might make them move out further from the barn. Over the years I have attempted to remove their desired areas away from the house which helps a little. We, my son and I, were planting mums one fall when he dug a small hole for the new mum and wound up in a snake den of baby snakes. He moved as many as he could but I have had a real problem digging holes in my flower garden now for over 10 years because of that. Needless to say my flowers are rather odd as everytime I seem to do any weeding etc there is that huge old black snake. Looks a lot like your transferred gal. Just learn to work with them as best you can and to get over your fear. It’s the rattlers you have to be careful for and I had one of those one year on my deck.

    Good luck. But try moth balls helps a little. And devise a new way to fasten that gate right away.

  12. Deb says:

    In the area where I grew up, people kept Guinea Fowl. They were kept to eat insects like ticks (ew!), natural burglar alarm, & also to find & kill snakes. But never as food.

    When I joined the US Air Force, I was stationed in England where I was served Guinea Fowl. It takes like chicken.

    So all this rambling is to suggest that you add a few Guinea Fowl to your farm. They are pretty, helpful, & delicious!

  13. Tami Wright says:

    Rebekkah – I really enjoyed your post! Were you able to determine what kind of snake? I am in the mountains of California, and we get all kinds and have to do a double take before we decide what, if anything, to do about them. Except for the rattlers, I don’t mind the snakes but certainly understand your desire to not have them lurking in the rafters or someplace you may reach. Sukochi is right, though: they will keep down the rodents, and unless the snake is venemous, the rodents are actually more dangerous in spread of disease. Maybe moving things out that may be an attractive "home" or source of nesting material for rodents will help move out the snakes. I had a 4 1/2 foot king snake on the porch one day and was THRILLED because they kill and eat the rattlesnakes. A few weeks later I wished he had stuck around since I had to kill a rattler in the garage and almost stepped on one in the barn. Needless to say, ridding both places of certain boxes, straw, wood collections, etc. helps with the problem a bit. Don’t know about where you are, but here it helps to keep things up off the ground as much as possible. Of course, I still poke the wood pile with a shovel before I just reach in. 😉 Best of luck with the snake removal!

  14. Kerri says:

    Sorry……I would have killed that thing in a heartbeat, I don’t care what they eat!!!!! I honesty and truly do not think I would have survived picking it up! UGH!!!

  15. rene foust says:

    Oh no!!! How horrible I can’t even imagine what it must feel like for you· I hope you can find some kind of resolve and find it real quick. After reading the story of your horrible ordeal I am certain I will have horrible dreams of snakes, I really do not like them.
    I pray that you can find your barn peace again!

  16. Leslie says:

    I totally get your snake thing….and as I am a suburb gal moving to Texas in the next year with Mr. Man , I have informed him that HE is on snake patrol and I will run screaming from the garden if I encounter one. Thankfully he gets it. What a guy!!!

  17. bobbie says:

    I feel for you girlfriend. I hate snakes too. The snake fear would definitely keep me from having a farm. Even my suburban home with woods behind the house is a problem at times. So you have my sympathy and I wish you luck.

  18. Margie says:

    I also have a snake or snakes but they are gardener snakes, I have only seen one, each year in the spring, but I just know they are in my stone basement. I guess I am getting use to him around (the grandkids call him "no legs" but he does scare me when I don’t see him and he moves. I don’t even want to think about babies. I live in an old log cabin so who knows where they hide. I do have mice, but rather have them then a big black snake I guess. Sorry but I trap them, that’s life in the country, lucky for me the snakes haven’t come into my house, maybe because of the dog.

  19. lori richards says:

    Awesome!!!!!thank u! I have no “peace”…(well..I do…till I see that snake!)…im trying..so hard to getoverit!…

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