For every laugh there is a tear, for every up there is a down, for every sunny day there is a storm cloud.... It follows that for all the peaceful evenings and beautiful blooms on Green Acres there would have to be a negative. But does it HAVE to be snakes? How about plagues of locusts? Landslides? Being forced to watch reality TV? Just NOT snakes!
The first sighting was reported by the air-conditioning fix-it guy. He began with, "I don't know how you feel about snakes..." This isn't going to be good! He found one on the back patio (yes, not more than 10' from the door and right where I walk to get to the clothes line). It was "only" a garter snake and it had captured a toad. The encounter wasn't ending well for either creature - evidently garter snakes are stupid and don't realize they can't swallow an entire toad - so one was choking and one was just dead. Dave disposed of this one by carrying it down to the pond and leaving nature to take it's course.
The second sighting was in the garden - another garter snake even smaller than the first. Dave disposed of this one by heaving it as far as possible into the cattle pasture. I did at least recognize the futility of killing off the garter snake population one by one. But last night was a whole new deal.
Molly, our Springer Spaniel, was dancing around one of the lilac bushes like it was a Maypole. Bark, bark, bark....run, run, run...dig, dig....wiggle, wiggle...JUMP!...repeat. Since she was too engrossed to answer when called or come to the house, Dave went to investigate. Expecting to find a squirrel or, more likely, nothing at all, Dave parted branches and stuck his head into the center of the bush. The conversation went something like this:
Dave: Oh, I see. It's a snake. (Just calm as can be, like "Oh look, a butterfly".)
Me: How big? (The only rational response to "It's a snake.")
Dave: You don't want to see. Do you want me to catch it?
Me: Catch it, my ass! Shoot it!!!!!!!
Dave: Oh, ok.
And yes, dear wildlife lover, he shot it. I know, I know - it was a harmless rat snake. Well, harmless unless you're a rat. But there are certain rules that apply to snakes near my house and rule no. 1 is "Stay the hell away from my house!" You understand that this snake was in a lilac bush from which I cut blooms, around which I mow, past which I walk to get to the mail box. This is not acceptable living or lounging space for snakes. I left the snake's head in the snake bed as a warning to future reptiles who might dare to enter the Godmother's territory.
In the light of a new morning, with the flowers glistening after a rain shower and the first hummingbird sighted at the feeder, I have decided to remain at Green Acres. Now you'll have to excuse me, I'm headed to town to buy hip-waders so I can retrieve the mail.