Monday, May 28, 2012

snake in the yard...

Tomorrow is my birthday.  Although I have Tommy fully convinced I am "around 25" years old, I am actually more than twice that - I will be 58 years old tomorrow.  Believe me, I NEVER thought it was possible I would be that old.  Not that I thought I would die young, by any means, I just thought youth would last forever...

And after all, I still see out of the same eyes I saw out of at 25 years old.  Yes, they are a bit dimmer, and the contacts are a LOT stronger, but I see the world out of the same eyes, and as long as I stay away from mirrors, I can convince myself that nothing has changed, much...

Yesterday, when I got home from church, three grandchildren were at my house.  Bill had promised them and Luke that we would all go spend the night at the lake house, and they would fish.  Now spending the night at the lake house isn't exactly my favorite thing to do, but I thought Bill would appreciate my help, after all, he was taking a total of 8 children, even if two of them were 15 and one was 18.  Since our car won't fit ten people, I sent Bill and everyone under the age of 12 off in my car, while the teenagers packed up food, and I went off the do the animal chores before we left to join them.

I got the chickens and rabbits fed, then took my bucket and went around collecting eggs.  I got them out of the barn, out of the chicken tractors, out of the two former dog cages turned into chicken cages, and then I walked off to the side of the yard.  This is the area I have shown you on this blog before: the spot where we allow the kids to drag trash and build things.  There is a tree house back there, and all kinds of junk.  Discarded swing set ladders.  Old "18 inchers" (anyone who lives in Grandview and is very familiar with Ulrich's barns knows what an "18 incher" is.  Our barn is built out of them).  Old rusty water troughs. Tricycles.  Dolls.  All the things a 7 year old boy and a 4 year old boy would see as treasures, and their 18 year old brother who tries to keep the yard neat would see as junk.
Anyway, a few days ago, Angel-Leah was in the tree house, and looking down, she saw that one of the chickens we just cannot seem to keep contained had been laying eggs in one of the old peacock pens.  She collected six eggs out of there.  So as I gathered eggs, I went back there to see if the hen had laid anymore.
I maneuvered my way around the maze of treasures/junk and stopped at the door of this pen.  I was in a bit of a hurry.  My eyes swept the corners and didn't see any eggs, so I turned to leave.

And that's when I heard it: the buzz of a rattlesnake.

Now if you have lived in Texas for any amount of time, you have been told what to do if you ever hear that sound.  Rattlesnakes are nearsighted (like young ladies who are having their 58th birthday tomorrow, and manage to not notice rattlesnakes as they look for eggs).  So if you hear that sound, you are supposed to remember to freeze.  Since a rattlesnake will only strike at movement, if you don't move, they will not strike.

So remember, it's important: freeze!

I didn't remember.

I ran.  I ran for all I was worth.  I broad jumped over discarded swing set ladders.  I lept over rusty water troughs in a single bound.  I jumped over tricycles.  I flew over 18 inchers.  I kicked dolls out of my way.  I think I might have scaled a tree or two.

And as I ran, I screamed:  "BEAU!  SNAKE!  BEAU!  SNAKE!  BEAU!  SNAKE!!"

Having an grown son who is still young enough to get excited when his motherwhowillbe58yearsold tomorrow screams "SNAKE!!" is a wonderful thing.

He threw open the guest house door as I panted up the steps.
"I think it was a rattlesnake!" I managed to get out.
"Are you sure mom?  How did it sound?"
I do a really mean rattlesnake imitation.
"That's a rattlesnake, alright!" Beau exclaims, and in one swoop, he pulls the gun case key from the drawer, opens up the gun case, and snatches out a .22.  He shoves a box of bullets in my hands saying, "Hold this."
And then he purposefully strides like John Wayne up the drive way towards the peacock cages.

And I realize I've just sent my 18 year old, blue eyed baby boy after a rattlesnake, and I am right behind him, practically clutching at his shirt, crying, "Beau, be careful!!  Don't go in the cage!  We will shut the door and you can shoot it through the chicken wire!"

He totally ignores me, and steps into the doorway of the cage.

"I see him!  Wow, that's a BIG one!"  he says and levels the gun at the snake.

At which point, I start waving my arms like a pinwheel, trying to keep Mary Susannah and Chloe behind me, just in case the bullets bounce off of something.

Four gun shots later, the snake is dead, and our gun-shy Pyrenees dog is traumatized for life.  I still haven't gotten that dog peeled off my body!

Beau tells me that the bag of snake-away he bought a couple of days ago, that I sprinkled around my "chick nursery", costs $13 a bag.  I wonder how many bags it will take to cover my whole 12 acres?

Snake, before Beau levels him:

Snake, after Beau's gunshot.  See that rattle in the bottom left hand corner:

If my heart is strong enough to have continued beating after this, I just might last another 58 years!!


  1. Hi, my name is Anne, and I just found you thru the Circle of Moms contest. Nice to "meet" you! Your blog looks awesome, and I can't wait to go exploring. You and I have a few things in common, including lots of kids and lots of critters. Love for you to pop on over to my Life on the Funny Farm blog sometime to say hey (you can find me on CoM). Have a blessed day!

    1. I will do that. Thanks for reading my blog!


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