Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Art of War - The Reptilian Edition

Before I share today's story, I'd like to take you on a tour of our chicken coop. This tour will benefit you in 2 ways. First, you will be able to form better mental images as you read the story that follows. Second, as you see the following photos, you will (hopefully) understand that this is indeed a chicken coop, not a pig stye. It is very full but we can identify and locate everything in the building. We got 25 chicks on Tuesday and their brooder takes up the majority of the extra space in there right now. You may also notice I have not ever given you a tour of my home. In my home, I cannot identify and locate everything. It might very well qualify as a pig stye by the standards of some! So take a minute to become familiar with our chicken coop.

black snake in coop

A few things probably stood out. Like the photo is pretty bad with the nuclear flash. Or maybe you noticed we have a whole lot of wood paneling. And possibly it caught your eye that Caelan's hand is wrapped around the tail of a snake.

I learned a long time ago that when you live in the country, encounters with snakes are inevitable. Accepting it and dealing with those encounters in a mature, non-hysterical manner it are two different things. At one time, it was understood in our house that while I would accept the presence of snakes on our property, it should be expected to witness me either squealing, running, or becoming hysterical, depending upon the distance between the snake and me when I made visual contact with it. That included the rubber snakes the boys put in the garden which I exasperatingly kept forgetting about. But that was before the day I was unshackled from my fear by kicking some vermin tail.

The snake encounters that I most "enjoyed" were those that went something like this:
"MOM! Come look at the snake I found!"
"OK! Let me get my camera."

The snake enocounters I least enjoyed went something like this:
[Go to set foot down on ground and see snake beneath raised foot.]


[Turn head and look to see snake tongue flickering inches from my face.]

Then I'd run and get Shawn.

The very worst snake encounter I ever had happened a few years ago when I went to lock up the chickens one evening. I scared up a copperhead. While I'll accept the presence of black snakes and garden snakes and other non-poisonous snakes, copperheads are poisonous. And the chicken coop is less than 100 yards from the house. A copperhead that close to the house, with the kids running around in the yard, makes me nervous.

When the copperhead struck out at me, it quickly became an, "AAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaAAAAAA! EEEEEeeeeeeeEEEEK! Icky! Icky! ICKY! ICKY! SNAKE!!!!!"-run-to-the-house-to-find-Shawn encounter. He was nowhere to be found. I finally saw him far off in the distance in the pasture with the cows. I ran into the chicken coop to find a hoe but none of our 3 hoes were there so I grabbed a shovel. That snake and I went to battle. I think it looked a lot like this.

I'm sure it must have because when Shawn came walking back from the pasture, after I very fiercly said, "YOU are supposed to be HERE when I need you," he looked at me holding the shovel, then down to the ground and asked, "Did that used to be a snake?" Moment. Of. Empowerment.

Thursday night looked to be an "enjoyable" snake encounter. Caelan came in and said, "MOM! Come look at the huge black snake in the chicken coop!" I grabbed my camera and ran after him. After the above photo,

black snake in coop 2
this happened. The cowardly Kendra that died all those years ago would most definitely have have squealed, "AAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaAAAAAA! EEEEEeeeeeeeEEEEK! Icky! Icky! ICKY! ICKY! SNAKE!!!!!" at the sight of my son pulling on a snake like this. Even though I did not do this Thursday night, I have to admit I might have been thinking, "AAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaAAAAAA! EEEEEeeeeeeeEEEEK! Icky! Icky! ICKY! ICKY! SNAKE!!!!!"

black snake in coop 3
Caelan dropped it into the grey grain bucket and then dropped the white grain bucket inside of that to trap the snake. If you took the chicken coop tour earlier in this post, you understand the significance of this. And before you proceed, check out the rubbernecker.

Then we jumped in the car and headed about a mile from our house to the old bridge that runs over the river to release the snake. About 45 seconds into the drive, Caelan sitting in the passenger seat, said, "Uh-oh. He found the hole." My battle instincts kicked in again and I grabbed a turquoise Sharpie pen from the pen holder in the car. I told you I have instincts just like Jason Bourne. You saw what he did with a pen in that video. Unfortunately, I must not have passed on those killer instinct genes to Caelan because, in spite of wielding the mighty pen, I looked over and saw the snake serpentining out of the top of the bucket.

black snake in coop 4
In my next Jason Bourne-like moment, I grabbed my camera and did this, all the while masterfully controlling our moving car by swerving back and forth in attempt to throw the snake off balance, of course. When neither blinding the snake, nor using my camera as a bludgeoning weapon to deter it from its plans to harm me, I calmly brought the car to an abrupt, impressive, tire-squealing stop as the snake slithered between my seat belt buckle and the console of the car to the back seat.

As my son, laughed hysterically, presumably a stress-induced laughter at the clear and present danger of his mother, he managed to get the words, "Get out of the car, mom!" out of his mouth. I knew the responsible thing to do, regardless of the risk to myself, was to hold back and safely secure the car's transmission to prevent further progression down the road, risking injury to other wildlife that might have been witnessing the incident from the surrounding woods. I said, "Go ahead son! Get out! Save yourself!" as he jumped from the car.

black snake in coop 5
After safely securing the car, we began the extermination process.

black snake in coop 6
We've seen all throughout history that a fearless leader inspires bravery in his soldiers. I've permanently captured that phenomenon of my own soldier.

black snake in coop 7
Here I've captured the snake pulling back to reformulate his plan.

black snake in coop 8
And my formidable ally forced the snake out of the car.

black snake in coop 9
But not before getting it to turn over what it pillaged from our chickens during its failed raid . . .

black snake in coop 10
and honorably escorting it to a land barren of chicken eggs so it could live out the rest of its life in shame from its crushing defeat.
The descriptions of some events of this story may be disputed by certain parties involved.
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scrappysue said...

i swear i would leap out of that car while i was still driving it if there was a snake lose! FREAK OUT!

lisa truesdell said...

only you, kendra, could make me LOL while reading about icky icky snakes. ha!

Michelle said...

I can hardly look at the photos - I am terrified of snakes. I think it is something about the way they move. Good story though, but I would never have put it in the car with me. I'd never be able to ride in that car again I think !

Liz in MO said...

Ok, I'm going to go be sick now.

Liz in MO said...

Ok, I'm going to go be sick now.

City Mouse said...

LOL!!! As my 16-yr-old would say, "Dude! You are a BEAST!!" (Extreme compliment)

Danielle said...

omg i can't believe you put that snake in your car! i would have had a panic attack when it got out and was wrapped around the head rest! i would have crashed most definitely! LOL

Kristi Smith said...

OHMYGOSH! That is crazy! lol

I love the pic of the hen peeking around the corner.

How many black snakes do you think are around there? Is it even worth your time to transport them away?

No way would I have put it in the car with me. No way.

You have balls of steel. ;)

Binxcat1 said...

OMG! Snake Wrestler Extrodinaire! (Black snakes here in Australia ARE poisonous!)

reneevc said...

I've seen what you do to frogs... I think the same thing should be done to any serpent visitors that drop by in the future!! None of this catch & release crap!!!

Mama to Jayden said...

This story cracked me up! I am soooooo scared of snakes. I never would have gotten in the car with one--especially one that size!

Lynette van Barrelo said...

Haahahahaaha! You're so tough! What a crack up!!!! I'm so glad you kept the camera rolling.

AND There is Anne-Marie!!!! (Binxcat1) HEY-EY Girl!!! (fellow Master from last year).

Stacey Kingman said...

Never. Never get into a car with a snake. Doesn't your family have this rule??

candice said...

Wow! You are one brave soul!! I could never have gotten in a car with a snake!!

Sasha Holloway said...


Kendra said...

Sasha, you're the second military girl who's told me they'd have lost it too so I don't feel so bad now!

Kiwi The Kreator said...

I am dying! YOU are hilarious...are those jokes to keep from crying/screaming/hair pulling???

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