July 05, 2003

House Guest

I feel like I've left my native tongue for the past week, gone someplace where I just don't say much knowing there won't be many that understand me. Some of you have, and thanks for hanging around during these few hard days.

Meanwhile, we are beleagered by summer aggravations, pestiferous critters, and the general verdant overabundance of the season, now that the air and soil are finally warming up. Paper wasps are building in every conceivable place. I discovered a hornet suburb growing under the front corner of the front porch in such a way that I had to lie on my belly (this morning at 5:00, before coffee, even) with flashlight in one hand, Hornet Spray in the other, looking almost directly overhead to get a shot at the 6" hive that seemed to grow in place overnight. I can tell you I was hoping the spray would do what it promised, and very quickly, because if all it did was peas them off then they'd have me, sprawled out, half dressed, and dinner for eighty is served.

Image copyright Fred First
This morning, in the accelerating flurry of pre-house-guests preparations (which, btw, may explain why I appear to have entered the witness protection program next week)... I just happened to look up as I was shufflin' about 'yes m'am' dis and 'yes m'am' dat'... shakin' it here boss. I looks up whilst vacuuming and over the door, through the glass lights around it, I sees this lumpish shape on the lentel. What dat, says I? I walk closer and see that it is a 5 foot king snake, up there where we have phoebe-proofed the house a few weeks back (some of you will remember). I called Ann downstairs. "Hey, lemme show you something neat" I told her.

Now Ann didn't think it was so neat. It took me a while to figure how he must have put himself up there, and when, several hours later, he decided to leave, I watched him sure 'nuff go back down the grape vine wreath next to the door, same way he musta got up there. Looking for phoebes, maybe? He's welcome to all he can eat. Oh, and Ann has told me not to dare post this, or we'll never get any visitors. Hmmmm.

Posted by fred1st at July 5, 2003 12:41 PM | TrackBack

Eeeeeeeks!!!! That thing's just a little too close for comfort!

Posted by: deb at July 5, 2003 01:11 PM

You had a King Snake? Cool! What's the nearest airport?

Posted by: Joel at July 6, 2003 03:06 AM

Bogie won't remember; but, when she was about 14 months old, she and her sister encountered a snake that was wrapped around our front door knob. I'm not sure that snakes hear (thus, I'm not sure that it was Bogie's and Sis's screams that dislodged it), but it sensed the excitement and slithered up onto the lintel. Not being a herpitarian (sp?), and being an elder, I no longer remember what type snake if I ever knew. Snakes can go almost anywhere they wish! The King that you had must have thought it would find phoebes?

Posted by: Cop Car at July 6, 2003 10:55 AM

As if I was just pining for more reasons to come home, here's another. Can we keep him?
The snakes have been very sociable in Vermont lately, basking in the only two months of warmth they're gonna get. I stumbled on one yesterday and planned to catch it, but when I got up close I thought that either 1) it had puked its guts out, or 2) someone had smashed its guts out. After a minute more, though, I realized that it was swallowing down a bohemoth night-crawler, and only had a couple inches left to go. On the other end, a valliant (if increasingly abject) black ant was still trying to battle the snake in a bout of tug-of-war over the meal. He lost--nearly getting swallowed himself--and then ran up and down furiously across the snake's back in protest. It went without saying that his friends would never believe him.
Anyway, Dad, whenever I think that a snake is puking its guts out, and then find out it was really a worm, I think of you.
With love,

Posted by: your boy at July 6, 2003 01:36 PM

Were that my house and my door, there would be naught but a picture of the hole created by #7 12 ga. shot. I don't know how you can stand those slithering beasties, much less describe it as 'cool.'

Posted by: Scott Chaffin at July 7, 2003 09:14 AM

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