Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fall's Surprises

The cats get locked up in the basement sometimes. We keep the door shut when there is no one down there, so that there are no accidental falls down the stairs. There's no litter box in the basement, so when I am home without Hubby and I cannot hear the cat meowing through the door and they "gotta go", they do their business on the floor. It happens. Oh well. I clean it up and spray some bleach on the concrete and it's forgotten. I went down to do the laundry today and I saw BC the cat pawing around something and a quick glance told me it was a nice swirl of poop. After loading the washer, I grabbed the paper towels and the bleach. A step closer and **GASP!!** It was a nice swirl of snake! OMG! OMG! OMG! O! M! G! I dropped the paper towels and the bleach and quickly looked around for something I could use to catch it with. I spotted the wood stove shovel and thought at 3 feet, that it was too short and I didn't want Mr. Snake to jump and bite me. I have no idea what kind of snake it is, and I don't want to find out the hard way that it bites and it's poisonous! I spot my pile of dirty laundry and see a pillow case. *bingo!* I see on TV all the time the snake wranglers using pillow cases! I quickly run and grab one and think twice about using my pretty flowered vintage one, drop that and grab the bag that the girls flannel Cinderella sheets came in. Priorities, right?
Shooing BC aside, he has the snake's tail under his paw and the snake is still curled into a coil, I drop the open end onto the snake, carefully lift under it and ta-dah!! The snake is in the bag! I was quite proud of myself. Wait til I tell Hubby when he gets home! I think to myself. I consider saving it and waiting until he gets home to dispose of it, or take it out into the woods and let him go. I choose the latter and walked out to the far edge of our property. The girls followed me half way until I threatened them with, "The snake might jump and bite you when he sees you!" Of course I remembered to take my camera along so I could take a picture and look up the markings and figure out what kind of snake it is. It looks like it was a young one, less than 2 feet long, thank goodness! Oldest asked me if it was a rattler and I was more than happy to say it wasn't! If you know what kind of snake this is, please let me know.

I realize with the cooler weather, the snakes are looking for someplace warm to hibernate. Hopefully we won't see anymore snakes in the house. After I sent Mr. Snake on his way, the girls wanted to go and see the wild grapes we have growing in the front yard. This is what we found:

They never got this big before and I am thrilled to see so many grapes!! I looked them up and they are edible and so I tasted them and they are sweet!! They are only a little bigger than 1/4 inch, but they pack some flavor!! I'm thinking of grape jelly! Or maybe grape juice! Mmmmm! Too late today to make some, but when I take my day off on Wednesday, I think we will be picking some grapes and try to make something with them. Maybe a little bit of both, juice and jelly. They are made almost the same way, but the juice sits for 24 hours and then you ladle the top off and can. The jelly is made with pectin and sugars and simmered then canned. I'll see how many grapes we get and go from there. I see a tutorial in my future!

Hope you all had a good weekend, the next time I post will be Wednesday! Have a good week!


DJ Kirkby said...

Hi sweetie, I hope you have better luck with your grape jelly than i did. Mine didn't set all the way so I am telling everyone it is a coulis for dipping cheddar into! I don't recognise the snakes marking but will be checking back to see if nayone else does. Glad you and the girls got through that unscathed.

Blue Yonder said...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhkk! In your house???? And you got it out yourself? You rock, Mama. I think I would have passed out.

Dana said...

Ew. I would have shut the door and waited for someone else to get rid of the snake. I just dont do snakes.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

You are a brave soul with that snake. I'd have screamed and run upstairs as fast as I could and locked the door behind. Grapes look great. I just made blackcurrant jam, but I boiled it too long and half of it is stuck to my jam pot.

Karen said...

You are veddy, veddy brave as I would have ran out of the house screaming!

lady macleod said...

Ahhhhhhhhh! Wait let me get my head out from under the covers.. You are nutty as a fruitcake! A pillowcase!? Well it seemed to work out very well didn't it? Brilliant! I consider ALL snakes venomous so I don't have any idea, all snakes looks like cobras to me! I would have dropped the washer on it! but I like your solution better.

A wonderful tale with a great ending! Well done indeed!!

Hayley said...

Would have freaked out if a snake was anywhere near me. Wimp that I am. Love your blog by the way and am adding you to my blogroll.

The HOR blogger said...

Jenny? Honest to goodness my mom raises Boa Constictors and that looks like a baby boa. I'm not even fooling or anything, that's just freakin weird. Do you have a pet shop in them moutains? Or freaky neighbors?

jenny said...

DJ-- Will be working on the grape jelly soon and will let you know how that turns out! Aren't you clever telling people your failed jelly is a coulis!

Blueyonder-- I had to do it myself or it would have hidden somewhere and I'd never find it again!! I'm just gratefil it was a little one!

Dana-- If Hubby was home, that's just what I would have done, too!

Coffee-- Bummer on the black currant jam. How does that taste? I've never had that before. My kids make me brave. I wanted to hurry and get it out before they saw it and went nuts!

Karen-- As I told Coffee-- my kids make me brave!!

jenny said...

Lady M-- Come out from under the covers.. he's gone now! :o) I do love me some nutty fruitcake!! It was either do what I did, or let it hide elsewhere and then we can't find it later on and then I'd never sleep again! We'd have to sell the house!

Hayley-- Welcome!! I'm flattered you like my blog! I'm quite wimpy when it comes to spiders and have been known to put a bowl on top of them waiting for Hubby to come and kill it. Can't stand the feel of a "squish"!!

Lindy-- Ok, you have got to be kidding me!! That was NOT a baby boa!! It better NOT be a baby boa. I don't recall seeing a pet shop around here. But I'm sure there are some in the next big town. You've got me all paranoid now for the cats outside.

Virginia said...

Although I would have to actually look at the snake to give a truly accurate identification, based on my experience working in a wildlife center and judging from your geographic location, I would say that it's either a rat snake or a fox snake, both of which are closely related...a juvenile one (rat snakes in particular tend to lose those markings as they get older).

Both of these snakes are non-venomous and are actually good snakes, as they eat rodents such as mice, etc. These are the snakes that you will tend to find in basements, etc. There is a third snake in this group, the corn snake.

Sometimes these snakes - especially the younger ones - get confused for copperheads due to the markings, which is a sad thing.

One way to tell the difference is to look at the head and the tail. The copperhead will have a rust-colored head which is more triangular in shape, and a yellow tail. Also look at the markings - they will be more hourglass in shape, and more rusty brown.

Rat snakes have gray heads and their markings are more black and gray square-shaped markings. These markings go all the way to tend of their gray tails.

I personally don't have an issue with snakes, and they don't really bother me. I've had a couple that have entered into buildings, and I always seem to get called as the "snake exterminator" to capture the little critters and take them outside.

I'm glad you didn't kill this one... Mother Nature will thank you for sparing its life. I'm sure it's happy to be back in its natural habitat outside of your house.

jenny said...

Virginia-- Thanks for your comment on the identification of the rat snake. We are feeling pretty confident that it was a rat snake and have been looking around the basement to make sure there wasn't another one down there. None so far.. whew!

Last fall, there was a small snake that was near the house and in our panic mode, we killed it. Hubby has not gotten over the guilt from killing it and we all felt pretty bad about it afterwards. We never did identify it so we don't know if it was a "bad" snake or not. We have seen a couple on the roof as well, but they are slippery little guys and managed to slip away before we caught them.

We are now of the mind to trap and release if we are able, as long as it is not a danger to us.