White Dog moved a little closer to my shoulder when Candace came in. She had been out in the yard bundling sticks for removal so the White Dog Army, under her guidance, could plant an experimental straw bale garden. Her eyes were big and she was clearly rattled...not typical for Candace at all.
"I just sent all of the dogs inside," she began. "just to be safe." Nothing gets attention here like words that indicate the pups might be in danger.
"Just encountered about a four foot long snake in the woodpile. I tried to grab it but it was too quick. I am pretty sure it was just a bull snake or something harmless but..." I could not help but notice she was barefoot and not wearing work gloves; inside I shuddered.
The fact that it did not seem like a rattler was good news for that would have increased the safety issue enormously. As it is, even if he is a harmless mouser, a large snake living in the yard creates problems. Puff, formally nearly feral, still is a hunter at heart. With her compromised immune system a snake bite, even a nonvenomous one, puts her in danger of infection. Our Itty Bitty Baby, Zsofia, our stick lover, would be delighted at the prospect of a stick that she could chase and was interactive. And a snake that large is overwhelming compared to the size of our tiny, yard basking girl, Storm.
The snake would have to go.
Both Candace and Steve are snake lovers and we all understand their importance to the ecosystem. The fact he was as big and healthy as he seemed to be said something about the food sources available out at the back of the yard; I offered a silent thanks for the mice he may have kept from coming inside over the winter.
The plan is to try to capture him unharmed and to release him in a more appropriate area where he can thrive and be happy. "How about that crabby lady's house around the block?" White Dog suggested. "Um, no, I was thinking more like along the Bosque by the river.," I replied. "Just a thought," she muttered.
By the end of the day Candace had bundled and moved most of the branches so that next week we can cart them off. The snake was not found. We believe he has taken up residence under the shed. Research is underway to determine the best way to safely lure him into a trap so he can be transported.
In the meantime, during the hot part of the day when it is sunniest in the yard, the White Dog Army will be supervised when they go out.
It constantly amazes me how often the calm and routine weekend "to do" list gets shaken up by some task that comes out of left field...like a snake hunt.