Food & Drink

Life on the Farm: Snakes are just part of life

The wren has a nest in my workshop in the barn. I saw her a few nights in a row and she seemed frantic that I was in her space. Then I found her nest in a metal box. She is sitting on 3 or 4 eggs.

But our barn is not a good place for small birds sitting on eggs because of the snake factor. Monday, I walked into the back of my workshop and was startled by a black snake crawling across the floor, up the wall, and making his way through the rafters of the barn for a half-hour. That has to be a little nerve-wracking for a wren...

Last Friday, I was showing Jenifer something and we walked back to the front of the barn and there is a 6-foot black snake hovering around our freezers.

The snake went behind the freezers and Jenifer started cleaning garlic in the side shed. I saw the snake come from behind the freezer and told Jenifer she had a visitor. A half-hour later, Jenifer says something unprintable and I run to see what’s up. The snake had caught a big Norway rat and was starting to swallow it, which is an amazing process to watch.

I don’t mind rodents. We have plenty of field mice and field rats around and I often see them running around in the evening playing. Yeah, they will chew holes in the feed bags of the pig and chicken feed but not enough to matter.

But I don’t care for Norway rats, they make me think of the black plague.

Dean Mullis writes from Laughing Owl Farm in Richfield; demullis@vnet.net.

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