May 21, 2008

The Tale of the Chicken Who Killed the 6 ft. Black Snake

Last summer, I was working in the 8X10 feed room which also serves as a utility room for lawn care items, rakes, shovels, soaker hoses, etc. Knowing my way around, I rarely turn the light on. I caught a glimpse of what I thought was black soaker hose laying on the floor, coiled loosely. I figured it had fallen off of the shelf. I didn't think much of it, bent down to pick it up, reached my hand out, then the soaker hose lifted its head. I screamed, panic set in, I ran out, slammed the doors and swore never to enter again.
Our farm hand, Josh, 16-yr. old neighbor boy was here. I said don't go in there unless you are armed...huge snake! He rolled his eyes and proceeded to go in. I stood back ready to run. He came right back out with a look of shock on his face. He said it is huge, don't think I can kill it alone!
Jim not expected in off the road for a couple of days heard the account of the story that night when he called home. His take on snakes, they are more afraid of you than you are of them and it was just probably a little black snake, they are harmless. My opinion ... NOT!
Knowing I had to go in twice daily to collect feed until Jim could get home and kill the intruder, I armed myself with a shovel and banged on every metal object there, saying snake I am coming in please, please, please go away. Thank goodness the snake listened.
Of course when Jim came home, he looked and could find no snake. I honestly think he didn't believe Josh or I either one. Life continued with me armed with shovel beating on everything, fearing for my life going into the feed room.
About a week later there was an awful smell coming from the feed room. That rank smell of a dead animal. I was hoping it was the snake. That weekend Jim knew he had to clean the feed room and find the source of the smell. So he and Josh started hauling out the feed room contents. I stayed out of harms way but close enough to watch and listen. They were moving a large shelf out when I heard Jim yell at Josh to get the hoe and move away. From outside I heard a bang, a crash, a few choice curse words then Jim yelling in his serious tone, "Move out of the way Josh now!"
Sweating and somewhat dumbfounded, out of the feed room comes Jim carrying a limp beheaded 6 ft. long black snake. The snake’s body at the thickest part was as large as Jim's forearm. Josh was bubbling with pride that they killed the mammoth black snake.
The only problem was the smell was still there, the snake had been alive so that was not the source. After disposing of the snake and taking a short break they were back in trying to locate the smell. The feed room was cleaned out, cleaned up and snake free but nothing was found to cause the smell.
That day we did find the source of the smell, a chicken had gotten into the adjoining pole barn where we store square bales of hay. She must have fallen down behind the hay bales and couldn't get out. She was lying by the vent to the feed room. We call this the tale of the chicken who killed the 6 ft. black snake. If she had not died, Jim would have never killed the snake.

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