Welcome to Texas

I know some of you city folks are thinking I’m making up these stories but I’m not.  Here are two, with links, stories in our local newspaper this week.

First, a rabid fox bit a little boy and that happened within 3 – 5 miles of where I live!  You were laughing at me when I told you about the rabid raccoon.  I’m thinking . . thank goodness that grandpa had a gun nearby and was a good shot.   Now I’m . . well, let’s just say any critter that comes up on me when Speck and I are outside may not live to tell about it!

Second, they’re warning us about a snake infestation.  They tell you that if he has little beady eyes, he probably isn’t venomous (or something like that).  Does anyone think I’m going to look into a snake’s eyes before it’s off with the head?  If you’re a snake lover, don’t even reprimand me.  The only good snake in my opinion is a dead snake.  Don’t tell me they keep critters out of my garden because there are no gardens anywhere near where I live.  You know what’s here — cactus, mesquite and those frickin’ green lizards.  I would love to know how many have already curled up in my boxes of fabric and made themselves new homes!   About those lizards . .   Do they bite?  Why are they everywhere?  Why am I in Texas anyway?

I’m not moaning and I’m not complaining — even if it sounds like it, I am not!  🙂

Tomorrow we’re going to look at a house.  A 300 acre ranch.  My luck . . a rattlesnake ranch!   Has my husband lost his mind?  I’m beginning to think I want to live in the city.  A high rise condo maybe.  How high can lizards get?

All I can say about the ranch house is  . . I hope they haven’t changed the dining room light fixture since the photos I saw were taken.  You’re going to love it!!  When you see it, you’re probably going to love it so much that some kind soul is going to come and rescue me from this place!


  1. 2

    Audrey says

    I’m laughing so hard the tears are running down my face. You could do a stand up comedy routine with this kind of material.

    • 2.1

      Judy Laquidara says

      I knew someone was going to think this is funny! It’s REAL! Have mercy on me . . I am not joking! 🙂

      • Mel Meister says

        It’s the way you phrase your words. You really are funny. I think you should write a book about your stories.

  2. 3

    Linda in NE says

    I’m beginning to think we’ve abused the Earth long enough and now it’s turning on us. The wild animals are coming back to areas where they haven’t been seen in 75 yrs. or more…snakes, bedbugs, cougars, bobcats, wolves, etc. Two tourists killed by grizzlies in Yellowstone this year, cougars in Kearney & Omaha. Not to mention the earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods and fires. It all makes you think.

  3. 4


    But if you go live where the snakes live, what can you expect — aren’t they supposed to be out there in the desert with the rocks and cactus? They’ve gotta live somewhere! As long as it isn’t in your fabric boxes. Or where you have to see them.

  4. 5

    PDXPam says

    You don’t want to be near my 4 yr old granddaughter then. She LOVES snakes, she even now has a pet snake. lol….

    And don’t get me started on my son’s pet tarantula (father to the snake loving granddaughter, go figure haha)

  5. 6


    I agree with the dead snake thing. And it is preferable if some man kills the snake and I don’t have to do it because I am hysterical for about 2 1/2 hours afterwards. Ask my business partner Dan about that one.

    Are you talking about the anoles we call lizards here? They are green and turn brown when scared? The kind that like to jump on me when I am walking by because they know it freaks me out? Or is there some kind of horrid creature indiginous to Texas?

    I think you need to go check the attic for that rabid racoon right now!

    glen in Louisiana who has had to deal with enough moccosins, rattlers, pigmy rattlers and cotton mouths for the rest of my life thank you.

    • 6.1


      Sounds like me when I get scared, only the brown is in my underwear!!!

      The only thing I’m totally and uncontrollably afraid of is snakes. I’m with Judy…the only good snake is a dead snake. I know it’s not nice to say, but in my mind, it’s the honest to God’s truth.

  6. 7

    lw says

    If you walk loud enough, you’ll never have to worry about snakes. They don’t like you any better than you like them. We have rattlers in the foothills here, and hikers sometimes get bitten if they are too quiet or when they’re climbing rocks and put their hand up on a ledge without looking first.

    I agree with your idea to carry some type of weapon, even if just to ensure that Speck doesn’t get carried off by some kind of predator (like a coyote.) It sounds funny, but here in Los Angeles we have a problem with coyotes carrying off small animals. One of my friends lost her chihuahua last year to a coyote– it swooped the poor thing up less than four feet from my friend.

  7. 8


    Nope, I totally agree with you, the only good snake is a dead snake. When I talked about killing a rattlesnake on our ranch I got all kinds of nasty comments–to which I replied, “until you have had a 6 year old granddaughter bitten by a rattlesnake in your driveway and lost a pet to a rattlesnake, keep your stupid comments to yourself!”

  8. 9

    pdudgeon says

    the lizzards go along with drought conditions. mostly they live in the shady spaces, with water nearby, but they will come out and sun themselves on patios or climb up the sides of a brick building to a high ledge, which is prime lounging territory.
    The best thing you can do is to arm yourself with a broom, and look outside before you open the door to see if there’s any lizzards lounging on your patio or porch. an open door to a cool space when the weather is frying outside is exactly what they like.

  9. 10

    Joyce says

    Judy, you crack me up! We used to live in Texas so I do understand about the critters, and I know you’re not making things up. Heck, I still have three brothers living in Texas (near Alpine). As long as you can laugh, even hysterically, about your situation we know you’ll be fine! 😉

  10. 11

    Gwen says

    I don’t think there would ever be a reason to make up stories about weird happenings in Texas! The truth is alway way more weird than they could be. I was born here and have lived nowhere else. I hate snakes and dislike lizards, spiders and a whole host of other creepy crawly things. I know to make lots of noise when walking outdoors. We own a farm with Longhorn cattle on it, have to trek around ocassionally. We don’t live there, but where we live is at the edge of a subdivision surrounded by undeveloped land. Some days the farm might have fewer critters trying to get in my house and yard. Hang in there. I hope you decide you like Texas outdoors some if you are thinking retirement near LA!

  11. 12


    anything that crawls, slithers, is slimy or has beady eyes is not welcome around me and I want it dead…funny, my dachshund Dora feels the same way…she has wiped out a whole colony of geckos in our back yard. I am with you Judy on this one….a high rise sounds more like it to me!!

  12. 13

    Linda Beasley says

    Judy, this has been such a trial for you. I’m so sorry. yes, a dead snake is the only good kind. I don’t care what kind it is. Don’t go walking in the weeds, stay on a road where you have clear view of your surroundings. Don’t pile stuff up around the house or yard. Any shrubs or plants close to the house, don’t stick your hand down in them. My daughter just couldn’t understand why her brother didn’t want her planting elephant ears next to his house. He has had plenty of rattlesnakes around his house in Abilene. He lived out in the country on 16 acres. Also kept a gun loaded with snake shot. The lizards don’t bother me, they usally run. I think they eat ants too.
    Going to put my foot in my mouth here, but a 300 acre ranch?
    That’s a lot of acreage unless you are going into the cattle business. And as unhappy as you are in Texas, I think you need to pass on something that big. That could be really hard to get rid of down the road.
    It’s not all bad in Texas, you just hit us at the wrong time, no rain, unusally high temps and critters coming in closer to humanity looking for water or food.

    Today, for the first day since Sunday, all of the fires around me are “contained”, not out completely, but being watched carefully for flare ups.

  13. 14


    That gave me a chuckle!! I’m a northern Midwest girl, born and bred, but I did spend a few years in South Carolina and I learned an important lesson about the south … don’t look at anything too closely because there will be something crawling on it!! Have you ever seen a palmetto bug? They’re the size of mice!!

  14. 15


    My mother kept rubber/plastic snakes in her garden, saying it kept away hungry birds and other snakes. I don’t know if it really worked–most of the snakes we had back in Central Illinois were garter snakes! (And they *are* good to have in a garden!)

  15. 16


    What happened to the “we’re going to rent”, idea. Sounds a heck of a lot less permanent!

    Good luck on the slithery things. I absolutely hate, hate, hate, detest and am scared s***less of them.

    I can whack a spider, set a trap for a mouse, kick a lizard, swat a grasshopper, but a snake???I have nightmares about them…

  16. 17


    yes…kill all the snakes…that’s what I say. I’d not be checking out a snake’s eyes to see if it was venomous, either. GEEZ…..by the time I could get a look at the eyes, the thing would probably already be biting me. NO THANKS!!!

  17. 18


    Judy, you are a saint. I know I would not have handled this move well. After reading this last post I think I would opt for a condo high up too. LOL!

  18. 19

    Diana in TX says

    Yep, welcome to Texas! I always love it when they say if bitten by a snake stay calm! Seriously get yourself a good walking stick, snakes really don’t want anything to do with us either. make noise and beat the grasses aropund where you are walking (if we ever get grass again) they will go in the other direction. The critters are worse this year because of the drought. Oh yes, it’s not just out in the country-about a year ago they killed a rabid fox on a golf course here in Austin area. We are in a sub-division, but have a gold course close by, farm land and a really nice creek when it isn’t overflowing like last year this time or getting too low as now, so we do have all sorts of critters like grey foxes, cayotes etc. The lizards eat bugs. We’ve never seen a rattler at the place in Brady and we know they are there. they just don’t want to be around us.

  19. 20

    Mary Jo says

    I have always said that I don’t wait around to learn it’s first name if if’s last name is SNAKE! We have lots of black snakes around here (which is suppose to be a good thing) but if I see one around I’m gone! I’m not sure a high rise condo is such a bad thing…until it’s time to take Speck out!

  20. 21

    SarahB says

    You know, I always wanted to live in Texas but the more you have your “adventure”, Judy, the less and less I want to move outside Ohio!! We’re still praying for you and Vince but I think we might modify our prayers… I’m thinking that instead of a nice house in Texas it might be time for Vince to relocate again! I’m sure SOMEONE in the central states needs him…

    • 21.1

      Kim Webb says

      Judy, I have a snake story to share. When I was about 9 or 10 years old, my Mom was having a Tupperware party one night. The other mothers brought some of their kids to play. We were playing outside in the dark and found a garter snake in the window well.
      I had the brillient idea of putting it in a bucket and taking it to my bedroom for us kids to play with.
      All was fine until it got loose in the house and one of the kids went screaming to her mother. When I got to the living room all the other mothers were standing on the furniture scared of the snake. My mother was absolutly furious with me and my brother. We got in so much trouble. 35 years later, I still don’t dare mention it to my mother.(But it was still the funniest thing ever to see all the adults standing on the furniture).

  21. 22

    Sandra Neel Hutchins says

    I didn’t realize that area was THAT dry, and dead, and brown, until I went to Google Earth and brought up street level photos of the area around Brownwood Lake. Good grief, I’d want to go somewhere else, too. It’s too bad Vince couldn’t have been sent to the Texas hill country around Tyler, it’s very pretty there. But, we have to “bloom where we are planted” and I’m sure that you are doing just that. Hats off to you for your quilt project to help the fire victims. You’re a good person!

  22. 24

    Henrietta says

    No snakes at all in Hawaii, for me that is a major plus. My friend Lori has grass snakes in her garden and loves to tease because I come totally unglued, next time I’m gonna throw a spider at her. Then we can be unglued together.

    I would love to see a picture of your lizards.

  23. 25


    Look the snake in the eyes and check to see if they are BEADY!?!?!?!? Sure! Will Do! And I am not so sure noise is a deterrent…Bushland is a little town about 15 min from my house. 2 weeks ago a 5 year old was bit by a rattler on the playground after lunch. If I am outside walking I know I can’t make as much noise as a playground full of kids!!! Last I heard the little boy was ok after a few days in the hospital, except he and the entire school is realllllly scared of snakes. Me too! The school janitor took her broom and beat the snake to death. You are exactly right….the only good snake is a dead snake. Two more “my two cents”……be very cautious about buying a ranch. No water, no cattle…..and think you would have a hard time selling a house later….I’m thinking trying to sell a ranch that can’t support cattle would be a real hard to sell item. Other thing …..I had beans for supper tonight and thought when I was agreeing that Casserole brand pintos are the best I should have told you just put them in your crockpot after you wash them, cover with water and sprinkle in a generous shake or 4 of Lowry’s Seasoned Salt, cook on low for 8 hours and they are perfect. In Texas you can buy Dixieland Chow Chow at Walmart that is just like my mom use to make to serve on top of them. That and with cornbread. Luscious!!!

    • 25.1

      Judy Laquidara says

      Bought some Casserole brand pinto beans yesterday. I’ll probably do mine in the pressure cooker. I add onions, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper and one they’re done, cook them til most of the liquid cooks out, add a little bacon grease, salt and lots of cumin. Yum. Could eat pinto beans every day.

  24. 26


    My husband is with you on the only good snake is a dead snake. I personally have that same thought about spiders, which freak me out.; I remain strangely calm around snakes (because I’m never that close, LOL). My grandma used to grab a hoe and go stomping around the new growth at the foot of the mountain every spring behind her house, trying to find snakes and kill them.

  25. 27


    Judy I think you are totally justified in moaning – it sounds dreadful – especially for someone who clearly takes so much pleasure in your garden. I would not be happy AT ALL in these circumstances. Can’t Vince try to get a different job? If not, I think he owes you BIG TIME for this move ….maybe he owes you enough to retire to Louisiana 🙂

    • 27.1

      Judy Laquidara says

      Vince loves his job here and he’s quite happy with Texas. I will learn to like it too.

  26. 28

    Debbie R. says

    Between you and my police officer daughter’s stories about raccoon’s yesterday, I woke up at 4:45 this morning thinking a bunch of raccoons were tearing the screen and coming in the window of my bedroom…… nightmares…….. don’t see many snakes here hope I don’t dream about them tonight…..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. 29


    A ranch house–more critters, more snakes, more problems and you will be committed to Texas and stuck with that ranch. Sorry to be such a downer, but I would get out of there and wait for Vince to retire to a place you both love.

  28. 30

    Jackie says

    I live in a city and there are rabid skunks and racoons attacking people and dogs in parking garages. No place is safe.

  29. 32


    What happened to the renting idea? and going to Louisiana after your time in Texas is finished? Now it’s not even 5 acres, it’s 300! I can always depend on you for surprise endings Judy!

  30. 33

    Kathy C says

    Get a kitty, it WILL protect you from snakes.
    That’s how we adopted our cat when we lived in SC. The cat had been hanging around our house for 2-3 weeks and the kids kept asking to keep him and my DH kept saying NO. One day he was outside doing yard work and the cat kept pestering him. As he was moving some wood the cat jumped and sank his kitty teeth into a snake that was under the wood pile.
    Yes, the cat got a fine dinner that night courtsey of my husband. And the cat, OPIE, moved with us to OR. We had him for 17 wonderful years.

  31. 34


    Texas is a wonderful place to live. The people are so friendly. Three years ago they had a rattlesnake on the playground of a school in Los Angeles. I grew up in LA and remember coming across a rattlesnake in a field 1/2 block from our house. It isn’t a new thing… Even Eve had to put up with them! I loved living in Texas when we did. Just follow the advice of the folks above!