Stinky Snake

There are no really gross pictures. You can keep reading.  🙂

For the past several days, when I walk out toward the chicken coop, I smell something dead. I told Vince “I smell something dead over there <—.”  In wife talk, that means will you please go see if you can find it? In husband talk, that means hmm, I can’t smell it from the recliner so I’m not worried about it!

I really didn’t want to find it because I was afraid it was something I didn’t want to see. My imagination can be quite wild!

I had already counted chickens and they were all accounted for. Yes, the little bantam is back and she seems to have lost her desire to live on her own after dark and she also isn’t trying to sit on the eggs and the other hens are back to laying where they are supposed to lay. Unfortunately, I had to buy eggs today.

So, my chickens were all ok. I walked around halfway looking but I really didn’t want to find anything. Then I remembered this plastic netting that we use pretty often. It will keep baby chicks from escaping through the regular chicken wire. It will keep birds off the peach trees. When it’s all wadded up, it’s the best snake trap ever! They get all tangled up in it and can’t get out.

I had avoided looking too closely at this pile but today decided I had to find that smell and yep, there he was . . in the pile of netting we had taken off the peach trees.

Stinky Snake

Stinky Snake

You can barely see him over on the left side . . a big fat black rat snake.

Fig Tree

Fig Tree

He was only a few feet from the fig tree and every day when I’m out there rummaging around and climbing in all the nooks and crannies, I’m thinking . . if I were a snake, I’d hide out in here. It’s cool, shady and damp. Almost every day I’m watering under the big fig tree.

Fig Tree

Fig Tree

I try to always search around for a snake before going deep under the tree, and I make lots of noise hoping anything under there will leave but the whole time I’m out the picking figs, several times a day, I’m thinking about those blasted snakes. Flip flops? Nope, I’ve given them up. Don’t even own a pair except my house shoe type flip flops that I don’t wear outside. Snake boots? Nope, they are way too hot, too bulky and too much trouble for just walking out for 30 minutes to pick figs. It’s either tennis shoes or rubber boots, neither of which are much protection against a snake but better than flip flops, I suppose.

Last year we saw very few and this year, I think I’ve killed 3 rattlesnakes, and have seen at least a dozen other snakes. And it’s only July, right? Lots of snake season still to come. Vince is pretty lucky that I grew up in a snake infested area or I’d have already packed my stuff and run away to a bit more civilized place. In southwest Louisiana, snakes are just part of everyday life. It’s pretty common to find them inside the house, as well as outside. I guess when you think about that, having the snakes we have here isn’t so bad but it’s still really nice during winter when we don’t see so many of them.

Outsmarted!

Ouch. I’ve been outsmarted by a chicken!

The little bantam . . all she can think about these days is hatching babies. I let her hatch some, thinking that would get it out of her system but no . . she’s trying to do it again. She’s mean as a snake when she’s trying to sit on eggs and almost every time I try to get eggs from her, she draws blood. My hand looks like I’m one of those people who injure themselves .. tiny little cuts all over it.

I’ve gotten better though. I can grab her right at the end of her back and she can’t quite reach me there. I move her and get any eggs she might be sitting on. I do that 3 or 4 times per day so the eggs don’t have time to begin incubating before I snag them.

She would sometimes move from nest to nest. There are 8 nesting boxes and I’m never quite sure where she’ll be. 

Saturday I went out and she wasn’t in any of the nesting boxes. First time that’s happened in weeks. I thought . . Good! I won and she know I’m not going to let her hatch eggs so she’s given up. By Saturday evening, I hadn’t gotten any eggs and I thought that was weird but I was busy and didn’t think much about it. Yesterday .. no eggs! Then I thought . . where is that little chicken? Can’t find her anywhere. Sunday . . no eggs. Monday . . no eggs. Every day that I don’t get eggs from almost 20 hens . . that’s one day closer to a big pot of juicy, fresh chicken and dumplings!

Little Bantam Hen didn’t give up . . she just moved to where I can’t find her and she’s convinced all the other hens to lay in her nest. That’s loyalty for you! I feed them, I water them. I keep them safe and yet Little Bantam Hen says “Come lay in MY nest!” and they abandon me . . not even one egg per day. I’m going to have to buy eggs at this rate. Buying eggs the same time I’m feeding all those chickens just doesn’t seem right, does it?

I asked Vince to go out and help me find her. He said “Just leave her alone!” (which is Vince for . . I’m watching TV and a chicken is the last time I’m worried about!)

Yes . . . leaving her a lone is a great idea til she shows up one day with 20 baby chicks and our chicken population has doubled.

Hiding Spot

Hiding Spot

I looked in all her usual hiding spots. Under the agarita bushes. No chicken and no nest.

Hiding Spot

Hiding Spot

Under the pomegranate. No chicken and no nest!

Not Talking

Not Talking

I asked the other chickens . . no one is talking!

Chickens

Chickens

They act like they don’t even know who I’m asking about . . and they probably don’t . . because chickens aren’t very smart which makes it even worse that I’ve been outsmarted by a little bantam hen!

The Cost of Staying Cool

Today has been one of those “when it rains, it pours” days!

First, this house is mostly rock but the peaks on the sides (I don’t know what you call that stuff) is cheap wood and it needed to be painted. We waited a bit too long and now it needs to be replaced .. which kinda is happening at a good time because it would need to at least partially come down to replace the a/c unit in the attic.

Mini-Split

Mini-Split

It seems like every day it’s harder to keep the house cool. I so love the mini-split in the sewing room.

The plan was to put in a couple of mini split units, which I thought would cost $2,000 to $2,500 each. Surprise! We’ll have to have 220 outlets run and not even counting the cost of that, the mini-split, along with installation will be at least $5,000 each. Uhh .. no!

The guy took some readings. We have some insulation issues, of course . . over the cathedral ceiling. We have some duct work issues . . probably sucking hot attic air in through our vents. Our main outside unit is on its last leg so the inside unit (in the attic) and the outside unit need to be replaced. So, here’s the plan . . some time in October . . too hot to get in the attic and work now.

  • The guy who is replacing the siding is going to cut a big ugly hole in the siding so the a/c guys can access the attic.
  • The a/c guys will then come and pull out the old unit, re-do all the duct work and add some larger vents in the rooms where needed. Put in larger return air vents. Put in new inside and outside heat and air units.
  • The wood replacement guy will then come back and pull off enough siding that we can get someone out to blow in more insulation.
  • Once they come, then wood guy will come back and put up new wood.

I’m thinking I need to be sitting on the street corner with a sign that reads “Will Work For Food!” 

The real problem (though it could be answered prayer!) is that the last three times we’ve put in a new a/c system, we’ve moved within 6 months. We always thought we’d be staying, put in a top of the line system . . then left it for someone else to enjoy.

Seriously, that’s all a huge expense that we didn’t plan on having but I’m thankful that we can do it and hopefully nothing else major will need to be replaced for a while.