Monday, May 20, 2024

Things that Hop and Slither

Originally appeared in VioletsFun Photo Journal, issue no. 12 (2001)

Things that hop…..

We’ve talked before about our little froggie friend “Ching-Wa”.  He’ll appear every once in awhile, often on one of Olive’s plantings, stay for a couple of days, then leave.  Having almost adopted him as a pet, we get concerned when we don’t see him for a time.  Just when we begin to wonder where he might be or what might have happened to him, he’ll appear again–or at least a similar looking friend or relative of his will.

Well, he’s still with us, and he seems to have brought friends.  Besides other little brown-colored frogs like Ching-Wa, we’ve discovered a bright green frog who most recently took up residence in our stock room.  He was last seen spending his time either in the begonias or sitting atop a light time.  Just built 18 months ago, the stock room seems to be a favorite gathering place for frogs.  Besides Ching-Wa’s little brown and green friends, there are the large frogs that stick to the outside of the room’s windows in the spring and early summer.  One of our favorite evening diversions is standing in the room and looking out, watching the frogs walk up the windows looking for a meal.

….and Things that Slither

It was a Monday morning, late this past spring.  This is the busiest time of year for us, when we pack and ship plants from morning to night, two to three days each week.  Besides Rob and myself, three others were working that day.  Karen, Sonja, and Peggy.  Everyone was busy either collaring, wrapping, or packing.

There were plants everywhere.  Trays of them, waiting to be collared and wrapped, occupied every available shelf and much of the floor space in the back room.  I had just finished wrapping plants for one order, and needed to get some more, from the top shelf of the cart in the corner of the room.  Reaching them would be a problem, wince the floor around the cart was covered with trays of plants.  I looked down to find a place between the trays to stand.  Just before I put my foot down, I saw what looked like a length of chain.  I looked closer.  It wasn’t a chain.  it was a snake–spitting at me with its long tongue!!

Eeeyikes!!!  That got everyone’s attention.  They all came over to see for themselves.  We’ve had a snake of two before, always just little, green, garden-variety kinds–a little creepy, but harmless.  This one was a milk snake, nonpoisonous, but perhaps four feet in length.  What do we do now?  We certainly didn’t want the thing slithering around the place.  The first thing was to pick up our dog, Lucy.  She will put almost anything in her mouth, and a big snake isn’t something that belongs there.

“We need a container to cover the snake with!”, Rob said, and he ran upstairs to find one.  An empty soil bucket would do the trick.  Karen, still holding the plant she was wrapping with one hand, started trying to pry apart three empty buckets with her other hand.  But these had no lids!  “A lid! A lid! Where’s a lid?”, Sonja yelled, while standing on top of her chair, still holding the plant that she had been wrapping.  She grabbed the empty bucket beside her, but couldn’t remove the lid using her one spare hand.

“We need a stick!” yelled Peggy, still holding the plant she had been wrapping in one hand.  Still holding the dog, I found a stick.  Now what?  We all needed, but had no, free hands to use them.  “All right!”, I said, “everyone put down the plants!“.  With Karen holding the empty bucket, Peggy guided the snake into it with the stick.  The snake slithered inside, but found the bucket too short for it.  It turned around and began to exit, with both its head and tail appearing from the top of the bucket.  “Quick! Cover the bucket!”, I said.  Standing as far away as possible, Karen slapped on the lid about a foot of the snake’s tail still wriggling outside.  Finally, the tail disappeared inside.

By now, Rob had finally returned, ready to capture the snake, only to have us tell him that we had already done that.  All that was left for him to do was to carry our unwanted guest out into the woods.  Far into the woods.

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