Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

When You Wish Upon a Frog

Farm Photo - Digging of the pool
I just had to climb in at my first chance.

I’ve wanted a swimming pool since I was a little girl. Growing up, it was always my favorite summer activity.  I remember fondly the summer my mom took me to a huge pool club and I would spend hours upon hours dreaming in the pool.  My raft became a dolphin and I an amazing dolphin trainer.  Or sometimes I’d press my feet together and try to swim like a mermaid.  I felt graceful in the pool – something I rarely feel on dry land.

So last fall when I confided my dream to Cowboy of getting a pool, he found a way to make it happen. (Yes, I just love that man.)  I watched from the front porch for 12 weeks while machines and craftsmen dug, rocked, and tiled the pool.  Finally finished, I donned my bathing suit and watched eagerly as it began to fill with water (just a measly 27 hours).

And then the splashing began.  We had my niece down from the big city (Chicago) to splish and splash.  We bought pool toys, floated, and for the first time in my life, someone even told me I looked tan this summer.  That’s because every chance I got, I was by the pool – swimming, reading, and enjoying the view of the horses.  Blessed, simply blessed.

And then the ecosystem started.  First, we had one or two frogs. Kind of cute.  They were especially fond of the rock fountains.  Then there were a dozen.  Each night as Cowboy and I went to take a dip, we’d count frogs.  I’m not sure when it happened, but all of a sudden we were up to over 40 frogs, then 50, then 60.  Until one day, we counted nearly 100 frogs!

I googled to see how to make them move on, but no luck. Any solution would hurt or kill them, so not an option.  And ultimately, it turns out they are great bug control.  Let me be clear, we have no pond or other nearby water source, so how these crazy Kermits found us, I’m not quite sure.  (Other than, obviously the animal kingdom has a network equivalent to Facebook, and I think we must be posted, shared, liked, and loved all over it.)

Back to our ecosystem … so one lovely evening during a warm swim, I was doing my nightly frog count, and a little face poked out of the rocks at me that I had not seen before.  It took my brain a moment to register this creature, which was a mere 10 inches or so from my face.

My first thought was, “Oh, how cute.  Wait, it doesn’t look like a frog.  It has a tongue sticking out at me.”  My second thought was “S-N-A-K-E!”  Quickly followed by a panicked, “Out of the pool. Out of the pool. Out of the pool!”

Holy hades where did he come from?  Well, you guessed it, we were serving up a lovely buffet of a snake’s favorite dish – Kermit a la poolside.  He was more scared of me that I was of him, although I’m not sure that is entirely possible or true.  And over the next week we had two of his associates show up as well.  Fun science fact I somehow missed in biology, ALL snakes swim. (Once again, thank you Google.  And yes, you heard me.  A-L-L.)

Well Cowboy and my dad came to the rescue, and the snakes met their fate.  Sorry fellas, swimming with snakes is not on my list of things to do.  The Kermits are croaking and singing nightly, and we have purchased a snake grabber on Amazon. (Who knew … Amazon really does have everything.)

So yes, I’ve got my dream pool and we are loving every minute.  But let me say, I am thanking my lucky stars for beautiful clear water that you can see what you are getting into, literally.  Last night, as Cowboy and I stood on the porch, we listened as a giant hoot howl sounded very close.  We hadn’t heard that before.  So with my handy dandy phone I looked up their food source – furry creatures and (yep, you guessed it) frogs.  Ribbit!

Farm Critter Pic - Frogs in the Pool
A sampling of our friendly frogs.

P.S. – I never liked swimming in lakes, but with my new all-snakes-swim revelation, I’m sticking to clear water from now on. No exceptions.

Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

Just Say No to Snakes

We love 99.9% of things about country living.  In fact, neither Cowboy nor I  want to trade in the work, peace, or beauty of the country to go back to the ‘burbs.  However, if there is one thing that can make me shriek and consider condo living, it is the S word.  That’s right, S-N-A-K-E. Those squirmy, sneaky, legless slitherers are NOT my friends.

We’ve been pretty blessed at the farm.  We’ve found just two snakes in five years, and one we only found after we ran over it with the tractor.  Bonus! But with this year’s spring rains they seem to have discovered the farm, and we found three on the porch in 36 hours.  Let me correct that, I found three.

Snake number one slithered onto the porch just as I was about to let the pups out.  Unfortunately, Cowboy wasn’t home at the time and couldn’t get here immediately. (Of course!) Panic mode fully in place, because I was not going to go toe-to-toe or rather toe-to-slither with a snake, I picked up the phone and called my dad.   Dads fix everything, right?

My good natured dad  listened, as I screeched, “Dad, there is a snake on the porch.  Come now.  Right now.”

In his slow drawl, he said, “Awe, you’ve got a snake, huh?”

My anxiety building, I squeaked, “Stop. Talking. Just. Come. Right.  Now.”

We hung up and I stayed glued to the window making sure I knew exactly where that snake was.  I couldn’t risk a get-away, or I may never step foot on the porch again.  Five minutes later, my mom  called me back.

“Your dad is on the way. He’s got his BB gun and shovel.  You cracked him up. He’s grinning from ear to ear,” she said. “He should be there in a few minutes.”

Not so happy to be comic relief, I breathed a sigh of relief as the calvary was on its way. I grabbed my pink rubber boots and stood at the ready.  What an utter goofball I looked like.  You’d think I was going to do battle with the garden rather than snakes.  Whatever works, right? And then I saw Dad round the driveway, that lovely Dodge truck was a white horse.

My Farmtastic Life - Just Say No to Snakes
Dad saved the day, and by day I mean my sanity. Sorry Mr. Snake. You are not welcome on the porch!

Dad saved the day, and was an excellent shot.  Dad did feel bad, as he said it was a “good” snake, i.e. not poisonous.  However, while my brain knows this, my nervous system does not.  In fact, that night I dreamed about being chased by snakes.  Let’s just say, I’m not a fan.

Snake number two and three came when Cowboy was around.  (Lucky, Cowboy!) Snake number two still came with an assist from Dad, as he was stuck up in the porch roof rafters, and unfortunately ate a nest of baby black birds.  Sad about the birds, and this also came with a new realization that I had to look not only down but up for snakes.  Holy cats, are you kidding me?

Snake number three showed up on our side porch wrapping itself around a door handle.  For the love of pete I hope this stops.  By snake number three, Cowboy has this routine down, sadly. Routine starts with a call of, “Cowboy! Snake! Now!” To which I hear him laughing and boots come stomping.  Shovels collected.  Snake in sight.  Snake dead.

The big lesson? Screened in porch just moved up the priority list of projects.  Hardware store here we come!

 

P.S. – Yes, snakes were harmed in the making of this blog.  We’re sorry.  They simply FREAK us, i.e. me, out.  I know it’s not the right thing to do, but I’d like to keep breathing at a normal pace. All were a minimum of four feet. This farmgirl is just over five feet. You do the math.

P.P.S. – Ironically, snake number three came in the middle of writing this blog.  Guess he needed to make an appearance.

P.P.P.S. – I refuse to categorize this as a critter story.  Critters require legs. So you’ll find this under farm life.  Just saying.