Animal Adventures

Mondays stink – so here is another cheater post from MySpace a year ago…

I was telling someone this story last week, and she said I should write it down, so I thought this would be as good an option as any other.

In August of 2006, we moved into a new house.  We decided that we couldn’t afford to have any pets, but little did we know we would certainly not have a creature free home.

It began with the roaches and ants that invaded this crappy house we bought that needed some MAJOR work done.  So we set out roach/ant bait things all over the house, probably not the safest thing for us, but at least it got rid of all those critters.  (And since we didn’t have a bed – or any furniture for that matter –  for the first two weeks, the thought of critters crawling around on the floor was totally frightening).

And even though our neighborhood looked nice as you drove through, we soon realized there were several oddities.  First of all, the neighborhood was built on wetlands, so there are 5 or so retention ponds to prevent flooding.  And there is a HUGE flock of ducks/geese who live in these ponds and pretty much have their way of the neighborhood.  You have to stop to let them cross the street – even though I am seriously ready to begin “accidentally” hitting them to control population growth.  Our neighbor across the street is a funny old man who sits on his back porch (in his underwear no less) shooting them with a bee-bee gun, but it doesn’t keep them away for long.  And apparently the people who lived in our house before fed this flock.  The first morning I try to leave for work after we moved in, I was greeted by 5 huge geese (much like the geese at PC senior year for the Blue Hose who lived in the senior dorm).  They wouldn’t move and they were blocking the way out, I couldn’t get around them, and was quite afraid of them.  So I had to go out the garage.  Sad, I know, but you really should have seen how big they were.

So the insects were quickly taken care of, and the geese slowly learned that we weren’t going to feed them so they went away, but as we slept, we heard this strange noise that at times sounded like a baby crying and sometimes a duck or goose.  And then it sounded like a goat – but who would have a goat in a suburban neighborhood, so it couldn’t be a goat.  Finally curiosity got the best of us, and we walk out our back gate to find a large cage in our neighbor’s backyard with a goat and a pig inside – seriously?!  A goat and a pig in a suburban neighborhood, was that even legal?  But fortunately, a week later, we stopped hearing the noises – they had gotten rid of the animals!  YEA!  But then we worried because they hadn’t been over to introduce themselves yet, were they angry because they thought we called the police or animal control who made them get rid of them, which we were tempted to do, but didn’t.  But fortunately again, they came over to say hello and said that the animals were just too much trouble, so they took them back to the farm…duh!

Then a few weeks later, we were doing work in the yard, when my love asked me to go to the shed to get something.  I walk in, grab that something, then see something moving out of the corner of my eye.  It was a snake, too close to my home for my comfort.  Then I see something else out of the other corner of my eye, 5 baby rats.  I look back at the snake….it has a large bulge in it’s belly….apparently the mama rat.  EW!  So not knowing what kind of snake it was, I took a picture to show the head of staff at the church (he catches snakes for fun).  So the snake was not poisonous, and we thought it best to leave it alone, so it would eat the baby rats and then return to its home – most likely the creek behind our house.  We go in a week later and the snake and rats are all gone…fine with us!

But then a few months later, I am taking out the trash and see something sticking out from the first row of siding on the house.  I look closer – it’s a snake skin – which he apparently shed while slithering up behind the siding – OMG – where is this snake now?  I’m quite terrified and I call my love out and he is convinced that there is no way for the snake to get in the house from there, but I was still on edge for several weeks waiting to catch a glimpse of that snake in my house and fully prepared to scream in horror.

Back to this snake catching boss of mine.  One of the things the search committee failed to tell me when I came to interview was the fact that I would be learning more than I ever wanted about wildlife and reptiles.  The pastor is known in the town to be an expert on snakes, so whenever someone finds a snake, they call him…then he generally catches it and BRINGS IT TO THE OFFICE!!!  before letting it go in the 40 acre wildlife reserve behind the church.  So every so often I hear “Come in hear and see this”…I’ve learned to come in slowly.  And then there are the times when he calls all of us outside to see a certain kind of lizard or skenk or spider or snake.  Seriously not what I had in mind when I thought of what I would do at work.  I have also been warned that if there is a paper bag in his office, not to touch it, because more than likely there’s a snake in it.  Funtimes!

So God’s creatures are all around, in your own backyard, at your front door, in your shed, even in your office

UPDATE:  The pastor is soon retiring and the serpentarium – like an aquarium for just reptiles – who goes to that tourist attraction??  But apparently it is popular, the pastor even did a wedding there once – CRAZIES!  Anywho, the serpentarium has asked him, the resident snake handler, to come and be a quest speaker on occasion.  AND I found out that a newspaper once called the church and wanted to come by to interview the pastor and take a picture of him in his preacherly robe holding a snake – (he didn’t) – wouldn’t that be a fun picture caption – “Presbyterian Snake-Handling Minister”- not quite what we’re about.

And the neighbor with the bee-bee gun – someone complained about it, so he told my love that he was going to start using a bow and arrow instead because that wouldn’t make any noise…I have yet to see this thank goodness – I would be scared to leave my house for fear of being impaled.

And the neighbor with the pig and goat – they bought 4 white geese to have as pets – not sure why with all the stray geese wandering about.  But it actually was cute, the geese would follow the kids around the yard.  Unfortunately they met an untimely cruel death at the hands of trouble-maker teenagers.

maybe our neighborhood isn’t as nice as we thought…

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