Lesson 1032 – This is not the Amazon

Yesterday I took two of my kids down to Connecticut to see my parents at their assisted living apartment and drop off a Kindle for my mom. At one point during our visit, we decided to take a walk to a deck overlooking a small pond on the property.

“They warned us about a snake in a tree at dinner last night,” my mom told me as she pushed her walker on the path to the pond.

I laughed, “Mom, this is Connecticut it’s not the Amazon. Connecticut doesn’t have snakes in trees. It’s probably just a stick in the tree that someone mistook for a snake.”

Oh, these older people, what will they come up with next?

My mother, being my mother, looked at me, waited and then kept her counsel while she continued walking.

As we continued on the path, Trevor pointed out something in the trees. “Mom, is that?…”

Then Griffin chimed in, “No way, is that really a…?

Yup. It was a GIANT black snake sitting in a tree. Just sitting there mocking us.


It was easily a hundred feet long and as wide as a Volkswagon Beetle.

For those who don’t follow me on Facebook, you probably don’t know about my terror of all things snakes. Someday when I’m an old woman, I’m going to stumble across a snake and that’s going to be it – heart will stop and lights out for Wendy.

My heart started racing and I began  getting that prickly feeling in my hands. I. Do. Not. Like. Snakes.

“Are you kidding?” I yelled, “There is a snake in a tree, people know about it and it’s still there? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” It was all so unfair.

As far as I was concerned it was time to turn back. That’s it, walk is over, even though it was a gorgeous day, let’s go inside and look at the photographs again. Maybe we could start a puzzle.

I stood there, paralyzed, sure that if I made a sudden move the snake would fly from the tree and try to attack me.

“You big fat baby,” my sons called to me. “It’s just a snake.” I noticed that they were both accusing me of cowardice while they stood a respectable distance from the snake on the other side of the walkway.

“What?” my mother asked me, “You don’t want to go out to the water because of a snake?”

Not wanting my sons to see any weakness in me (nothing to do with being a mom and everything to do with blackmail)  I accepted the challenge when they dared me to walk by the snake onto the deck. Well I’d show them.

I haven’t jogged in several years but yesterday I would have given Usain Bolt a run for his money. Once safely past the snake and under the roof of the deck, I breathed a sigh of relief.

Until I looked around and saw the half dozen wasp and yellow jacket nests. I suddenly realized that the hundreds of flying insects that I had assumed were nothing but cute, tiny dragonflies were not.

Talk about jumping from the pan into the fire.

“ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????” I yelled to my safe family on the other side of the snake. Realizing that there was nothing to do but go back the way I came, (swimming in the water wasn’t an option as my mother has just finished telling me the story of a large snapping turtle they had recently seen) I released a sigh so deep it must have come from my toes.

I ran back to my mom and as far as I could get from the several levels of hell that was that pond. As we started walking away, I looked back to give that snake the dirtiest look I could muster to let it know – you come after us and you’re a dead snake.

“Oh Wendy,” my mom said “It’s just a snake. Snakes aren’t trouble. They eat insects.”

I looked at my crazy mother and even though I am a genetic clone of her, for the first time in my life, I wondered if I had been adopted. It was the only explanation that made sense.

Time to go in, mom. It’s time to go in.



Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

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Filed under Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicks, Holidays, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotable Chicks, The Family

13 responses to “Lesson 1032 – This is not the Amazon

  1. sarahclarke138

    Ugh…this gave me the chills!

  2. I can totally relate. I probably have levitated a few feet before running back.

  3. I grew up near rattlesnakes, though I never met one. My wife loves our nearby garter snakes quite dearly. Our hens took a whack at a garter snake sliding through their run, but it was not impressed. A teacher friend of mine kept a small boa in her class and let the kids feed it mice. The Jewish myth says Adam and Eve ate an apple, but I’ve been told it could have been any kind of fruit. Perhaps berries.

  4. It’s probably an Eastern Ratsnake. They can be quite large and are capable of climbing trees, although they are probably more comfortable around rock outcroppings. They’re harmless unless you’re a chipmunk or a baby bird.

  5. You are much braver than I. I would have called the local police and had someone come out immediately and remove the nasty thing. Yuck!

  6. One morning I was in my vegetable garden, pulling weeds from amid the peas, when I got the sense that there was something nearby. I’d been working in that spot for several minutes, but finally I looked up and saw a black snake–tangled in the bird netting I had strung up to protect my tomato plants from deer and raccoons. After recovering from my shock, I looked closely enough to see that the netting was wrapped so tightly around the snake’s neck that parts of it were severely constricted and other parts were bulging through what holes were available. It must have been struggling all night to get away.

    It was one of the saddest things I’d ever seen, because I knew there was no way to release it. No way to cut the netting away without cutting the snake. I left it for a while, quietly hanging there, hoping it would soon be out of its misery, but when I happened by a while later, it was writhing and twitching, obviously still very much alive. I was crying at this point. I knew that I had to put it out of its misery, that it was the only humane thing to do, but how do you kill a snake that’s strung up a couple of feet above the ground in bird netting? I found a way, but it was a sad, sad experience. Now, when I happen on a black snake in the yard, after being startled, my second strongest feeling is one of sadness. And remorse.

    • I have had to kill a chipmunk that got caught in a net while trying to eat our berries. A garter snake got into our chicken run and the hens took a few pecks at it, but it just slithered away and ignored them. Nature goes on as it has for billions of years. Some of us are predators and some of us are predators and some of us are omnivores. Some day something will eat each of us.

      • I sure hope something will eat me–that my surviving relatives don’t shoot my body full of chemicals poisonous to all the creatures that might otherwise find me tasty!

      • Ecology worship is OK. Right now i am shooting gray squirrels because they are not natural to Whidbey Island. I don’t remember if you are one of the Christian fanatics I’ve communicated with, but we won. God has converted to atheism.

      • Wendy Thomas


        I’ve been so worried about you! Glad to see you back on the blog. you always add an interesting point of view!


        On Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 1:07 PM, Lessons Learned from the Flock wrote:


  7. fngrpntr

    Weird. I grew up in CT & have never heard of such a thing. I would call Animal Control just in case it’s a dangerous “pet” that has gotten lose.

  8. fngrpntr

    But I just the above-mentioned Eastern Ratsnake & that looks like it. Boy I missed out on some great thrills as a kid!

  9. Ellen

    What if there is a elderly person who see that, and hates snakes as much as you and I. They would have a heart attack. Call animal control and have it removed, and rehomed,. and the bees, same thing some people are allergic to bees. Shame on the staff to keep your loved ones safe. 😦

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