|Great place to watch a movie.... I don't know Abe looks pretty upset.... maybe it's the smell?!|
Snakes in the Crawl Space, sounds like a movie title, like Aliens in the Attic or Snakes on Planes (embarrassed to say that I think I've seen both), right. Well it's no movie, not unless I have the starring role, and it's my crawlspace. Oh I knew what the smell was far before I found it's source, I've lived in this old house of mine long enough to know that I share the crawl spaces with plenty of critters. I've come to accept the occasional mouse in the dog food, and I'm not even phased by the seemingly large spider population in the basement, however there is one critter I could do without, snakes.
Every summer we inspect the exterior perimeter of the house, filling in any gaps or holes that slithery winter guest may try to enter, really to no avail. I think we're marked, I catch snakes creeping in an open backdoor every fall, and they're headed straight to the basement and up the wall to the crawl space. One fall day after taking advantage of my already spooky basement, I was picking up the remnants of the afternoons Halloween spook alley, "Funny I didn't remember any rubber snake decorations?", then it moved, I squealed (I have only a couple of really girly quirks, and squealing at snakes is one of them), and no friends came to my rescue (you know who you are). But the very worst was the year we put in hot water heating.
Did you know that garter snakes hibernate in the winter, somewhere cool, maybe just below the frost line? I do, because right below my feet is a snake den. The year we decided to stop living off the grid and get a real and reliable heat source in the house, I was plenty pregnant with Abe. Monte, such the trooper, ran hot water heating through the entire house, even the crawl space (still to frightened to say what he saw in there). Consistent warmth..... in our house...... it was blissful...... so blissful it stirred our fork tongued friends. Apparently we'd created a fake spring, in February. There was no way for them to get out, not with a couple of feet of snow blocking their previous entrances, so it was up in the house they came. First one in the office, then one in the middle of the front room, by the time I had to patiently wrestle one from in between the heat register fins, I was squealing in an Australian accent, "Blimey she's a beaut!"
That early, early spring, Monte found their entrance, set up post, and killed 19 snakes leaving our crawlspace, what was the death tole if I add in the ones that had ventured up into the house, I'd rather not say. Before that time when we'd stumble across a snake in the yard we'd leave be, they were good for the garden, and little boys. Those days are long gone, I can't let them roam so close, knowing they'll be looking to live in our home come fall. This summer while painting the house there was more then a few in my path. Lucky for me I don't go anywhere without my cat (and dog) entourage, with a simple toss I'd give my cat a new toy, one he'd soon tire of, and eventually half eat.
I live in a house full of boys, so I try and have even somewhat succeeded in hiding my disdain for the slithery creatures, I don't want them to use the same girly squeal every time one passes their path (although this summer at Lake Alice, there was some snake squealing, not done by me). But when they sneak their way into my kitchen, beside my couch, or even curled up tightly under my baby's blanket (yes this really happened), I have no problem escorting them outside and chopping them in half with a shovel (Sorry Tiff, I know your love, but no love here).
So please come and visit, we've got plenty of beds to share......what's that smell you say, the smell by the entrance to the basement, a little like the reptile house at the zoo...... oh it's nothing, you know just the odors of an old house, well that and about 27 snakes.