Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Achilles Heel and the Cause of My Gray Hair

This post is for all of you who think I am brave after posting a picture of the scorpion. So fair warning: this post contains pictures of crawly critters. Stop reading here if you have a problem with that. :)

This is also a long-winded post, but I am writing some of these stories down for the kids and future grand kids. :)

I don't have a problem with scorpions or spiders or bees or wasps and I even think tarantulas are awesome and frogs are cute. I love lizards. Our boy had a pet  Collared Lizard named Rex for years:

He was the coolest thing:


No, we did not let him run loose in the house, but at times we would take him out to play with him. He had a heat rock in his terrarium where he would flatten out and it always looked like he was laying on the beach waiting for the girls. We fed him crickets and grasshoppers and you could hold him in one hand and feed them to him with the other. When he had had enough he would actually shake his head no. He didn't want anymore. LOL. Sometimes we couldn't find crickets so we would buy them and on one trip, we noticed that the crickets were starting to die in the bag before we got home. We lived 3 hours from town. So what's a Mama to do? I grabbed a straw from a drink, very carefully opened the bag (didn't exactly relish the idea of 50 crickets running loose in the truck), and inserted the straw. Then I periodically blew into the straw and lo and behold, the crickets revived. I am not making this up. Saved every one. So now I can add 'resuscitated crickets' to my list of 'things I have done'. LOL

One year, our boy gave our girl a Horny Toad for her birthday and she was thrilled.

No sarcasm there either, She loved critters as much as he did. He built her a plexi-glass terrarium and she named her Horny Toad 'Duke'. We are big John Wayne fans around here.

Our son also has a passion for snakes. Oye. I've always been told that you're not worth your weight in salt...or bacon...or bread dough... as a ranch wife if you cannot kill a snake. There isn't a shovel invented with a handle long enough for me to do that. Just hand me the gun. Yes, I am terrified of snakes. And I raised a boy who loves them. He was a regular Steve Irwin growing up.

We have snake stories in our family. I have the gray hair as evidence. And it was a great source of fun for our nature loving son. I am going to share 2 of those stories here. These pictures aren't great because these are in a scrap book and I just took a picture of the pictures. :) The story is straight from the scrap book.

1. Fishing is one of your favorite ways to spend the day. You are a fishing fanatic and Kiley shares your passion. When he came to visit, you spent hours and hours fishing. Alas, this particular afternoon turned out to be about SNAKES, not fish! Ugh! While the three of you were having a ball catching fish, I was enjoying myself by capturing the memories with my camera. Little did I know that this afternoon was going to include an experience that would be told many times over through the years. And it started out to be such a peaceful day!

Kiley was working on his fishing line next to the tackle box. Caitlin was casting her line easily into the water. You were on the north end of the pool, fishing by the willow tree that hangs over into the water. Ahh! Quiet. Peace. Tranquility.

 NOT! Suddenly, the lazy afternoon air was broken by Kiley's shrieks of , "SNAKE! SNAKE!" I don't think I have to tell you how I feel about snakes, but apparently Kiley shares my thoughts on the matter.

It seems a snake was also enjoying the languid waters on that placid summer afternoon and he just happened to poke his head out of that water close to the tackle box...and Kiley! Suddenly the air was filled with flying fishing poles as Kiley and Caitlin tossed them into orbit and jumped off of the wall, yelling at the top of their lungs. Simultaneously, you broke into a run... towards the snake! As you brushed past the tree branches, they slapped you from behind and you were thrown into the water. I was running to make sure everyone was OK when Caitlin stopped and asked, "Tyler, are you in the water?" I looked into the water and there you stood, submerged up to your shoulders, nodding, and I broke into laughter. All of us were almost brought to our knees, but not for long!

You were out of that water like a shot, fishing pole still in hand, and running towards the snake:

Our laughter turned to screams when you picked it up and headed toward US! I don't even know how I managed to take these pictures! Let me tell you, it is next to impossible to run, and scream, and laugh, and take pictures at the same time you are wetting your britches.

After you released him gently back into the water, we actually had to go back to the house so that I could change my clothes. I am convinced that my hair was turning gray at that precise moment. Looking back at these pictures, I realize that the snake was not the huge monster that he seemed to be at the time and we probably scared the poor little guy as much as he scared us. YOU, on the other hand, are a rascal, but it makes for a great story, doesn't it?

2. Dad was away, helping brand at the LE in New Mexico and we headed to the Kingston to feed horses. It was such a gorgeous day and we took our time, enjoying the sweet air and mountain views. Tyler wandered over to the swimming pool to explore

and Caitlin and I loved on the horses. When it was time to go, I called to Tyler who reluctantly made his way back to the pickup and climbed into the passenger seat. I was reluctant to leave as well and had the door open and one foot on the ground as I began to slowly pull away at a snail's pace. Tyler says, "Hey, Mom! Look at this!" I turned to him and he had a snake curled up around his arms. There are no words, but apparently, I made an awful sound, and bailed out faster than you can say 'scat'. I jumped right back in and hit the brake and slammed the gearshift into park to save the kids and bailed out again. They were both laughing their heads off but Caitlin's laughter was interspersed with comments like, "Tyler! That's not funny" and "You scared Mama!", laughing all the while. That little toot! I told him to 'Put him down...NOW." His reply, "But Mom! I want to show him to Dad!" Oh, Lord! I did not sign up for this...did I?

So Tyler was banished to the bed of the truck with the snake and we turned towards home. Each time I glanced in the rear view mirror, he had that snake crawling around his arm. Shudder. It was a harmless grass snake, but oye!

Brave? No. Gray headed? Most definitely!


Dorian said...

Teeheheheeh...oh boy Karin, too funny! I, too, have to deal with scorpions, lizards, bugs and snakes. And I, too, have a boy who loves critters. Thankfully he is not into picking snakes up..yet, he's only 8 so I'm sure he will at one point. LOL. Be proud of those gray hairs ;)

Pauline said...

Hilarious! I love to think back to when my girls did crazy things. I shudder to think what I did to scare my "rather refined" parents. Like keeping a snake in my bedroom window between the screen and the window! However, Mom wouldn't let me keep the pretty white rat the biology teacher gave me. Made me take it back to school that very afternoon. So glad you got this story on film. Think how many generations will enjoy your story!

Nancy said...

I do NOT like snakes. While mowing some grass around the farm house with a push mower and ran over a rattler - my first close encounter. I was petrified, but managed to kill it with an irrigation shovel. Soon after that, I purchased and used a riding lawn mower. Talk about grey hairs. . .

Shelljo said...

I used to love Horny Toads as a kid. I've only seen once since we've been in SW KS. Don't think they have them in NW KS. I never heard of them up there. I also used to like salamanders. I out grew it. Never have liked a snake, and you are right, they don't make a hoe handle long enough!

My son and husband are infamous for trying to scare me with snakes and/or snakeskins. It's gotten so if I hear one of them say, "Hey Mom, come look a this!" I head out the nearest door so I have lots of room to run!

Lee said...

What great memories to look back on! My son is not interested in those things at all, but when my daughter lived with me for a time, she had BIG snakes in their enclosures in her rooms. As a child, I was the snake lover, my sister, no way - my brothers & I teased her with snakes on occasion. And bugs, outside not so much a problem unless they're black widows or wasps, inside...they don't live long unless I feel gracious enough to catch and release to the outdoors.

Gwynette in NW Arkansas said...

"Wonderful?" memories. I raised two girls and no pet snakes or lizards to be had... thankfully!!!

I'm with you on the 'no shovel handle long enough'. I have shot snakes so I could keep my distance. I am learning to be tolerant of the king snake family that lives across the drive in the rocks, especially since I've seen them kill copperheads.

I know your 'saved' stories will be appreciated.

Dar said...

These two storeis are so funny. I almost wet my pants just reading about them and I can picture every move you made!! lol. Kids are such a joy, but they do cause grey hair -- so I'm told. Just to let y ou know, you would have still gotten grey hair, even without kids. You have much more though with all those wonderful memories to share with your family and us. Thanks for the laughter today.

Denise :) said...

Ahhhh, the joys of living with a reptile-loving boy!! At least he wasn't a spider lover ... I can handle just about anything, but since I was bit by a brown recluse, spiders send me screaming! :)

Anonymous said...

enjoying morning reads. not sure how i found your blog, but it's been my best read in a while. i live in the shrub-steppe 'desert' of se washington state now & i too miss the mountains. i also miss the ocean. i too wander with camera in hand whenever possible. ...and i love snakes, my garden buddies --scorpions, coyotes, coons & more. dirt road country life is wonderful. and your photos & stories tell it so well. thsnk you for todays' morning delight.

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