Saturday, May 5, 2012

Saturday encore ~ Stuck in the middle

I cannot believe it has been a year since the infamous snake-in-the-horse-trailer-jack episode. 
This is probably my most memorable ranch adventure – and favorite post – of all time.


It was around seven o'clock Sunday night. I was in the corral working with Lucy when I heard Smooch barking bloody murder in the backyard – it was unmistakably her snake bark. I had forgotten just how loud it could be.
I went over to investigate and found Smooch's attention laser-focused on the jack of the horse trailer.


Me: Excuse me, Snake, but I'm going to be using the trailer in a few days and I'd really appreciate it 
if you would extricate yourself and find someplace else to take your nap.

I stomped the ground, kicked the planks, and poked the snake with my toe. He wasn't moving. Hmmm.
I fetched the snake pole, got a good grip around his body and gave a tug. He didn't budge. He was stuck.

Me: Come on, Snake. You've got me a little worried here. I don't want you to die on my watch. 

Let it be known that you are witnessing the first time I've ever picked up a snake with my hand. 
Much to my surprise, it was not slippery and slimy. More like a skinny cat without hair. That's it! A bald skinny cat. 
Too much information? Sorry.

Back to our story. By now, I was starting to feel sorry for the snake. How embarassing he must have felt knowing he was being photographed with his head stuck in a hole for all of you to see. And I'm quite sure he was old enough to know better. This was no youngster.

My foot is 9.5 inches long, so I estimate there were about four feet of snake on this side of the hole.
And no, I wasn't running around outside in my socks - I just didn't want you to see my pathetic, beat-up barn shoe.

Anyway, about 20 minutes had elapsed from the time Smooch spotted the snake until this point, 
and I was racking my brain trying to figure out a way to free him. 
I finally turned to my go-to, all-purpose, guaranteed method for unsticking stuck stuff:

You: No, she didn't!
Me: Yes, I did.

A little squirt on this side...

A little more on the other side...

The label says "Saturate area, let soak for several minutes," so that's what I did,
while Smooch was on the other side of the fence doing what she does best...

Smooch: I tried to warn you yesterday that a snake was over here. I could smell him, and I dug a big hole trying to find him, but did you listen to me? No! You filled in the hole and made me dig it all over again to prove my point!

Me: Smooch, you have my deepest apologies. I should have known you never do anything without a good reason.

While Smooch and I were working on our communication issues, Lucy came over to stand watch. We discussed if we should tug on the snake again or wait until the WD-40 did its thing. She suggested I go back in the house for awhile and have a glass of wine. Such a smart, intuitive donkey my Lucy is. She would let me know when and if the snake moved.

Fifteen minutes later...

I looked out the window. Was the snake still there? Hard to tell from a distance, so I took a few steps into the backyard.







Lucy: Mom, why are you running around like an idiot?

The conversation went on like that for at least five minutes. Smooch kept circling the snake and would not let up. I didn't want her to get bit, so I bopped her in the head with one of her toys. She must have thought the snake hit her because she ran to the other side of the yard. I picked her up and tossed her in the garage.

Lucy: Wow, mom, I've never seen you move so fast. Why is your face all red?

With Smooch out of the picture, the snake and I calmed down. I went to fetch the snake pole.

Me: Well, Snake, I hope you've learned your lesson. I see a little blood, but the injury does not appear to be serious. Let's get you out of here. This backyard has enough holes in it.

Out the gate, down the driveway, and out to the entrance we went – that would be about 400 feet.

I probably should have taken him further down the road...

...but I was wearing my slippers at this point.

I took one last look at the trailer jack before I went in the house, not sure of what I would find.

Well, isn't that interesting...there's a nest in the hole! The snake must have been going after the nestee. 
I pondered that thought for a little while and came up with this theory:

The snake swallowed a mama packrat who was too big to fit through the hole in the jack. He was stuck until he had digested enough of her that she was small enough to pass on through.

So the WD-40 probably had nothing to do with his getting unstuck. Which is really a shame because I was hoping to add the coolest-ever submission to 2000+ Uses for WD-40: "Lubricates and releases bull snake stuck in horse trailer jack."


  1. I really have to admire the fact that you will save a snake. Hands, WD-40, snake pole, I'm not that brave. I'm sure he thanks you and went back and told all his viper buddies what a great place you have and how you helped him out...literally. I think you should send the story in to WD-40, maybe pack rats don't digest that fast.

  2. This was one of my favorite posts too. The first time I read this, I saw that photo of the WD40 and said "No, she didn't!" Then I read the caption and nearly fell of my chair laughing. Farm life at it's best. Thanks for sharing this stuff.

  3. I remember it well. But watermelon time is right up there on my list of favorites. I still can't get that song out of my brain. Are you going to get some pictures of the Super Moon tonight for us? I can only imagine what it'll look like in your New Mexico sky.

  4. I remember that!!! LOL
    At least it is a good sized Bull snake and it will eat the Rattlers!!! LOL

  5. Saturday Encore. It's Saturday! I can't imagine dealing with a big bull snake. I have garter snakes in my yard and they have a funny little fierceness about them, but I think I would have to call somebody for this one. Kudos ranch woman !

  6. I had forgotten the WD40! Great post. Oh, and Happy Derby Day from Kentucky.

  7. I scream at my little yard snakes. I could not do what you did.

  8. I guess that is one of the things on an acreage that I can do with out! When did Lucy get so smart?

  9. I love the illustration in the last photo..great re-post....

  10. This is one of the most memorable posts you did. :))