Avignon — our labor of love, our home
I have told you that we built our home with our own hands. We finished the main living quarters first and finished the basement last. The basement serves as quarters for gameroom, a large pantry room, laundry area and a garage.
1) We live on a farm under huge oaks with a treeline which surrounds our property. This tree line has proven to be very healthily alive with all manner of forest life, even though it is just a treeline.
2) For a few months, we had no garage doors. There were doors between the house and garage but no electric ‘roll up’ garage doors which open and close for the vehicles to drive in. AND, unbeknownst to us, we had a drain line opening which wasn’t sealed well enough for a small amount of time ‘back in those days.’ It may have been a small amount of time that the drain wasn’t sealed as it should’ve been, but I suffered major trauma during that small amount of time. I never knew what I’d find in my basement at laundry time. There was the time I opened the area which was waiting to be made into a bathroom to vacuum and was face-to-face with a frog IN MY HOUSE. He began jumping around wildly looking for someplace to run to and so did I. Th’ Brick duly replaced the displaced froggie into the wilds and we were all happy. If only ALL of the basement wildlife stories could’ve had such a happy ending…
There was the night of the skink. I had gotten our winter jackets out and thrown them in front of the washer while waiting for another load to finish washing and the girls and I had gone to the grocery. (Th’ Brick was working 3 – 11 back in the days of his shift-work.) When we got home, I emptied the washer and began to dig around in the pile of jackets and a large skink shot out of MY WINTERWEAR. He shot in one direction and I shot in another.
When I came back later, picking my way gingerly through the pile of coats, out he shot again! Mr. Skink had the basement to himself the rest of the evening! Rory couldn’t find the little fella’ when we got up next morning and HE got to do however many loads it took to do those coats. To have observed the girls and me for weeks after, you’d have thought our basement was haunted, so cautiously did we approach it and so gingerly did we slink around while in it.
The best was saved for last, however. Again, while vacuuming, I opened the area waiting to be made into a bath and there, on a stored patio chair was a strange looking ‘wad’ of stuff. I bent down to observe closer and I realized that RIGHT THERE, hanging on the bottom rung of MY PATIO CHAIR, was a very small, pinkish, baby copperhead IN MY HOUSE!
I ran in my usual direction and was safe upstairs before I realized that THIS animal was TOO important to leave to my usual battle plan of ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind.’ Thank goodness daughter Anna appeared and went into the basement with me to witness this phenomenon– and there he was, still wadded up on the bottom rung of MY CHAIR.
During the afternoon I wended my way downstairs several times and the snake apparently got sick of it because the last time I saw him, he was headed toward where we all assume that he came from and was never seen again. Soon after this, we approached the phase of construction to where the whole basement was well sealed and doored and life settled down as far as the basement wildlife.
THEN there was the morning in my kitchen, UPstairs, when I opened the potato bag from the grocery and found a baby rat snake…