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AmphiReptiBasementPhobia

Posted by Tara on May 3, 2009 in Family, House & Home, Wildlife & Nature |
Avignon
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…

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2 Comments

  • Earl says:

    They say if there’s a body of water bigger than a bathtub in Florida, chances are that it has an alligator in it. Certainly we’ve seen our share of alligators — on the boats of friends in the Dora Canal, sunning themselves on logs; floating around the reeds on Lake Harris by the boat dock where all the hungry boaters tie up to eat at the lakeside restaurant. It’s called Lake County for a reason — there are more than a thousand of them here.

    A couple of weeks ago, I was riding my bike down the West Orange Trail — a Rails-to-Trails jogging/biking trail that follows an old railway line between the Lake/Orange County Line at Highway 50 up to Apopka, FL, roughly 16 miles. As I was making my way through Winter Garden back toward County Line Station (the end of the trail), an oncoming cyclist warned me of “Alligator Ahead” rather matter-of-factly.

    The alligator, as it turned out, was resting beside a retention (drainage) pond, behind the neighborhood situated next to the trail. It was probably 40 feet away from the edge of the trail, but it was also about 6 feet long. As I stopped to take a picture (no sudden moves), I reminded myself that these beasties are actually very quick on dry land (faster than a man over short distances) and left my right cycling shoe clipped in to the pedal in case I needed to effect a quick get away. After taking my pictures, I apparently startled him putting my cell phone back up, since he suddenly pushed off into the water of the pond, leaving nothing to prove his existence except widening circles of ripples from his entry point and a barely perceptible trail of bubbles.

    I sent the picture to a friend who runs the Winter Garden Branch Library, less than 1000 yards away, so his staff could be made aware of the dangers that could await them if they thought a brisk walk was the best way to finish off their lunch break.

    TL has found two rats snakes in our pool, one while she was pregnant and both time after already getting into the water with them. Young ones seem to be the only thing that can get under our screen door. I have found one that came in our front door (5-year-olds leave these things open….) and had to get the county to remove him, since he was so riled that he was continuously striking at the side of the ZipLoc bowl that I trapped him under any time I entered the dining room where he was trapped.

    In Memphis, I would grill out on the back porch and if I left the grill on and went back in for something, would find pairs of raccoon eyes peering at me from the surrounding darkness.

    Still, I would prefer the wildlife of the country (and semi-country) to the rats and homeless that city dwellers endure. I’ll see if I can forward that picture….

  • Tara says:

    Hahaha! A brisk walk to finish off WHOSE lunchbreak?? The walker or the gator!?

    I didn’t know that y’all had such great wildlife stories…I sure would’a loved to be a fly on the wall when TL got a eyeball on them snakes! LOL It’s a wonder she went to full-term.

    I really didn’t think y’all would’a had raccoons where you lived in Memphis! Wow….

    Is the pic the one you posted on FB?

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