Friday, June 22, 2012

Killer Instincts

I'm a cold blooded murderer.  In just the past three days I've destroyed seven wasp nests, swatted and ground the carcasses of at least a half-dozen bald faced hornets into the ground, killed a snake and crushed the bodies of another seven or eight mice babies under my boot.

And I don't regret it.  It's darned hot outside (although not quite Suicidal Squirrel Hot), there's been no significant rain for over two months and because of that I'm just plain pissy.  The wasps and hornets are also particularly testy, which makes for an interesting time milking in the barn.  Lots of swatting, waving and swearing.   Do you really have to dive-bomb me when I'm in there?  Honestly?  Don't you have a million other bug things you could be doing?

Normally, unless the wasp nests are near a doorway or some place that Rhiannon plays, I leave them be.  I'm sure I'm jinxing myself now, but I've never been stung by a wasp.  Bald Faced Hornets (which are technically a wasp) and ground hornets (yellow jackets) are another story; I have been stung countless times and will kill each and every one I am able to.   I don't care if they help depopulate the annoying barn flies, they are all pricks and I say "Up Yours" to each and every one I can send to Vespidae Hell.

The mice problem in the barn isn't as bad since I cleaned it out a few weeks ago, but the little buggers will find any corner or otherwise secluded piece of barn real estate to set up camp.  While scooping chicken chow into buckets the other day, I thought I heard squeaking.  There isn't much crap in that section of barn, so I was a bit curious as to where the squeaks were coming from.  I moved the metal garbage can (which holds the chicken & goat feed) and the little buggers had made a nest underneath it.  I don't know how they squeezed under the thing, but apparently there was more than enough room for an entire rodent family.  Two adult mice managed to elude my clomping feet, but the nest of almost-too-cute-but-not-cute-enough baby mice met their maker via the bottom of my shoe.  The chickens were more than happy to indulge in a breakfast of tenderized rodent veal.

As for the black snake, I figured we had one or more visiting (i.e. lunching) the chicken coop as there are days when I'll only get a few eggs.  There are twenty laying hens.  I know it's hot, but that's not an excuse for getting only three eggs some days.  And last night I found the culprit, or at least one of the culprits.  So I picked up the six-plus foot writing mass of muscle (BTW, did you know that snakes will crap on themselves - and on you - as a means of defense? Ask me how I know this.) and took him out of the coop.

I love snakes.  Really, I do.  I actually had the nickname of Snake Woman in high school. But I don't love them nearly as much as much as I did pre-Krazo Acres.  For several years I was relocating the black snakes, even the copperheads.  No more.  Not only am I convinced that a black snake will travel over a mile to come back to the egg smorgasbord, but I swear they lay their eggs closer to their fast 'n easy snack shack (i.e. my chicken coop) as there seemed to be a black snake population explosion in the past year.  And the copperheads are no longer welcome now that Rhiannon came into our lives.

So what did I do with the trespassing serpent?  "Off with his head!", Queen of Hearts style.  And didn't feel guilty about it at all.  Well, maybe a bit.  Ok, I really do feel badly.   But life's hard here in the Ozarks.  Especially when the resident homesteader is hot, sweaty and generally in a pissy mood.


  1. It's always something! We are having a bad mice, wasp, and yellow jacket year here in the PNW. The yellow jackets are so big and fat they look like they're on steroids and they just won't leave you alone. I can sympathize with your plight! Go get 'em!

  2. Oh My Gross about the snake. Any snake here, if my husband isn't here to save it, gets chopped in two, or three or four (it is good to make sure it is really truly dead). Don't like them, no way, no how.

  3. Caught me a big black snake,too...he got in thru the chicken wire but after pigging down an egg his bulge didn't let him get back out so he was stuck in my fence!!! When we first moved to this central MO homestead the house hadn't been lived in for several years and we were plagued with wasps...ever seen how fast an old lady can shuck her jeans (newly dried on the line and pulled on to go to town) with wasps lurking in the pant leg???

  4. Boy, I was afraid to read this post, given the title. And given your hot, droughty weather. And well I should have been, I see (afraid, that is). I am counting my lucky stars that I am not a mousie, snakie or waspie in your particular neck of the Ozarks right now.

  5. You really need a couple of days of drenching rain, m'dear. You really do. You would feel much better. (Although I'm not blaming you one little itty bit for dispatching any of those rasty critters/insects that you did.)

  6. Hey you gotta do what you gotta do. Now go play in a sprinkler and cool off!

  7. On the bright side I'm sure the "fried black snake" with spinach and cabbage was a bit more tasty than the suicidal squirrel!

  8. Hey, the heat will make anyone pissy. Today we had a lovely break from the heat and I kept saying how lovely it is outside. Hubby kept saying he is happy that it is "lovely" as well, but mostly he's happy I'm not so pissy and bi***y because of it!

    Kill em all I say! It is up to us to keep those eggs and chicks safe, not to mention their food. I swear I saw a mouse around my chicken food the other day. If I didn't have a crap ton of homework this weekend, I would be all over cleaning out my garage. Also, not to mention saving our hides from bee stings. I got one just the other day, right in the side of my neck. It totally sucked!

  9. This is shaping up to be one trying year! Good luck with all the vermin eradicating, you have to protect what's yours! So are you standing on the porch with a shotgun yet yelling "Get off my LAND!"? LOL...

  10. Rose, really, exactly WHAT purpose do yellow jackets serve? Besides pissing me off.

    The Family, better make it an even six-pack pieces of snake; you can never be too sure, right? :)

    Diana, OUCH! I can't imagine how bad that must have hurt....and how funny it must have looked, sorry! :) I'm very, very careful now when shaking out the laundry on the line, but sometimes they really hide in there. Like, what are you DOING in there???

    Susan, I'm telling you, this heat / drought is making me very, very cranky. Not good to be on my bad side right now.

    Mama Pea, I'm about to cry it's so crunchy here. I can't imagine what we'd do without the well water to water the fruit trees and garden. The garden I could stand to lose, but all those fruit trees would be a disaster.

    Nancy, the sprinkler sounds fun...except the ground is so dry, it's dust, so then the water just makes the front yard a big ol' mud puddle.

    Chai Chai, you know, that actually sounds kind'a good. I've never eaten snake before. He probably would have made a nice meal if I actually knew how to prepare one.

    Tiny, all I can say is "Frekking OUCH"!!

    Erin, funny you should say that as Paul just threatened to get me on film when I go running outside flailing my arms and screaming obscenities at the chickens in the garden. It's more like "GET OUT OF HERE YOU *&^$#!@ CHICKENS!!!!"

  11. I think they do remember and come back for eggs....then there are the terrapins that I can see coming down the road toward my garden about the time the tomatoes ripen....I bet they are the same ones too.

    I keep a can of spray around for wasps. I swell up like a balloon if stung.

  12. For next time....

    I can't wait to read that blog post!

  13. I noticed a snake "track" leading away from (or towards?) the barn yesterday afternoon. I sure hope it's a gopher snake or a racer and NOT a stinkin' rattlesnake! We had the chicken scratch in a big plastic trash can until the mice actually chewed a hole in the bottom to get to it! I was very surprised that they could do that!
    Good luck on your varmint eradication program and I hope ya'll get some relief from the heat and drought!

  14. Metal trash cans with bungee cords to hold lids down is the only way to elude hungry critters.....Well, maybe Mr. Bear who came last summer and destroyed our 11 colonies of bees could have gotten them open. Fortunately first...and hopefully last...bear we'll see here on our Ozark homestead.