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.