For several weeks now our cat has been acting like there was some sort of critter on the back porch. To be honest, Dale and I thought it was probably a mouse or a mole but we haven't seen any evidence other than the cat sniffing around. Of course with all the crap on the porch it's entirely possible there's a dead body out there and no one would know it.
I guess you have to see the porch to know exactly what I'm talking about. Gotcha! There's no way I'm showing a photo but I will try to describe the hell-hole that it is. First, we've always had a problem with it leaking whenever it rained. Not a leak through the roof but from the ground, water seeps in from the patio on one side and the yard on the other side and the back. Originally it only leaked when we experienced a real hard rain. And then the youth group from church descended on our house one Friday morning and did an extreme makeover by painting the outside of the house. In the process of painting they discovered the gutters in the back were in really bad shape and pulled them all off. Unfortunately it wasn't in the budget (ours or theirs) to replace them so we were left gutter-less, leading to more runoff seeping onto the back porch. The following year we were forced to have the backyard dug up in order to replace the septic drain field. In doing so an incline was created that led to ... you guessed it, even more runoff that flows down the hill and directly into the porch every. single. time. it. rains. And now, it's not just water coming but dirt and debris from the yard. To add insult to injury, once the water dries up we're left with mud (Georgia red clay) that eventually dries up and becomes hard as a rock, that is until the next rain comes and starts the vicious cycle all over again.
oops, yes I've now shown you how nasty the porch is after a week of rain.
So, the water problem in and of itself creates for a not-so-attractive back porch. It's actually only the tip of the iceberg. To be perfectly honest, our back porch looks like something straight out of Sanford and Son. It hasn't always been like this. Once upon a time there was a porch swing and a table with chairs. We could actually sit out there and entertain guests. However somewhere along the way it became a dumping ground for stuff. For instance when the boys started growing the kitchen/dining chairs started breaking. Instead of doing what a normal person would do - put 'em out on the street for the trash collectors to pick up - they got stacked on the back porch. When there was no longer room in the house for a metal filing cabinet, it joined the chairs on the porch. Along with all that are 500 pairs of lawn mowing shoes, a couple of skateboards, various pieces of sports equipment, a broken vacuum cleaner, a collection of rakes, shovels, and other lawn paraphernalia, a grill, and a pallet of 40 lb bags of wood pellets. Yes, we are Sanford and Son. Do you see now what I mean about unseen dead bodies?
Anywho, back to the main story of a critter on the back porch. Spunky had been sniffing around the porch for awhile, concentrating on the pallet of pellets ... until Monday when she started going spastic around the grill. She was stalking that thing like a lion stalks prey. I had to literally pick her up to get her in the house that night. It was then that the "S" word came up. Dale asked me if I thought there could be a snake in the grill. You might think that's an odd thing to wonder but you see, once upon a time there WAS a snake in the grill. I scoffed at the idea of lightening hitting twice but bravely lifted the lid just to reassure myself. There was nothing in the grill so I drug the cat inside and forgot about it.
Yesterday morning I was sitting at my desk working at the computer. We are experiencing unseasonably warm weather right now so I had the door to the porch open which gave me a clear view of the patio. I noticed the cat appeared to have captured something and thought "great, she's routed out the critter!" I went out to inspect and much to my utter dismay discovered the "critter" was not a mouse or mole but was in fact two snakes! I don't think she actually routed them from the porch but rather they had slithered out to bask in the warmth of the sun on the hot pavement. Well, they weren't exactly basking when I got out there because they were tightly coiled with their heads reared in attack mode as the cat tentatively reached out her paw to batter the prey. At this point I lost my resolve and shrieked at her. She jumped back but never took her eyes off the snake. And then she proceeded to poke at the snake again.
Stubborn cat! I grabbed the closed thing to me which happened to be the pooper scooper we had for cleaning out the dog's landmines from the backyard. We have been dog-less since early fall but we still have the scooper because we, you know, never throw anything away. Anyway, I grabbed the scooper and started poking at the cat to get her away from the snakes. She reluctantly moved about six inches away. At that point I turned my attention to the snakes who were now uncoiled and appear to be ready to slither away. I knew then I was going to have to kill those suckers 'cause there was no way I could sleep at night knowing there are live snakes right outside my house. I knew the way to kill a snake is to cut its head off so I quickly chopped down on first one head and then the other.
This action did not have the anticipated outcome. First of all, pooper-scoopers are not the sturdiest of tools. It did not sever the head from the body and in fact all it did was piss off the snakes. They both starting lunging at me causing me to scream and the cat to pounce. I then tried to scoop up the snakes to get them away from the cat but instead ended up flipping one of them in the air. This brought on more shrieks which momentarily frightened the cat away. Seizing the moment, I tossed the scooper and reached for a shovel, thanking God for that massive collection of yard tools on the porch. I then proceeded to chop the snakes heads off.
Chopping off the heads of snakes is not as easy it looks. I must have chopped down on each one in about six or seven spots but never once seemed to cut all the way through their bodies. After each chop I looked down and those suckers were still twitching which only enticed the cat to come back and play. I kept yelling at her to get away and she would only glare at me and pretend to walk away. I whacked each one again and thought surely they must be dead by now.
At this point I guess most people would have gotten the scooper back out and tossed the snakes over the fence. I'm not most people. I wanted to save their carcasses for my husband and Eddie to see. I could take a picture but I wanted actual physical proof that I battled real snakes and lived to tell the tale. I knew there was no way I could leave the snakes on the patio all afternoon and the cat would leave them alone. Being ever resourceful, and taking advantage of the crap on the porch, I found a clothes basket which I placed over the newly departed.
I went inside to get my phone so I could take a photo and send it to my husband. (I love freaking him out with this stuff!) When I come back outside there's that darn cat with her paw poking the snake through the holes in the basket. I shoo her off again and remove the basket to take the photo. Imagine my surprise when I discover that one of those snake is still not dead. It's mouth is opening and closing. I swore (yes I said a bad word) and then I looked at the second snake and saw that his tail was still twitching. I took an action shot with my camera and then got the shovel and gave them both two more chops. I think I also yelled something like "die you devil, die!" I placed the basket back on top of the snakes and returned to the house. I stood at the kitchen window watching and sure enough Spunky came back to the snakes and started poking at them again. Exasperated I finally brought her inside and told her she's going into timeout.
I posted a photo of the snakes on Facebook and one of my friends put a horrible thought in my head. She said " Oh yowza! Is it a whole nest of them?? " and now I was absolutely freaked out. Could there be more? ACK!!
When Dale got home from work we pulled the grill out and checked for snakes. We moved the pallet of pellets off the porch and into the garage (after thoroughly shaking each bag off!). This weekend we want to finishing the purging and completely clean off the porch. In addition we make actually tear out the walls of the porch. They're half rotten from all the moisture and the screens have several holes in them from back when Boo was living with us (he did not take well to being kept from the great outdoors).
|gosh I miss this cat!|