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Our new friend.

It’s not often that Claire is scared by things so when she comes running to me, crying and whimpering, I take her seriously. Yesterday, she asked to go outside to the playground and retrieve a ring she’d left near the swings. I gave her permission and about two minutes later, she was back at my side, trembling and telling me not to go out. When I asked why, she didn’t mince words: “There’s a long snake out there.” I got right up and went to investigate.

In two years of living in Indiana, we’d had yet to see a snake. I thought they’d be incredibly prolific with all the forested areas they could hunt and hide or the fairly temperate climate. Really, there probably are a lot of snakes and for those reasons, they’re rarely seen. As much as I love animals, it’s always a little unnerving moving to a new rural area because there are new critters to learn about. Thankfully, most are benign but there’s always the chance they’re not.

Watching each other.

Claire showed me where she’d seen the snake and sure enough, a surprisingly lengthy constrictor lay motionless in the grass. After some research, we’ve decided she was a black rat snake, thankfully not poisonous but with the potential to be aggressive nonetheless. Our visitor though, did little more than lay motionless and when we stuck it in a bucket, surprised us as she faked a rattling noise by flicking her tail against dry leaves.

For how slender the snake was, she was surprisingly long–about two feet or so!

Eventually, our snake escaped the bucket and wriggled behind some bricks. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see her around again but because she’s A) not poisonous and B) eats mice, C) cool to look at and D) the girls know to ask before picking up snakes, she’s welcome any time.

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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