Follow along with our young family's rehomesteading adventures!
Close this search box.

Way back when Evelyn was a youngster (honestly, we were all baby-faced), her first experience with snakes was… Awkward? Terrifying? Hilarious? Probably a little bit of all of it. As an animal lover, I have tried to teach our kids to love animals, or at the very least, have an interest in their existence. So, on our tiny hobby farm in Iowa, when a garter snake slithered through our yard, I naturally grabbed it and showed it to Evelyn and Claire. Claire was too interested in the cat door we’d recently installed, sure she could fit through it as easily as the cats. But Evelyn? She jumped and clapped her hands and asked if she could hold it. Why not? I thought. She’ll love it!

I guarantee not many people have been kissed by a snake. While the photo was rather incredible, it was little solace to Evelyn. A garter snake’s teeth are about as harmful as a rough cat’s tongue, yet Evelyn was hurt. Hurt that her friend bit her when she was just trying to be friendly.
Pucker up, Evelyn!

It probably goes without saying that Evelyn’s snake kiss left her wary of serpents. Not screaming and hyperventilating when they’d show up, but she’d definitely give them the side eye when we’d find one, and politely pass on holding it.

Spot the snake!

Fast forward a decade and a half, and we’ve found in our relocation to Indiana, there are a lot more species of snakes, and aside from the midland water snakes, which live in our pond, we rarely see any snakes.

Jack loves me SO MUCH that he’ll traipse all around our property to find me so he can show me the snakes he’s caught.
The first midland water snakes we saw gave us a surprise and initially, we were concerned that we had cottonmouths. I find venomous snakes fascinating–that doesn’t mean I want them living where we live. After a little research, we discovered that the midland water snakes aren’t venomous–still doesn’t mean I want them living in our pond. They are rather feisty when caught, smell horrible, eat everything from fish to baby turtles to frogs (thus impeding my goal of catching a bullfrog), and in general, make our guests uncomfortable. There is something unnerving about watching a snake glide past you while on the water.
Aww! A baby!
When we catch any midland water snakes, they’re banished to the back of our property, where the forest is wild and they’re less likely to cause a problem. Despite our snake relocation project, there are still plenty of them. The same day Jack brought in the bullfrog for me, he also found a tiny baby midland water snake wandering through the orchard. Either he was lost or was looking to move out of his parents’ domain. Either way, he was an easy catch.
When Evelyn discovered the rather handsome critter (yes, snakes are sleek and handsome if a person gets close enough to look–they’re a marvel of nature!), she surprised me by asking if she could hold the snake. I smirked. This was the opportunity she needed to make peace with snakes. She still remembers that horrifying kiss from the garter snake, but the baby midland water snake gave her an opportunity to start fresh. After a few wiggles and nervous tongue flicks, the snake took a liking to being handled by her to the point it would curl up in her hand.
Evelyn’s new friend.
I don’t think she’s going to pick up snake charming as a profession or ask for a ball python for her birthday, but the willingness to hold one again is proof that fears don’t have to last forever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Us

Our budding family

Welcome to the farm!

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

We Believe


Subscribe to Our New Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.