Snakes and Ladders

I  have no idea why yesterdays blog post went AWAL. I also have no way to retrieve it. Life is a strange and interesting place.

Plus on top of that, yesterday,  we lost internet for quite some time. But I have it back up now at 9.15 am and so am taking a minute out of the gardening and building day to get you all back up to date. We were working hard outside all morning – working on Poppy’s farrowing pen and look what Kim found.


Kim tells me this is a rat snake.  We are not sure of the exact species.  But he toddled about in her arms for quite some time rattling his pretend tail.



Even the snakes smile on the farmy.


The birds are fine, but will remain in solitary splendour for a week or so.

Tane on the other hand is even slower now. He gets up when encouraged, eats and drinks then moves very slowly to another space and heaves himself back down for another sleep. Naturally the Vet is not in his rooms today so he will be going for a check up tomorrow.

I hope you have a lovely day,  I am off around to the West Barn to collect a ladder for the goats. I am going to train them to run up and down ladders – something I am sure I will live to regret.

Kim and Fede send their love and Berit is on his way.

Love your friend on the farmy,


52 Comments on “Snakes and Ladders

  1. Phew! So glad it was not just me lol.
    Poor Tane, I have everything crossed that he is just feeling too hot (or maybe he just exhausted himself with too much jiggy jig?).

  2. So glad you are back! I was worried. I know I shouldn’t have been.

    I would say your scaly friend belongs to the genus Pituophis. My best guess is a bull snake, but gopher snakes and pine snakes are very similar, and I don’t have the skills to differentiate yet. They are fun. All are drama queens – lots of hissing and tail rattling, sometimes nose-bumping, too. Never been bitten by one, though.

    Hope Tane finds a way to get comfortable in the heat!

    • We do have bull snakes so maybe it is a younger version? there was tail rattling too, very funny, We tied Boo up and took it back out into the field to release it.. then later she found a garter snake but i was in the barn and missed out on that one.. c

  3. I thought we had lost you! What a beautiful snake. Poor tane let’s hope he’s just overexcerted himself in the romance department. Have a lovely day x

  4. I’m very glad to see you back and to hear that the birds are fine.
    That’s a nice looking snake – I found a diamondback rattler while gardening once and literally jumped about 6 feet backwards involuntarily. I wanted to watch it for a while, but when the cat got interested I helped it move to the vacant lot next door, with a long garden fork.
    Poor Tane – it sounds like he put his life and soul into his special purpose 😉

  5. I’ve been worrying myself silly about you since your disappearance yesterday from the blogosphere. I’m so glad it was only a blip – I can’t function without my daily dose of farmy news and views.

    That snake would scare the bejasus out of me – Kim is very brave.

    I am positive you will regret teaching the goatlets to climb ladders. I can see them now in the loft pestering the peacocks!

    • I’m with Viv. Found myself checking and checking to see if you and birds are alright! So glad you’re all fine. Biggest hugs. Such a relief 😀

  6. Glad you are back up and running, I was worried that your blog was hacked although I could access the previous days page. We do not have snakes in Ireland (unless you count politicians! ;P ), so I would not be happy with handling them. Do they tickle?

    Are Kim and Fede still at the farmy or have they returned from whence they came? We will miss their presence each day. Maybe Tane was a little young for all the excessive excitement! Take care.

    • Hi Grannymar! I’m an American 10 years now in Mayo, and know way too much about snakes. They are cool and dry, and do tickle if you let them wind around you wherever they want to! Being cold blooded they seek warmth, so your – ahem – cleavage is a tempting spot for them 🙂 I brought over a snake when I moved here, sadly he died, but I did so enjoy educating my Irish friends about snakes.

      • Hi Spiders, I was curious about the snakes, I only ever saw them in Dublin Zoo when I was young, I never wanted to touch them. Good to hear they seek warmth, that means I am safe! I am a very cold creature even in summertime my temperature is about 35C and often drops to 32C.

        • Oh wow! Maybe I liked them because I run hot 🙂 Snakes aren’t affectionate like cats or dogs or even pigs and rats, but they do like heat! I wish I could afford to get another one here, I did change a lot of minds. Worst comment I ever heard after someone touched my live snake the first time: ‘oh, it feels like an expensive pair of shoes!’ Augh!

  7. God help us! A rat snake. I must say that Kim is one brave lady. I’m glad to hear the peahens are all okay. I hated to read about drooping wings.
    But now, what about Tane? Oh I hope he’s just tired and nothing more. I know what you mean about the frustration of the vet not being there when you need him/her. My cat must know Sat./Sun is get sick time.

  8. oh help!!! you wouldn’t find me holding that horrible thing!! I’d be jumping over the moon!! so back you’re internet is up again ~ that’s enough to drive one crazy!!!
    have a better weekend Celi!!!

  9. Glad all is well and hope Tane is just recovering from his amorous binge. So funny, that snake does look like he’s smiling. No snake I’ve ever found was smiling. Happy weekend!

  10. Snakes scare me stiff as a poker. Truly. Stiff. My mother does the same, so perhaps it’s a genetic thing. Good afternoon to you all. xx

    • I had to smile when i read this as it sounds as though your Mother scares you as stiff as a poker…..but i know what you mean..I do not like them either

  11. I’ve learned to respect snakes here since they keep rodents under control, and since we have both venomous and non-venomous I keep a keen eye on what I’m dealing with. I used to scream and run. Now I just gasp and then shoo the snake away from where I’m working. That is indeed a rat snake you have. If they get in the chicken coop they’ll keep returning for eggs. Best to haul it off a few miles down the road in that case. Did you know the snake is the sign of healing and energy? Yes, so I take it as a good sign that it has made an appearance!

  12. Illinois has a lot of rat snakes. They are really good to have around the farm because they help keep farms cleared of mice and rats.

    I hope Tane is okay. Of course he was more active than usual a couple days ago, so maybe he’s still recovering 🙂

  13. Yes, you and the Farmy life have both been missed by us all – glad that everything is ok. I was worried a bit yesterday to read the first lines as you mentioned kind of a thing with the flock, but there was no getting in. So all is great so far. – Kim is indeed courageous… so the snake must be one of a non-venomous kind, isn’t it? I would not dare touching it…
    Have a nice day on the Farm!

    P.S.: I have your Shepherd’s Pie in the oven…. smells yum!

  14. Snakes scare me enough to start screaming. We have rattlesnakes in the mountains and they can kill you.

  15. Glad you are back up and running
    I have 2black racers and at least one Gardner in my tiny garden. Have asked the neighbors not to kill them.
    My rule of thumb with snakes-long and skinny safe to have around. Fat,think,chunky keep away.
    All but one poison snakes around here are fat and chunky looking. Only the coral is thin but it’s color Id’s it

  16. yes we all seem to thnk that Tame overdid his amourous advances which is why he is not up to scratch now and did you not say there was a smile on Tune’s face..thats’ the answer..too much.
    Seriously I hope that he will be ok….and as for that snake….I AM GONE!!!!!

  17. He He, you do realise you send the whole world into a panic when you miss a post? Hope the birds don’t develop any of those nasty symptoms. I would have to walk wide circles around Kim if she is going to continue being a snake magnet 🙂 Glad all ok on our special farmy. Laura

  18. Glad you have returned Miss C. Tane seems to be showing the same lethargy as Tima did a few weeks ago…a piggy virus perhaps, if those things exist…

  19. I once asked a herpetologist friend how to tell if a snake was not venomous & he said “Not if they have round instead of slit pupils.” I’d never get close enough to see the pupils of their eyes, but we can clearly observe in your photo that this is a good round-eyed fellow. And will continue to do good work in the field for you. Brave Kim! So glad you are back up online. It was worrisome.

  20. Poor little Tane! I love rat snakes and I bet a large rat snake would love to eat a bastard mink!!! Even a large bull snake could….

  21. Kim is a fearless snake wrangler, but it’s obvious from the state of her gloves and arms that she’s no slouch in other departments too! Goats up laders… asking for trouble, but the potential for wonderful photos cannot be ignored!

  22. We just found last week a similar looking snake on your porch, well just similar, we thought it was a bull snake. Great post anyway, thanks. Greetings from one C to the other 🙂

  23. Happy to see you back, and I hope all, feathered and porcine are coming along and getting better. I think Kim’s snake handling talents and the pics are excellent. I used to be terrified of snakes now I’m slightly less terrified with a mix of admiring and fascinated. The rat snake is a handsome specimen. Goats on ladders… I’m sure they’ll oblige 🙂

  24. I’d be vying with Kim to hold that beauty. We have a lot of snakes here… my yard in particular and Oz in general, some harmless tree snakes and others quite deadly. All you snakeophobes, it’s best to stand still and quiet until they slither away, they respond to vibrations and will have a go, some here have been known to chase people as they run off. I always carry a pressure bandage when I’m out walking or in the garden, and tie the legs of my jeans….just a precaution. I was at a friend’s yesterday and we were sitting on the deck, and a movement, slight sound caused us to look up, and there above us was the fattest, most beautifully marked tree snake, beautiful greeny-gold diamonds glinting in the sun, stretched out along the whole length of the rafter and enjoying the sun through the clear roof. The big bulge in it’s mid section told us it had recently eaten, so we stayed where we were, drinking tea and eating cake, that snake was lethargic and busy digesting it’s dinner and wasn’t going anywhere.

  25. As an Australian I can’t imagine finding safe-to-handle snakes on the farm! All the snakes we had in my farm days were venomous! I admire them from a distance. 🙂

  26. So glad Berit could help you today! I would love to come with him next time! Hope all went well.
    xo Merridee

  27. Thanks to ‘Zazamataz’ have now actually read yesterday’s missive – great! My IT knowledge does not reach as far tho’ I did try to ‘enter’ thru’ the previous post! Snakes – do not like them and just hope all the Illinois ones are not poisonous!! Do hope that all the ‘fun comments’ re Tane’s amorous satisfactions are true and he is not a male spider in hiding who has to pass away after he has procreated !!!! Not funny!!!!!! So Kim/Fede will be Kim/Berit by Sunday . . . . good bye with our love and welcome also thus . . .

  28. I really miss seeing snakes. Hawaii has none. Rat snakes can be iffy – some seem friendly enough, and others a bit smelly and nasty (like garter snakes). As I was born in the year of the Snake, I’ve always either had them as pets or held a fascination for this much misunderstood reptile. Some people think snakes are out to get them, but their fears are a much worse foe than the private reclusive snake. Scare one and yes, if they have venom, they will use it. But they don’t walk into churches and strike 9 people dead now, do they? We are by far the scariest species, at least to me. Aloha, C.

  29. Now why would you want to teach goats to climb ladders? Or are you just kidding? (sorry about the pun)

  30. You don’t need to “teach” a goat to climb a ladder. Just give them a ladder going from Point A to Point B. But honestly? I can’t see this ending well. Seriously.

  31. Glad the peahens are OK. Oh, dear, goats and a ladder! Feel better soon, Tane!

  32. I know you’ve probably long since moved on, but I wanted to chime in quickly to ID the snake for you. It is indeed a ratsnake – specifically, it’s a foxsnake. If you’re west of the Mississippi River it’s a western foxsnake (Pantherophis ramspotti), and if you’re east, it’s an eastern foxsnake (Pantherophis vulpinus). Harmless snakes that are beneficial to have around the garden. Thanks for sharing your interaction in a positive light. They really are very pretty snakes!

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