Snakes, Coincidences and (very foolish promises of) Swiss Rolls

The Snake(s) Incident

What’s worse than a snake sitting on your front door step?  Two snakes sitting on your front door step…

Arriving home with the kids and hubby the other day, I was less than impressed to see, at the end of our driveway, what appeared to be an enormously long snake rearing up and attempting to enter the house through our garage door.

Hubby jumped out of the car and (much to my alarm) went a little closer to assess the situation.  “Uh, actually there are  two snakes,” he yelled back to me.  Oh great. Now there were two snakes.  Suddenly I had visions of more and more snakes dropping out of the trees and garden beds in front of our door like something from ‘Snakes on a Plane’ (that movie may haunt me forever).  Thankfully a few minutes passed and no more snakes appeared on the scene.

“What colour are they?” I yelled out to hubby.  In general in our area black snakes = bad (i.e. venomous) and brown snakes = really, really bad (i.e. can kill an adult in fifteen minutes).  To get technical, snake identification is really only something that can be done accurately by an expert.  It’s a complicated science; there are brown tree snakes that are brown in colour but only mildly poisonous, on the other hand, the very lethal Eastern Brown Snake can appear orange or even have stripes.  As there’s no easy fail-safe way of knowing which snake is venomous and which is not, the safest approach is to treat all snakes as potentially deadly.  That being said, if the snakes looked brown, I wanted to know.

“They’re both brown,”  hubby yelled back.  I frowned.  Brown.  That’d be right.  “Well, brownish,” he continued.  “Maybe brown-grey.  It’s hard to tell.”

It was a weird sort of coincidence actually, as only a week beforehand I’d had a wonderful morning tea with a local who’d mentioned they’d had two brown snakes at the front of their property.  I, being terrified of snakes, was of course suitably horrified.  Lo and behold, only a week later, there I was in the exact same position.  (And, no, I did not stop to take a photo! So instead you get a calming view of the sky and hills at our place…ah, bliss)

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It’s views like this that (somewhat) make up for the anxiety of living with venomous snakes.

 

Rewind to a couple of months ago…After witnessing a black snake squeezing through an impossibly tight gap to access our brooder (chick raising cage), I’d begun questioning just how snake-proof our own house was.  When we moved in we’d had full security screens installed on every window and door.  The only apparent chink in our armour was the garage door.  As it was an old style roller door, the garage door had a series of gaps down either side and one long gap at the top.  I had this funny paranoid feeling that snakes might like to enter the house through the gaps in the side, so I arranged to have the whole door removed and a glass door installed.   Turns out I may have been right.  (Possible new career: fortune teller 😉 ).  All I could think as I sat in the car watching the snake try repeatedly to gain entry to the house through the glass door was, “That new door just paid for itself.”

Anyway…Hubby was keen to keep a watchful eye on the snakes (from a distance) while I took the kids round the loooooong way to the back of the house.  As I opened the car door, the biggest snake took off at super speed and disappeared into a gap in our retaining wall.  The second snake stayed put.  The kids and I made it inside the house via the back door without any further drama.  Hubby eventually joined us inside just on dark when he was as certain as he could be that both snakes were no longer an immediate danger.

Note: It’s illegal to kill snakes here in Australia, so that means your options for dealing with them legally are somewhat limited.  You can call a snake catcher who will remove the snake and relocate it, but most snake catchers are based in the city and by the time they arrive your snake will most likely have moved on.  The fact of the matter is that living in the country in Australia means living with snakes, some of which are venomous.  One of these days I might get used to that fact, but at the moment, especially with children, that thought will continue to torment me.

The Swiss Roll Incident (AKA: Why You Should Never Promise Your Child Anything Before You Know What You’re Getting Into)

I was feeling a little guilty the other day as one of my young ones was upset due to the ongoing “healthy” state of her lunchbox.  According to said young one “everyone else” gets biscuits and cakes “every day.”  And while I was pretty sure “everyone else” meant “a few kids” and “every day” probably meant “a couple of times a week,” I still felt somewhat guilted.  I try to feed my kids pretty healthily, but I also try to include “sometimes” foods (sometimes) in the hopes they’ll learn moderation and balance rather than rebel and eat every chocolate biscuit they see once they move out of home.  Some weeks I’m better at this than others!

Anyway…I figured if I was sending something sweet to school it’d be better if it was homemade, so I grabbed a cookbook off the shelf and gave it to the upset young one.  It was a basic kind of cookbook, nothing too fancy, just some old-fashioned cakes and biscuits.  Surely nothing too complicated.  “Here,” I said.  “Pick something and we’ll cook it for your lunchbox.”  The young one eyed the cookbook and began flicking through the pages.  “Anything?” she enquired hesitantly peering at the photos of the biscuits and cakes.  “Sure!” I replied breezily, only half paying attention as I stirred some Bolognese sauce while trying to keep the toddler out of the cupboards.  “Anything!”  Somewhere in the back of my mind I registered a strange sinking feeling…

About twenty minutes went by and the young one returned.  “I’ve decided which one I’m having!” she announced.  “Wha?” I replied, already having moved on mentally to the serving of dinner.  What was she talking about?  I looked at the book in her hands – the sinking feeling returned.  Oh, I’d promised to cook something with her.  Then I saw the page it was opened at….Chocolate Swiss Roll!  Nooooooooooo…

An intelligent parent would’ve backpedalled and convinced their child that they’d really like a nice (easy) jam drop biscuit.  Me?  Of course not.  A promise is a promise after all (Aargh! Why do I do these things to myself?).  So once dinner was done and the toddler was put to bed we (small child, sibling and I) began cooking Swiss Roll.  Ok, so it wasn’t the world’s best Swiss Roll, but it was a Swiss Roll nonetheless.  Promise kept.  (Note to self: never make foolish promises to children in future).

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The Swiss Roll we baked (complete with whipped local jersey cream and organic strawberry jam).  May be a bit rough-looking but it tasted pretty good 🙂

 

Happy rest-of-the-week to you 🙂

Julie.

 

10 thoughts on “Snakes, Coincidences and (very foolish promises of) Swiss Rolls

    1. You don’t get venomous snakes? Oh how I envy you! But then again, those bears….Hm, I don’t know…I think a bear would definitely freak me out, even if it’s meant to be one of the less-threatening-to-humans varieties. We really do live in very different worlds. I couldn’t imagine a bear just wandering around outside! Only bears around here are the teddy bear variety 🙂 Not even any koalas.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yikes! That is nuts! I cannot imagine how creepy it must be having snakes like that around the house. And not being able to kill them either! You are an absolute genius for changing the garage door. In fact, I think you deserve a… Swiss roll. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol! Thanks, Twiglet 🙂 Should’ve made two of those Swiss rolls…Yep it is a bit creepy knowing venomous snakes are out there somewhere. Can’t believe you don’t have them in your neck of the woods! But then again you guys have got some pretty difficult natural disasters to contend with. Nowhere is without its challenges it seems :/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, there are always challenges wherever you are. I am very grateful that we don’t have any scary wild animals here. When we went on school camps as kids the scariest thing we faced in the bush was wild pigs. Not that we ever faced them, but people told stories. There was a story about an escaped orangutan on one camp too. It’s amazing what the imagination does when you’re in the bush in the dark haha. 😛 Especially when the leaders drop you off at points along a trail where you are alone and have to sit there alone in the pitch dark, with nothing to do (no cell phones) but listen to rustlings in the bush, until they come back to get you. I don’t suppose people do that where there are dangerous animals…

        We often sigh at the tight border restrictions (getting any new chicken breeds here is probably not going to happen any time soon as there are substantial protocols to follow plus a huge expense) but it is those restrictions that keep nasty things like snakes out of NZ. Maybe you should have made three Swiss rolls coz I think I need one too! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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