Our five-year-old granddaughter Avery has been staying with us for several days, and a couple of days ago, with the temperatures in the 90s and the Mississippi heat index hitting 108, Avery's thoughts turned to her little plastic swimming pool that she's used at our house for the past couple of summers. After listening for several hours to her pleading (as only a five-year-old can plead), to pleeeeeease get her pool out, she and I went to the attic (which probably had a heat index of 208!)and, after searching for a few minutes, finally found the pool. That was the easy part.
Next, we had to find the electric air pump and then sat for about 30 minutes in the 108-degree-heat-index-afternoon "blowing up the pool" -- all three rings! I did find some shade, though, and sat on the step at our front doors, as shown in the picture below.
I know you're probably wondering, "Why is she showing us a picture of her front doors?" Well, there is a reason. Read on ...
After we finished blowing up the pool, I placed it about 12 feet from the front doors and filled it with the hose. The cold water didn't phase Avery, and while she was happily splashing and playing, I was happily taking about 200 pictures of her, and thinking it was worth enduring the heat and discomfort while blowing the pool up just to see her sweet little face beaming with delight in her "swimming pool."
After a while, I decided to look at the pictures on my camera and went over to our porch to sit in the shade. In a couple of minutes, I heard a "plopping" sound over by the front doors, and looked at Avery and said, "What was that??" She turned around and looked toward the front doors and matter-of-factly said, "It's a snake." I sprang from my chair and, sure enough, it was a snake, a brown one, about 2-1/2 feet long and 1-1/2" around, which had dropped out of the vine and was swiftly slithering into the flowerbed and out of sight.
This picture shows how close the snake was to Avery's pool (she was in the pool when it dropped, thank goodness!) ...
I got Avery out of the pool and told her to go over by the porch and stay there. I then tried to see if the snake was still in the flowerbed, but it was nowhere to be seen. I don't know what I would have done if it had still been there, but I felt compelled to at least try to keep track of it.
About that time, my husband came home and, after hearing what happened, got a kaiser blade and tried to find the snake in the pine straw in the flowerbeds along the path leading from the front of the house to the backyard. By then, the snake was probably long gone.
Of course, I was upset while all of this was going on, but I was even more upset afterward, when I thought about the snake being in the Confederate Jasmine vine around our front doors all that time Avery and I were sitting there blowing up the pool. Avery was constantly up and down, and it could have dropped on us just as easily as it dropped to the ground. Not to mention, I had to go through a flowerbed right beside the doors to get the hose, and went back and forth several times adjusting the water.
Thankfully, Avery didn't seem to be upset by it, but I think it will be a long time before I'm really comfortable working in my flowerbeds again, or even just walking around our yard.
There are some woods behind our house, and we have a waterfall and pond which has frogs in it, so I guess the snakes are attracted to our yard because of the frogs. This was the third encounter we've had with a snake this year (the first time for me), and I contacted the animal control department in Vicksburg to see if there's anything we can do. They are supposed to come "check it out," so we shall see. In the meantime, every time I think about what happened, I thank the good Lord for watching over Avery and me and keeping that snake up in that vine while we were sitting under it ... and I can't help but question the wisdom of having that vine around the front doors ... even if it is one of my favorite landscape features.
Oh, in all the excitement, I almost forgot ... my pictures! No, I'm not going to share all 200 of them, but here are a few of my favorites. These were taken before our encounter with the snake.
I can see a glimpse of her little "babyish" self in this one ...
I hope you will remember this story this summer when you are working or playing in your yard, especially with little ones. Although we weren't really in any danger at the time, it could have been so much worse ... and, if any good came out of it, I will certainly be more vigilant and cautious from now on when I'm outside.