Friday, July 27, 2012


While clearing the brush and getting the property ready for renovating, we spent a fair amount of time clearing away misc. stuff that was left on the farm. Most of the stuff was worthless pieces of junk that at one time had had a purpose, but was now good for only one thing and that was to be tossed.  We gave away the old appliances and scrap metal, and a guy came and hauled away what was left of an old Willy's Jeep that was hanging around outside the buildings.

We also cleared out 2 of the 5 outbuildings on our property so that they could be used for storing building materials and such.  The buildings (except the barn... a story for another day) were typical farm buildings, filled with misc. plumbing parts, old lawnmower pieces, a couple of worn-out motors and transmissions, pieces of rotted wood, old bottles and mostly pure-old junk.

We had a 42 ft. waste disposal dumpster brought in and Karl and I would sit (usually on an upside-down 5-gallon bucket) and pick through the stuff.  What could be recycled was recycled, what could be given away was given away, what could be burned was burned, and the rest hit the dumpster.
Some of the old stuff we found turned out to be quite cool.  We found a box that was full of old flower seeds (some of which we have already planted, the rest for future use).  There were lots of old glass bottles and such.  We kept a few of them and gave away or tossed the rest.  The one's we cleaned up are one's we plan to use in the house when we are finished with it.

They are a part of the farm's history: A long time ago, the people who lived in this house actually used them.

Now, while all this work was being done, we were living in this fabulous apartment in downtown Floyd.  A normal day (except Sundays) would consist of getting up, having coffee, stopping at the local hardware or lumber yard for supplies, a MUST stop at either Hardees or the Floyd Express Market for a "to-go" breakfast, and then driving to the house (approx. 10 miles from our apartment) to spend the day.

During this time I had a cast on my right wrist (from surgery), so for me the work was slow going. But... every day was a new adventure. While growing up on a farm, I loved going through old junk piles or finding old bottles (hey... I was dumpster diving before dumpsters were even thought of where we lived.).  This was perfect.  Karl and I had been married for less than a year, and this was going to be our "new beginnings" house.  We planned on fixing it the way we wanted.  And... since time wasn't a factor, we worked on multiple projects as they came up and were just happy being together.  PLUS... we had looked for 9 month to find the perfect farmhouse, and we felt (and still do) that we had found it.  Only thing this baby needed was a little (okay... a LOT) of TLC.

Okay... back to my story:
After the cleaning of the 2 sheds, we built shelving inside them.  We knew we would be recycling the old bead-board (wainscotting) that came off the walls and ceilings of the house, as well as other recycled materials throughout, so we needed lots of storage space until we used them. Karl is a master-builder so he knew exactly how to layout and build the shelving...EVEN if the building itself was old and leaning.

So one day while Karl and I were sitting on our little buckets,  munching on our sandwiches, I happened to look at Karl and then something caught my eye overhead (even though I am blind in one eye and can't see out of the other... I knew something just didn't look right).  I got up and went to our truck and took out the binoculars in order to get a better look.  Well... there it was...
A SNAKE!!!  And... it was directly over Karl's head!!! 
I calmly (or at least what I considered calmly) told him to come over to the side of the shed where I was.  Then I told him to turn around and I gave him the binoculars... just so he could get a better look.  Yep... it was a snake alright (lucky thing that we keep a camera on us at all times so we can document this stuff!).  We knew it was a small blacksnake and since I really am not afraid of snakes (spiders and cockroaches yes... snakes, no.), we decide to move our operation into another shed for the day and allow him time to get on his merry way.

Now... that has not been the only snake we have seen on the property... OR in a building!

Later in the year (4 Nov. 2009 to be exact), we moved into a 34-ft. camper that we had put on the property to live in while doing the renovations.  It had been harder to get out of bed and get motivated with the days getting so cold.  Also by that time we found it was getting later in the day when we got to the house to start work on it, and earlier in the afternoon when we came back to the apartment. We figured that at that rate it would take not the 5 years we had estimated to finish the house... but more like 500 years!  Also, if we were already there and not having to leave, we would be able to work longer and accomplish more.

BTW:  This is the winter that had snow on the ground for 3 months!!!  Worst winter in decades in the east.  36" of snow for weeks on end.  Remember?  And we spent it in this...
Oh... sorry... I digress. We'll just talk about those things on another day.

So anyway, by the following year we were working on the inside of the house.  The flooring around what used to be one of the fireplaces was open, as well as other parts of the floor that were being repaired.  On that particular day, my daughter and I were in the camper, when I heard Karl bellowing like a snake had gotten him.  Well you know what?  A snake had NOT gotten him... but rather it was HE who had gotten the snake!!!  A HUGE black snake!

Somehow it had managed to find its way into our house and surprised Karl while he was working.  He was trying to get it out the back door and couldn't get it to move, and had called me to come help. The snake was about a 7-8 foot black snake, and it had decided it wanted to stay indoors.  By the time we (my daughter and I) had gotten inside the house, Karl had the back door open and the half of the snake with the head on it was on a piece of plywood, with the other half outside the door onto the porch.  However, because of its size, it wasn't easy trying to get it to move or to stay on the piece of plywood.  Karl would no sooner get a portion of it on the board, when the back part of it would swing the other way.  And to make matters worse, by this time the snake was definitely NOT a happy snake... it kept trying to bite Karl!

There wasn't anything I could do except to tell him just to let it be.  We figured it had found its way into the house through the open flooring, and would probably find its way out the same way.  When Karl let the snake go, it darted behind a bench we had in the mud room and at that point it was definitely futile to try to capture it.
That was over 2 years ago and we've never seen that snake since.  I'd like to think that he is somewhere under one of our outbuildings or maybe in the barn, keeping the mice and other vermin at bay.  Also, I know that black snakes often kill the poisonous snakes (such as copperheads), so I figure it's good company to have them here, as long as they stay where they are supposed to stay.

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