Monday, July 16, 2012

Adventures of the Three Nature Boys

Last night we had another face-to-face with nature, when Stew found a snake, about three feet long and an inch wide, placidly wrapped around itself on the kitchen floor next to the stove.

Judging from a split-second glance, after which I took one picture and ran away, it seemed to be a beautiful specimen. I don't know how it got inside.


This fairly typical brush with nature by the Nature Boys went something like this: 

Nature Boy #1 (Stew): "Jeeezus, there's a snake in the kitchen!"

Nature Boy #2 (Al)  goes to get the camera and runs back into the kitchen: "OMG, Stew, what are you going to do with it? Don't look at me!"

So NB#1 goes in the garage, grabs a plastic storage bucket big enough for a nine-foot anaconda, and nudges the snake, by now fully extended and a bit annoyed, into the bucket with a stick. NB#1 nervously slaps the lid on and takes it outside.

In extreme cases, when it's necessary to climb a ladder, reach into a bush or actually grab a creature bare-handed, we summon NB#3--Félix the gardener--who obliges, while grinning and shaking his head at the unmitigated wussiness of his two gringo employers.

While building the house we didn't consider the teeming animal life we'd be sharing the property with, which during the dry season looks deceptively barren, or the critters' insistence in coming inside for a visit, particularly when it starts to rain.

Two weeks ago NB#2 opened the gas grill and discovered a tiny mouse, its eyes wide open and pink nose twitching, sitting in a nest of leaves it had built on one corner of the grease pan.

NB#2: "Hey Stew! There's a mouse inside the grill! Really cute! Now don't hurt it!"

NB#1, goes to the garage to get a spatula and returns to take apart part of the grill. He chases the mouse and moves its nest to the base of a nearby pot. "OK, I moved the mouse. Are you happy now?"

Mice are not only really cute but also enterprising and  stubborn, and they don't cotton getting wet. Another mouse insisted on setting up a nest inside the dashboard of the truck, and NB#1 has had to take apart the glove compartment and clean out the heater fan several times. The truck now sits down the driveway, away from the house and the mouse.

The grill mouse was back at it last night rebuilding its nest, so NB#2 had to cook a steak inside, on a cast iron pan.

NB#2: "What are we going to do? It's probably getting ready to have babies inside the grill."

NB#1: "So what are we supposed to do, wait until they go off to mice kindergarten before getting rid of the nest?"

NB#2 is not very good at dealing with any of these fauna encounters, except to call the other Nature Boys and look for the camera. Using a piece of cardboard NB#2 will collect spiders and other bugs crawling inside the shower stall and take them outside. But that's about it.

Indeed, NB#2 is of the Marlin Perkins school of wildlife management. If you recall, old Marlin used to stay two-hundred feet away from any snarling, writhing or remotely threatening creature, while Jim Fowler or the cameraman closed in for that winning footage.

A month ago, a hummingbird got trapped inside one of the skylights and NB#3 had to get a ladder, cup his hand over the tiny bird and escort him outside. Frantic, flapping birds are something even NB#1 refuses to deal with.

And a month before that, NB#3 pulled a young rattle snake from the mouth of our dog Lucy and killed it. NB's #1 and #2 object to killing any animals unless they are a threat. NB#3 is not quite that picky or squeamish.

In this case, the snake bit Lucy which then developed a swelling the size of a golf ball on the side of her mouth, a pathetic situation she milked for all the sympathy and table scraps possible.

Luckily she wasn't poisoned by the young rattler because we discovered there is no snakebite antidote in San Miguel for anybody, even people.

Our pets often deal with animal encounters in their own way. Several months ago, Paco the cat caught a mouse and solemnly deposited the tiny gray carcass on the living room floor. He kept a vigil by it as if waiting for the miracle of resurrection.

Then there was Gladys' memorable rabbit stew. We came home and found her with rear half of a small rabbit--fur, cotton tail and two legs--hanging out of her mouth. We imagine she had already eaten the front half.

NB#2: "Jesus Christ, Gladys's got a dead rabbit in her mouth! You better do something, Stew!"

NB#1: "Like what?"

NB#2: "Hell if I know. Just get it out of her mouth and put it somewhere!"

So NB#1 went and got a plastic bag for the half-eaten rabbit and put it somewhere. NB#2 didn't ask what NB#1 did with the rabbit remains.

As you can imagine, NB#2 is sure grateful for NB's #1 and #3 sure-handedness in dealing with marauding animals.

Otherwise, this place would be a zoo.

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4 comments:

  1. Too funny, I really enjoy your blog. Thanks
    Shelagh

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  2. During my nightly search for leaf-cutter ants, I ran across my friend the Mexican milk snake. I am surprised he has survived. Our local NB3s believe machetes were designed to dispatch all snakes.

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  3. What a fun read. You make it so real, Al. And funny. Not a bad life you Nature Boys have in the country.

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