|The barn just after it was built, prior to the fencing.|
Living on a farm we try to take responsibility for any of the possibilities which occur here. We have a plan if we return home and find a black bear not simply in the yard, but in the house. We have a plan if a coyote tries to bother either myself or one of my alpacas when I am making early evening rounds. When we lived in the suburbs, we had pretty good contingency plans there too.
Several years ago we had a lovely large barn built. In some ways I prefer it to our home, which is a good thing, because we certainly spend enough time there.. One side has stalls for alpacas, and the other has stalls for the horses. There is a tack room, a staircase to an upstairs, and a large open area that we have used as an animal ICU now and again. Late this evening, I had finished taking care of the horses, and I was about to walk our fourteen year old Siberian Husky. My husband was finishing up alpacas and about to start on ducks and chickens. One of our sons was feeding the cat, when we all noticed something simaltaneously. A large black snake was slithering above our heads on top of the rafters. He wasn't the least bit deterred by the music and talking on NPR, the station which the horses seem to prefer. This was not a positive thing. I not only don't like snakes much, even if they are not poisonous, but black snakes get very large here and can sometimes be aggressive. A bite from them can cause a dangerous infection. My largest concern was that the snake would frighten the horses enough to cause upset sufficiently to cause stall damage or even injuries to a horse. All the animals were pretty spooked this evening.
There really isn't anyone to call for such an issue. We have to do something ourselves. As one of our sons headed for the house to get something, I realized that we hadn't seen any mice or other vermin in the barn in at least two years. Mmmmm. Perhaps this snake has been living in the barn for awhile. Our son returned with a snake hook which he has used to relocate snakes, a number of times here on the farm. Normally, a snake curls up on it, and he transports them elsewhere and they slither away. This time we weren't quite so lucky. The snake simply refused to mount the large snake hook and slithered down and between the dividing walls to the stalls. With the snake no longer obvious, the animals calmed down.
Tomorrow, bright and early I must do about two hours worth of work in there. I hope the snake is gone. The extreme heat of the last couple of days may have caused the snake to behave a bit differently than normal.
In any event, this is good training. Anything can happen anywhere, and at anytime. I hope we are ready.