There’s a WHAT living in our basement?

Breathe deeply, dear reader. I am only going to show you Peaceful Pictures.

On Saturday morning I was meditating in the basement, cuddled delightfully beneath a heavy winter blanket, listening to the fire crackling merrily in the woodstove, the outside temperature hovering near freezing.

It was one of those “ideal” meditations in which the monkey-mind-full-of-thoughts decided to cease its internal yakking.  Blessed silence ensued.  Oh, you meditators, you know the delight of this silence, don’t you? You sigh in the deepest relaxation, muscles releasing at the deepest level, and you know that Heaven on Earth exists.

Pollen on pond

My heart lilted joyfully and…are you ready for this?…I opened my blissful eyes to see…staring at me from across the room, its neck raised and poised, its body slithering in a typical s-curve…yes.  You’re right.  It was a blessed garter snake. In our basement.

It’s funny.  When you’ve been meditating deeply, you don’t startle and scream and stomp and cry and carry on.  You don’t jump on tables and holler.

I stared at the garter snake.  The garter snake stared at me.  It raised its neck and peered closer.  I raised my neck and peered closer.

On golden pollen pond

The mind refused to panic.  It thought–very logically–“We should look for something to rescue that poor garter snake who obviously must want to go outside.”

I carefully unwrapped from the soft comfortable safe blanket and moved toward the closet, fearlessly, not even quavering, hoping to find a box or container to lovingly encompass our errant little snake, somehow slide a cardboard under the box, and then deposit him gently outside so he could find his lost home, poor thing, just a minute, snakey, your rescuer will be right back.

I searched diligently but found only a plastic bucket.  Returned to the scene to attempt snake rescue, but, oh no, was it a meditative vision?  You know, the kind of vision some meditators report where they see invisible things with vivid clarity after breathing deeply in the ethers.  Yes, I’m sure it was a vision.  Must have been a vision.

You’re still breathing deeply, aren’t you? You’re heart isn’t pounding, is it?

No snake to be found.  Mister Garter Snake had slithered somewhere.  Perhaps under the refrigerator, the washer, the dryer, the woodpile slats, or among two hundred pieces of split wood.

I leisurely walked upstairs when the immensity of this event struck.


The mind woke up fully and began to blather, Oh my goodness, there’s a snake in the basement.  Oh my goodness.  How are we going to live in this house?  Oh good, I’m leaving soon.  I’m going downstate on Tuesday.  Barry can deal with it.  Oh no.  How are we supposed to do the laundry?  I’m not doing laundry anymore.  Forget the laundry.  Thank goodness we don’t need fires in the basement too much any more.  Oh my goodness.  OH MY GOODNESS!  I CAN’T LIVE IN THIS HOUSE ANY MORE!!!

It would be much easier to rescue errant turtles, wouldn’t it?

Barry traipses in from the garage.

“Barry,” I say very calmly, “we have a scenario.”

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Monday morning.  We still have a snake living in our basement.  At least, we think we have a snake living in our basement.  Unless it was a meditative vision (OK, I’m voting for the meditative vision) we have a snake living in our basement.

We have not seen it again.  We’ve carefully walked down the stairs.  We’ve named him.  We speak to him as we descend our circular stairway:

“Hi, Sherman!  Hey, Sherman, how you doing today, buddy? Do you want to show yourself?  Where are you, buddy?  We won’t step on you, we won’t…Hey, where are you, Sherm?”

Sherman refuses to answer.  Refuses to show himself.


I think it’s Barry’s fault, personally.

On Saturday morning, before the aforementioned meditation, we lazily lounged on the upstairs couch sipping coffee and tea.

“I really need an idea for a column,” said the husband, sighing.  He’s the editor of our local newspaper, the L’Anse Sentinel, and he writes a column mostly every week.  It’s like a blog. He chatters about this and that.  People like it.  But it’s hard–as some of you bloggers know–to come up with a pertinent topic, week after week for more than thirty years.  (I wouldn’t know about that.  I have an excess of topics, usually.  Not to say they’re pertinent.  Not to say I would still have topics after thirty years of blogging.)

So guess what Mr. Columnist says with great happiness and glee uponst discovering our snake scenario?

“Oh good!”  he delights, “Now I have a column!  Oh wonderful!  And you have a blog.  Isn’t this wonderful?”

Exquisite spring beauty

Now, readers, how wonderful is this really?  We have a two foot long garter snake named Sherman living in the basement. (OK, he could be one foot.  He could be one and a half feet. He’s harmless, he’s not poisonous, he’s probably a stellar character, perhaps even a guru of the garter variety.)   Is this worth a column and blog?  Did the Universe decide to answer Barry’s morning plea for column material in this humorous manner?

Barry, on the other hand, thinks yours truly is to blame.  I thoughtfully carried in two dozen black plastic garbage bags on Friday night.  Set them on the basement floor.  These bags–sweet bags!–had protected our garden tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers and squash from a hard freeze. He thinks that maybe an errant garter snake slipped into one of those bags that Kathy hauled into the basement.

Kathy doesn’t like the idea that she might have hugged a snake.

Tree frames pond

I have no photos of Sherman to show you.  You know, like some people roll out baby pictures to show off the new occupant of their house.

Only hoping that Sherman isn’t a Diana!  Oh no!  What if Diana is giving birth to snake children in the basement as we speak?  Oh no!!

I’m outa here in less than 24 hours, readers, for more than a week.  Mr. I-Need-A-Column can name the babies while I’m gone.  But this is not a permanent arrangement.  Sherman, Diana and the babies are outa here as soon as we can figure out where they live!

In the meantime, I have a basket of laundry ready to wash.

Anyone want to come over and do it?

Are we open to all of life’s experiences?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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101 Responses to There’s a WHAT living in our basement?

  1. Reggie says:

    Chuckling… oh Kathy… I shall vote that Sherman was a meditation vision, rather than an actual garter snake. Like you, I’m not sure how comfortable I’d feel either with a snake living in our basement, if we had one (a basement, that is). You write about the darndest things, dear friend… And so glad Barry has his column! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      The darndest things, Reggie! We used to go on trips and have all sorts of adventures and one of my friends would just shake her head and say, “WHY do you always have these things happen to you guys?” For writing material, of course. That’s why the Universe creates so much fun!

  2. Dawn says:

    Snake found his way in will probably find his way out. Would say more but internet connection at hotel not so good… 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Oh that is so encouraging for you to say so, Dawn. Yes, I agree with you. He’s probably long gone. We shall never see him again, except in meditative vision, of course! 🙂 Wondering exactly where you are…will go see if you posted an answer.

  3. Fountainpen says:

    Continue to befriend Sherman…..a great name by the way….
    I have a black cat named Ollie Cricket!


    • Kathy says:

      Hello to Ollie Cricket from Sherman the snake, Fountainpen! (Barry thought of the name. We offered several names to the Universal Namer and Sherman was the only one the stuck.)

  4. This reminds me of my response to the cat-sized rat I discovered above our bathroom door when I woke up to go the bathroom one night when we were living in Vietnam. As I said to someone else just this morning, I was not a happy camper–or happy camping, as the case may be.

    We have a garter snake living n our garden near our basil plants that Sara has named Herb. We see him sunning himself often. He’s well behaved and leaves enough basil for our pesto, so we’re happy.

    Good luck with the laundry.


    • Kathy says:

      A cat-sized rat would cause this meditator to shiver, Kathy! On the plus side, it does keep us ever-so-alert, doesn’t it? I think garden snakes are grand. We haven’t seen a snake outdoors yet. Only one indoors. P.S. Did the laundry! No sign of Sherman.

  5. Susan Derozier says:

    Look at it this way…. Sherman will take care of any kind of mouse problem you might develop. I had a snake in my garage once with the same reaction. I am NOT good with anything creepy crawly. i do know that snakes LOVE wood piles, which is even more disturbing thinking you carried it in while toting wood. Have a nice trip down state. Loved the photos!

    • Kathy says:

      I love the advice you guys are giving! Fie on our little mice! We’ve had our share of mice running through the house in the years. Chipmunks, squirrels, bats, hummingbirds…yep, it’s fun to live in the woods! Glad you liked the photos. I loved ’em too, and thought they certainly didn’t go with this post, but, what the heck, didn’t want them to sit unloved in a folder for weeks to come. thanks, Susan.

  6. lisaspiral says:

    When my grandparents had a snake living in the basement (guess who found it?) they called animal control. Living out in the country with a harmless little garter snake that might not be an option. There are plenty of things I don’t mind outside that make me less than happy inside. I vote meditative vision.

    • Kathy says:

      I’m not sure if there IS an animal control in our county, Lisa. Used to be. I think they mostly pick up stray dogs, though. Some day I hope to be mature enough to live pleasantly with all the visitors. Hasn’t happened yet, lol.

  7. sybil says:

    Oh you monkey-brained-snake-hugger, I love this story. It’s not just the story — it’s the marvellous way you tell it. (BTW the double “L” is an endearing Canadian affectation, sorta like adding “u’s” to colour and neighbour … 🙂

    I wouldn’t be afraid of the snake per se, but the thought of being startled by it.

    I was doing the laundry yesterday and glanced to my right and there was a mouse, an escaped, pet mouse, sitting on the dryer staring at me.

    But NO, I am not doing YOUR laundry. I don’t like doing MINE.

    What do you call a bunch of baby snakes ? a slither ? a clutch ? a rapture ?

    • Kathy says:

      I’m a monkey-brained-snake-hugger and Sybil likes this story! Hurray! YOU are endearing. Yes, you’ve got it exactly. I am not afraid of Sherman. It’s his unpredictable startling factor. I used to be deathly afraid of snakes. Thank goodness that phobia disappeared a bit. Let’s call the baby snakes a “rapture”. That sounds better than slither and clutch! LOL! You guys are making me laugh.

  8. bearyweather says:

    Snakes are not my thing, sorry … I could not go down and do your laundry. My only thought would be … he is going to sliver over my toes.

    Nice pictures (last one is my favorite). It was below freezing here twice last week and the pollen from the Red and White Pines is everywhere, too … our climates are very similar.

    Have a nice trip

    • Kathy says:

      Yep, taking the clothes out of the washing machine earlier this morning I noticed that my toes, yes, my toes, were right against the machine. Who knows what hides under something as innocent as a washing machine, let alone a dryer? I loved that pic so much. It’s been sitting in my folder for three weeks now. Figured it would languish there forever if it didn’t make an appearance soon. And, yes, the UP and upper Wisconsin and Minnesota seem to have very similar climates.

  9. bonnie says:

    I needed a chuckle this morning, and there was your blog. Priceless. I hope that Sherman or Dianna will slither its way out, as laundry does tend to pile up. Perhaps you could just shout down the stairs, “Sherman, put that load of whites in, will you, and shut the door on your way out. Thanks”

    • Kathy says:

      Bonnie, I am glad to have provided a chuckle! But—shhh—don’t tell anyone. There ARE no doors between us and Sherman. Alas. Just an open circular stairway and then an open basement room. But I heard the washing machine going awhile ago. Must have been Sherm who heard your comment! 😉

  10. Christina says:

    Oooh, I would love to see a photo of Mr. Sherman! Based on his name, he can only be impossibly adorable (if that’s possible for a snake). However, for yours and Barry’s sake I hope that Sherman has already found his own way outside of your house. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Ohhhh Christina, I love it that you think of Sherman as being Impossibly Adorable. I am going to adopt you and learn from you forevermore. Some day I won’t have two reactions 1) fright and 2) calm acceptance. Some day I will just feel love and perhaps even invite Mr. Sherman to share our abode. (OK, maybe not, but it’s a dream, right?)

  11. Chris says:

    They eat mice and frogs, right? Sherman might be a helpful house guest. When he’s done cleaning house he’ll surely return to the wild… hopefully before I visit in September!

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Son, I am SURE Sherman will be gone by the time you visit in September. I am SURE. Look at how interesting the wilderness is. Your bedroom isn’t half as tempting. I’ll tell him this daily throughout the summer. 🙂

  12. Carla says:

    Oh Kathy. So much fuss! A snake in the basement is a powerful blessing. Love it! I once had a snake living in the corner of my bedroom for 3 days. I worried he might get hungy, and I guess he did, for he finally left. It was a harmless, and helpful, garter snake. I’ve been making art of him/her every since.

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Carla, gosh darn, some day I will be more mature. I am growing towards complete love and acceptance of snakes daily. Some day I will be so accepting of snakes living in my…OK, I still find it hard to type “bedroom” without a shudder. But I truly admire you. I want to BE like you when I fully grow up. Maybe further meditation will help this. (You wouldn’t believe how much I have actually grown since childhood when I used to scream and scream and scream at the thought of snakes.) But don’t you think it was a good effort at making art from this encounter? Perhaps I shall write of snakes again and again, each time moving closer to their unexpected sacred slitherings.

  13. Oh my gosh, cracking up (at your expense). If I had a garter snake living in the basement where the washer and dryer are, I’d shift mental gears posthaste:

    1 – Clothes are overrated – who needs ’em anyway?
    2 – And then go join a nudist colony!

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, Laurie! You are NEVER cracking up at my expense! I am cracking up, too, thereby making us kin. Wait a minute, what did I just type? You said you were going to join a nudist colony! I am, instead, attempting to overcome said phobia and become a Lover of Snakes. 😉

  14. I love how you refer to Sherman as a “scenario”!! 😉 I can just picture how you suddenly “woke up” and realized that you have a snake in your house!! I try desperately not to think about anything that might be residing in my house – it was built in 1928, so I can only imagine WHAT has found its way in….

    Last summer, I discovered a (what I believe to be) fairly large garter snake who refused to leave my back yard, he/she and I actually had a stand off at one point! It stood there, sticking its tongue out at me while I attempted to steady my camera in my hands long enough to capture it. I don’t think it was very happy with me. Soon after that, I discovered it had shed its skin near that very same spot where the stand-off took place…. sort of its way of “thumbing its nose” at me! Well…. that’s the way I saw it, anyway!!

    I hope Sherman moves out SOON so you can get back to your peaceful meditation!

    • Kathy says:

      Ohmygosh, Holly, it really WAS funny! (You must try to convince yourself that only the most friendly of creatures are residing in your house. I am sincere that it is true.)

      It’s hysterical. I actually read your comment wrong, thinking that YOU had been sticking YOUR tongue out at the snake. (I hope you did that, too.) We have so many shed snake skins in our woodpile that it’s no accident a real snake found its way into our house.

      As for my meditation, I am doing it rather peacefully upstairs. **grin**

  15. susan says:

    Hi Kathy,
    I can loan you LucyLu, since she catches rabbits and birds in the yard, surely she would sniff out Sherman/Diana. I would have a very hard time going into my basement! 🙂 It is, however, a delightful blog subject and no doubt Barry wrote a spectacular column about it. I had a column for several years in a suburban paper here, mostly fluff about people/things/events in our area, while I choked on the “rules” – no controversy, no humor, no opinion. BLAH. I lasted three years with 3 columns per week til I go do no more without nausea or that totally creative-deprived strangled feeling. Barry is lucky to write whatever he wants! And you have the total freedom of a blog – yay!

    • Kathy says:

      OK, I shall wait until Ms. LucyLu arrives! I am sure she would be the perfect antidote to Sherman. I walk into the basement with Steadfast Resolve daily. I am not afraid–OK, not TOO afraid. Barry just gave me a copy of his column to read. I am afraid I am going to have to edit it, just a bit. He portrayed me as a bit too hysterical, which, in fact, I am only mildly disturbed. Yet, I understand his editorial perspective, as it is perhaps justified in a certain sense. Barry IS lucky to have editorial freedom. It’s one reason he has stayed with this job for so many years. I would not have wanted your creative-deprived feeling. Keep blogging, my friend! You’ll make up for it soon.

  16. We’ve had mice in our basement. That’s worse than a harmless garter snake, me thinks. As someone mentioned, Sherman might actually take care of any mice that might find themselves in your basement. At least he’s better than a 16 foot Anaconda that my sister-in-law had to deal with! Her hubby likes exotic pets and one day the anaconda found it’s way out of its enclosure – as did the 10 foot long Caiman! (a ‘small’ crocodile/alligator-type creature) Have a nice trip! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Oh yes, Mice. We have had them, too, oh have we had those Mice running through our abode for years upon years, withershins! (OK, dying to know what “withershins” might mean.) As for that Anaconda…your poor sister!!! What we have to adjust to in life. My goodness! I shall have a nice trip, I hope. Meeting maybe two blogger friends along the way, can you imagine?

  17. Do you think Sherman likes Chipmunks? If so, when you catch him would you mail him on down to me. The chipmunks and I have run out of topics to chat about…they don’t understand “scat” nor “get” or any other animal words I know. Perhaps Sherman could scare them away. I’m kinda use to snakes having a creek behind my house. He would have lots of company.

    • Kathy says:

      Sherman loves chipmunks! (I just asked him, in my mind.) He’s headed down via USPS right now except, hey, wait a minute! Your postal carrier would NOT be excited! In fact, it would be worse than the terrorist scenario. Are you SURE I should ship Sherman via Priority Mail? You let me know. Otherwise, he’s a’coming your way.

  18. Chris Roddy says:

    For me, life experiences do not include snakes of any kind! Yuk! You are a braver woman than I.

    • Kathy says:

      Chris, I used to be petrified of snakes. It’s all those years of meditation which must have changed the scenario. Now I am only mildly nervous of being startled. Thank you for visiting my blog!

  19. Susan D. says:

    Oh, your descriptions are priceless! I laughed and identified, I did. We once had baby rattle snakes in our house in Texas. Of course, baby rattle snakes led to the immediate conclusion that a mama rattle snake was nearby. The bebs were truly bebs and they and I went to a motel until my hubs promised that all had been eradicated. Still, we all slept in the same bed for a couple of months until we rented a new place, and moved!

    Love the photos and agree that turtles are ever so much easier to rescue. Have fun on your journey. Thinking of you with lots of love!

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Ms. Susan D., sometimes I think of you when writing blogs and KNOW that you are laughing across the bay, snickering, sometimes guffawing! As for rattle snakes, I am still a’scared of ’em. We had ’em when we lived in Texas, and even found a skull. They are creatures which would require gentle spiritual handling. Hey, did you know the turtles and pollen pics were over near your way? They were at the pond near the Lighthouse where the kids fish. Sweet, huh?

  20. Carol says:

    Those silly little garter snakes do like showing up in odd places, don’t they? I suspect Sherman will find basement living not to his liking and will find his way back out to sunshine; although temperatures hovering near freezing could bring him back now and then. Looking at your photos, I see evidence of the pines producing their annual yellow dust-that-covers-everything-in-the-vicinity. Ours is just beginning, and based on the numbers of little red pods on the trees, I think it will be a banner year, as it has been for pine needles and pine cones – which continue to fall.

    • Kathy says:

      I love your idea, Carol! As sample a matter as Sherman finding his way out to sunshine, oh yes, please, Sherman, find your way out to sunshine. But you suggest he’ll come back in when he’s freezing? Oh darn it. You’re probably right. Yes, that yellow dust is EVERYWHERE! It’s all over my car windshield right now. I probably will have to wash my car before presenting myself at my Parent’s house.

  21. kiwidutch says:

    I’ll happily trade your non venomous snake for any large spiders! (luckily we don’t see a lot here but I hate them all the same, yet the idea of snakes doesn’t bother me)

    I hope Sherman found a place to wiggle out into the forrest… got a fishing net? have it ready in case he comes out to say hello again and give him and helping hand to freedom.
    I’d do the laundry for you too… 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Kiwi! Oh we have huge spiders here, too. For some reason, I hardly notice them. (Isn’t it funny what makes us nervous and what doesn’t?) I am hoping Sherman is gone. I LOVE that you offered to do the laundry. Unfortunately, it’s already clean. Now I need to start packing. Happy to see you!

  22. Lori DiNardi says:

    Kathy, you are very calm about Sherman. A year and a half ago we had ring-necked snakes getting into our house, and no basements in Florida. They were in my family room! After finding the third one in a week, I called wildlife rescue and checked into a hotel. Eventually, we figure out where and why they were getting in. I feared they had nested somewhere in the house, but it turns out they don’t do that … I guess. I wish you luck with Sherman and hope he finds a way out.

    • Kathy says:

      Lori, I am so outa that house now for a week. I am SO sure Sherman will have moved outside to eat some yummy mice and frogs by next week. Right now I am in a coffee shop in Munising (half way across the UP headed toward the Mackinac Bridge.) Going to meet a blogger friend tomorrow for breakfast, hurray! As for your ring-necked snake, that doesn’t sound too appealing. Glad everything was figured out. Southern snakes seem more…scary…than our rather tame northern variety.

  23. What a funny incident, leading into a wonderful story! I think that’s a true writer, Kathy…being able to look at whatever life hands you as “material”, and make it entertaining. i certainly enjoyed reading about your house guest! I hope he finds his way out as easily as he got in. I’m glad he’s just a garter snake, and not something poisonous. Thanks for a good laugh, and best wishes for a safe and enjoyable trip!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, thank you. I do so try to look at every ordinary thing in life as an amazing tale to be shared. I am convinced we all are filled with amazing stories. He’s just a little itty bitty garter snake, my goodness, why was I all fussed up? He hasn’t even been spotted since Saturday. He’s probably…swimming toward Drummund Island! lol!

      • Kathy says:

        It is Drummond Island where you live, isn’t it? I remember WHERE you live, just not the name. I am going to wave in your direction as I head downstate. Then I am going to turn and wave at Bree (commenter down below). **grin**

  24. bree1972 says:

    Kathy, if you find the snake before you leave to come downstate, put him in a little box with a lid, bring him/her with you, and I’ll drop him in one of the holes in our yard so my little friend can find him! That little boy loves his snakes!

    • Kathy says:

      I’ve decided to throw Sherman off the bridge tonight or tomorrow morning, Bree. He will be swimming toward your house and will arrive at your yard promptly. If he’s not eaten by any large whitefish or salmon or caught in the propeller of a ferry. Can’t wait to see you next week!

  25. I have an irrational phobia of snakes. Just reading about this one made my palms clammy. I’ll be keeping my distance from your new friend! 😉

    • Kathy says:

      I understand your irrational phobia, C.B. Have experienced that myself. Tried to break the phobia about 15 years ago and MADE myself touch a dead snake. Oh what shivers! Now the irrational phobia has downgraded to a fear of being startled by slithering. Wishing dry palms for you…

  26. Karma says:

    Kathy, I hope you don’t mind that I am giggling a little at your predicament. Garter snakes don’t bother me, but that isn’t to say I’d want one living in my basement, and the thought of little snake babies is slightly creepy! Hopefully the scenario has worked itself out by now. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Karma, I never mind a little giggle. (OK, maybe if it was a rattlesnake I might be offended. lol!) We haven’t glimpsed the little creature since Saturday. Barry wrote his column about it. Fortunately he brought it home so I could edit it properly.

  27. P.j. grath says:

    Here is your new mantra, Kathy: “Snakes are our friends. Snakes are our friends. Snakes are our friends.” Calmly now and with conviction–

    • Kathy says:

      Snakes are our friends. Snakes are our friends, Pamela. I do love them, sorta, kinda. Or maybe “love” is the wrong word. I respect them, and think they are very useful and spiritually significant. **smiling** I had to think a long time to write that last sentence!

  28. Deborah says:

    Oh, the joys of rural life, amongst the wild critters. We’ve had a skunk in the basement before. Yep, we managed to live trap it; and then, covered it with a cloth, so it wouldn’t get scared and you know what . . . . we’ve had a possum in the house too – leaving “Oppie was here” anagram messages, by traipsing over the keyboard of my computer. Oh, the joys of rural life, amongst the wild critters.

    • Kathy says:

      I have great respect for you, Deb–rescuing a skunk AND possum! Yes, exactly, the joys of rural life. The creatures come in; the creatures go out. We’ve had chipmunks, squirrels, bats and hummingbirds indoors. Probably other critters, too. It’s kinda fun. And they all make for good stories.

      • Deborah says:

        We’ve experienced bats & hummingbirds indoors; but so far, no chipmunks or squirrels. I forgot to mention, I once had a “pet” snake. A spreading adder. It got loose and entered the walls of a farmhouse (not this one) that I was living in (in Arkansas) at the time. I used to hear it in there, on occasion. Yep, it’s true . . . I’m just a nature girl. GOL

  29. Heather says:

    I like that you named it Sherman. Maybe s/he has left already, via the same means it used to get it. This, of course, assumes that you didn’t bring him/her in.
    I got in a fair amount of “trouble” last night at my in-laws’ new place: there was a nearly-hand-sized wolf spider on the wall by the basement. I was called to kill it, since I wasn’t afraid it would eat me. Instead I shooed it away on account of it’s harmless to humans, and eats other insects of which we’re not so fond.
    Happy travels, and may you return to a snake-free home 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Heather, it was so wonderful to meet you yesterday for breakfast. Not only did we discuss the fate of Dear Sherman, it was lovely to cover more than a hundred topics (I counted, lol, just kidding!) during our hour and a half together. It is so delightful to meet a fellow blogger who turns out to be such a cool person. (Can you email me a photo of you, please, please, pretty please, since we were both so camera-delinquent?) Can’t wait to see you in the UP this summer!

  30. john says:

    Of all things … a garter snake. Couldn’t be a moose, a bear or even a porcupine. I remember some years ago one Jill Pelon, age 16, from Baraga decorated the pages of the Sentinel with the picture of the first bear she shot with its body draped across the back of her ATV. Do you think she would have flinched? YOU ARE A BARAGA COUNTY WOMAN! Stand up, stare that snake in the eyes. Let the bolts of lightning blaze from those eyes and let their claps of thunder shake the S–t out of that snake. Declare, in a voice that would make the earth quake, “How Dare You Slither Across My Floor!” Then watch that runty reptile slither himself out into your yard.

    p.s. Don’t forget to open the door before you do that eye thing.

    • Kathy says:

      Of all the things, John. 🙂 I would like to see a moose get in the basement door! I have heard that bears have broken into houses out west, but not around here. Seriously, John, I AM a Baraga County Woman. You actually would have been proud. Even though inside my mind I was mush…on the exterior was calm, cool and collected. Barry said, “Wow, most women wouldn’t be handling this so calmly.” (But it was fun to write this story which, hopefully, shared the various reactions which flitted across the mind.)P.S. LOVE your lightening story! Have you ever thought about writing more blogs? 😉

  31. Kerry Dwyer says:

    I am so glad we don’t have snakes here. We did have some strange creatures in the loft last year but they left. I never did see them but the scratching kept me awake at night. I refused to let my husband lay poison. ‘We don’t poison guests – even uninvited ones’.

    • Kathy says:

      Kerry, are there no snakes in France, or just none in the area where you live? Wonder what your scratching-creatures may have been. You are lucky they left. Many years ago, when we were first building, Barry’s brother and his wife came visiting and slept in sleeping bags on the living room floor and MICE ran over them as they slept. How embarassing, huh?

  32. Sherman sounds pretty innocent. Not like those water moccasins that were in my creek when I lived in Georgia! Do take a picture if he lets you! And yes, I agree. It is just that easy to have a thought about what to write about and then whaddya know? A snake appears!

    • Kathy says:

      Hello, Ms. Patty! Yep, those water mocs don’t sound at all innocent. I promise to take a pic if allowed, but, truly, there has not been another snake sighting since last weekend and I am 550 miles away!!!!

  33. As one who is unapologetically pro-rodent (I’ve owned gerbils, guinea pigs, and, now, two unruly fancy rats named Lucy and Ethel) I would not have handled myself so well had I found a snake in my house.

    First I would’ve panicked, I think, then, once I regrouped, I probably would’ve barricaded myself down there until only one of us came out alive. I am not proud of either of these actions, but I’m pretty sure this is the way things would’ve gone.

    In short, I admire your sense of restraint (and humor)!

    • Kathy says:

      Hello, dear writer fellow (nice to meet you). I am laughing at the thought of the barricade and need for re-grouping. I suspect it’s because you love your rodents so much…you would have anticipated that the snake would eat them for dinner! It was a funny scenario last weekend. (And something fun to write about.) Thanks for coming a’visiting. We’ll have tea where the snake can’t find us. 🙂

  34. CMSmith says:

    I hope Sherman finds his own way out. I’m not sold on the black plastic bag idea. Maybe he found a little hole he crawled in and has since crawled back out. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

    At least it wasn’t a huge spider. Snakes I can tolerate; spiders not so much. I once wasn’t able to drive my car for weeks when a huge black spider dropped onto the driver’s seat when I opened the car door.

    See things could be worse.

    Just don’t step on it.

    • Kathy says:

      You’d think one would feel the heaviness of the black plastic bags if a snake roosted in their midst, don’t you? We had a chimney-cleaning operation last week as well, so maybe the snake slithered in when the door was open. For some reason, I am not as startled with spiders as snakes. We have fifty cent sized pine spiders that cause many folks heeby-jeebies. Will try not to step on anything moving!

  35. flandrumhill says:

    My sons were always trying to sneak amphibians and reptiles into the house so I was always afraid one would get loose. They once brought one into the house in a box which was placed in the laundry tub for safekeeping until we got back from shopping. They were considered one of their neighborhood friends would steal it if they left the box outside. Snakes can be quite a commodity where boys are concerned. Who knew? Anyhow, when I peeked into the laundry tub, it had already slithered out of the box and was looking for a way out of the tub. I yelled. They put it back outside. That’s the closest I’ve had to having a garter snake in the house that wasn’t in a terrarium with a lid.

    However, a neighbor’s boys (all also snake charmers like mine)lost three (3) snakes in her house which were never recovered! I would have moved out. Since garter snakes have live births there is no egg incubation period to warn you that babies are about to be born. It just… happens! Good luck with that.

    • Kathy says:

      My, what stories of boys and snakes, Amy-Lynne! I am just imagining the scen of three outdoor-loving boys traipsing in and out of your house with their commodities. That is soooo interesting that your neighbor never recovered the three snakes. Barry is convinced now that our snake is going to die from lack of food and outward passage and stink terribly, thereby preventing guests from staying. I’ve actually moved out. At least for a week! Am now downstate in the Lower Peninsula staying in my parent’s snake-free abode.

  36. Brenda Hardie says:

    Hi Kathy 🙂
    I suppose you’re off visiting your parents. Which, by the way, I’m hoping is going really well. I just returned from my sister’s and guess what has moved into their yard and is living comfortably…a Chukar Partridge! It’s really a cool looking bird and seems friendly. He’s(or she) not afraid of people, just cautious. I would much rather have a partridge for a visitor than a snake! When I was a little girl, we lived in a rental house on the outskirts of town. There was a creek in the backyard and woods behind that. Our backyard was full of holes and in those holes lived garter snakes. I learned how to ride my bike in that backyard! My only fear was that I would run over a snake and squish it, or when I fell off the bike that my foot would go in one of the holes. I had no fear. I don’t fear them now but I certainly would not want them living in my house! You can keep your little “Sherman”! lol May he be a she and have a family…ewwww….
    I haven’t read all the comments (which I usually do) because I have to finish unpacking and then catch up on laundry, etc. but later tonight I’ll read through them. 🙂
    Enjoy your time with Mom and Dad ♥

    • Kathy says:

      Hello, Brenda, welcome home during your traveling summer! I am downstate already having a marvelous time. We’re having a 78th birthday party for my dad tonight with about 13 of us for dinner. Mom and I are cooking up a storm later on. A partridge sounds like a fabulous outdoor companion. What cool pics you could get if he was not afraid of humans. Interesting that you grew up among many snake holes. My fear of snakes started as a child visiting my grandparent’s cottage and finding hundreds of spring snakes on one fine afternoon sunning on the hillside. Have actually learned to (mostly) overcome this fear. Thanks for your well wishes, dear friend.

  37. Dana says:

    This post tickled me so much, Kathy! I’m thankful (on your behalf) that you were in such a state of zen when you opened your eyes and discovered the snake. I (in my not-so-zen default state) would have made much more of a scene in this situation. I’m not afraid of snakes (I think?), but it doesn’t mean I would want one anywhere in my house. Hopefully Sherman/Diana will have packed up and moved on by the time you get back home. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Jeez, Dana, it’s a lovely moment when Zen visits us during snake sightings! (I am still not convinced that it wasn’t a vision. Double negative. As in so many Zen parables…) You would have written a REALLY funny story, Dana, if we know you. We would still be laughing at the marvelous story you would have written. I am laughing now just imagining your story.

  38. Hahaha, when in doubt, blame the husband 😉 Hope the snake found it’s way outside on its own somehow.
    But did you say temperatures near freezing???!!!! We’ll be heading up to the UP in just over a month, do I need to bring some of our Texas heat? 😉

  39. Kathy says:

    Ohmygoodness, Michaela, you’re coming back to Michigan and heading up to the U.P. this time? Really? How cool is that? Please, please call when and if you’re near L’Anse and we can get together. We do have visitors in July and Barry is going to Isle Royale and then he’s getting his second knee surgery, but would love to fit in a dinner out or something fun. Very cool!

  40. Claire says:

    We have a toad living under our deck seen rarely. Maybe both meditative visions ?

  41. Kira says:

    I have nominated you for the reader appreciation award I have been given, please check out my blog for details on how to accept. Thanks for always stopping by my blog. Very much appreciated.
    Have a safe and lovely weekend. God bless
    Love Always,
    Kira Moore

  42. sonali says:

    Snakes inside the house is the most dreadful thing I can imagine. I hate those slimy creatures. I hate them always, they scare the hell out of me! 😐 yucksss. I hope that snake has got out from your place.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Sonali! I am 550 miles from home now and am SURE the snake is LONG gone, aren’t you? P.S. When I was 30-something, I decided it was time to try to heal my own fear/hatred of snakes and tried to imagine them lovingly and even once–oh my!–leaned down to touch a dead one and didn’t collapse in a shriveling whimpering basket case. Am not “cured” now but have graduated from intense fear. So maybe some day you will do this, too! You never know. 😉

  43. Joanne says:

    What a story Kathy! So funny, yet so scary at the same time. I’m not a big fan of snakes myself, only because we have some of the most deadly snakes in the world living in our area! But your eyes become trained into looking out for them, especially after a lifetime of living in Australia.

    Did you ever think that in your meditative state you may have “charmed” the snake?

    • Kathy says:

      Joanne, I would be scared of Australian snakes. They sound poisonous. Hey, maybe you’re right about being a snake charmer–may be my new career. NOT! lol…no sign of the snake again 1 1/2 weeks later. Maybe it’s gone?

  44. lucindalines says:

    Great story, you might not like my reply. Hopefully, you brought in the snake with the bags or the wood, my guess is the bags. Yes, snakes eat mice, but if snake found its own way into the house, mice and more snakes can use same doorway….My children get so upset with me because I always look at the worst senerio so I can fix things easier. Good luck getting Sherman out. Also loved the pictures and can relate to your husband’s story issue. I used to do that before I started blogging.

    • Kathy says:

      Guess what, Lucinda, the snake is either gone or deeply in hiding. And no mice in the traps for over half a year, so maybe we’re animal-free. That is interesting about looking at the worst scenario so you can fix things easier. At least that way you’re never surprised! I tend to always think it’s the easiest-fixing scenario.

  45. Pingback: What it’s like to live in the woods « Lake Superior Spirit

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