Mommy! Daddy! Come quick! These are the words that I hear from my littles a few hundred times a day. Nearly every scrape is an emergency and every drawing must be viewed AT ONCE or it may disappear altogether. So -sigh- I will go look at another “emergency”. My husband walked out with me to the backyard. He made an EPIC playhouse/sandbox combo. This thing is amazing. It has two stories, thatch roof, sandbox underneath. The cats thought it was for them of course, pooping in it immediately. So a plastic netting was added to keep the cats out of “their” sandbox. Now back to the story, as we are walking back to the sandbox the two boys are talking a mile a minute “its totally NOT a gardener snake …and I think there is like 3 of them!” Gardener snake have not been all that uncommon this year, I see them almost every time I cut the grass. The boys both age 6, are pretty familiar with their coloring. So as they say that it is not one…I’m starting to get a little anxious, but the snake would surly be gone by the time we got there..right? Wrong! This was a for-real-mommy-is-freaking-out emergency. There were snakes tangled in the plastic netting literally right next to where the kids had been playing for 30 minutes. They had to have been there the whole time, so my babies were inches from sudden death! Poisoned or strangled or whatever these devilish looking creatures do. True to the boys identification, they were not the small dark green annoyances that I was sure they would be, rather, they were very large, black snakes. Did I mention, large? My husband runs to the garage for some kind of killing device. I jump up on the trampoline for some vertical protection. I happened to remember my oldest daughters were giving the neighbors a farm tour. The neighbors are more “county raised” then we are, and was hoping they could help identify this terrible creature. So they get called over to all the commotion.Neighbor Phil, reached down, almost sympathetically, to untangle the beast. “Its just a black rat snake” he says, picking up the snake and cutting the plastic away from its wriggling body. The snake lashes out biting him, but he just continues his work until the plastic is all removed. A few drops of blood emerge from the bite. He said it was just “gumming him”. I never want to be gummed like that. The monster was huge, dangling down it was almost as tall as him. It turned out there was only two snakes, they were just both huge, so it seemed like there was more there at first glance. After untangling snake one, my daughter Allysa, who had never taken her eyes off the creature volunteered herself as a tribute. “I’ll let it go!” Phil suggested to let it go in the barn. Over my dead body. That thing would eat my baby quails as a appetizer and the chickens for main course. Apparently, true to name, they eat rats and mice. I don’t really care. They were lucky they were getting off death row as far as I was concerned. Allysa grabs the snake around the neck, close enough to the head that it couldn’t turn around and bite her. It quickly coiled up around her arm. She grinned, obviously impressed with herself. The second snake was also freed. My husband grabbed the second, and him and Allysa went to the pasture to let them go. Just like Jack Hannah or something, the walked off like it happened all the time. I finally hopped down from the kids trampoline. Safe now that they were far away. I had to laugh at myself, and what I baby I was being. But at least my kids are going to be country raised. Plus now they know how identify another type of snake. The next day my son found a shed skin from one of them. It was like a thanks-for-not-killing-me gift from them to us. Now I have tangible proof of how big they were, which is nice. That way its not another big fish story.