snake

Name Another Insect

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Here’s a new entry for the recurring, “Name That Insect” contest. Martin spotted this funky fellow in our mudroom.

According to my secret entomology source, this one should be easy-peasy.

Here it is again, with my pudgy pinkie for scale:

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Think you know the answer? Post a comment or send me an email.

In other comment-related business, I have a correction to my recent post, “All Before 9 AM.” That entry included photos of a corn snake, which Martin boxed and left in our kitchen. However, a Funny Farm reader named Lee, pointed out that our reptile was not of the “corn” variety, but is actually a “gray rat snake.”

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Our snake

Photos suggest that Lee is right. Thanks for setting me straight!

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Eastern rat snake in Maryland

Finally: The Roof!

 

The barn roof. I promised “after” photos and a rebuild synopsis weeks ago — way back in 2014.

What can I say?

Sometimes life derails your plans.

If you missed the first chapter on the barn roof, you can play catch-up here.

Otherwise, here’s the finished product.

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John, our Amish contractor, did a great job. He estimated that roof replacement would require a month, give or take weather woes. And he was spot on. He and his crew dismantled the original roof, circa 1910ish… 1920ish… and rebuilt it within four weeks.

Well done!

There were, however, a few dicey days.

Initially, John planned to tackle the roof in bites, shelling a small section and replacing it, before crabbing along the framework to the next patch of real estate. That’s how construction proceeded for the first few weeks.

But near the end of the renovation, the guys changed their game plan: they stripped the roof naked, in one ambitious, magnificent gulp.

Behold, the belly of the beast:

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Unfortunately, this bold declaration of roofing nudity coincided with a shift in the weather forecast: meteorologists swapped their fair-sky guarantee for a wavering prediction of “maybe rain.”

Maybe-rain is a huge motivator. John and the boys moved fast.

Here’s the roof on a Thursday afternoon in mid-December:

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And here it is the next day, with rain imminent. See? A flurry of activity when precipitation is breathing down your collar.

 

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So, the barn roof roof is done. Mission accomplished. (Note: when the kids pine for anything, I point to the roof. For example — Brynn: “I wish I could sleep in my own bed.” Me: “You want your own bed? Look at that barn. See that nice shiny roof? There’s your new bed!”)

I’m relieved that this project is completed. I won’t miss the construction scene… living amidst a cast of pickup trucks and a crew of boom lifts and skid loaders. I’m tired of counting the throng of rutted tire tracks snaking through the muddy yard.

But I’ll miss you, John.

John would’ve made a top-notch regular among the Funny Farm cast.

His Amishness was entertaining. Granted, at times he was totally high-tech. John worked off a cell phone and I watched him maneuver earth moving equipment and pilot the boom lift to raise roofing panels skyward.

But in other ways, he was refreshingly clueless. There was the rubber snake incident.

And when he pointed toward a distance cell phone tower — so obviously a tower, thinly veiled to resemble a silo.

“Wow,” marveled John. “They must have a lot of cows at that farm.”

Martin was quiet, before stating, “John? It’s a cell phone tower.”

 

So many good John lines… so little time.

My favorite exchange?

John was standing beside the barn, trying to make small talk with Martin.

“So,” John said to Martin. “You play polo?”

Martin looked blank. “No, I don’t play polo. Why would you think that I play polo?”

John shrugged, then gestured at the pocket of Martin’s rugby. “Because of your shirt,” he said.

Hey Ralph Lauren, here’s a tip off: the Amish community is unchartered waters.

There’s a final frontier for your Polo brand…

 

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Must I say this?

 

I frequently shout at the kids but I try not to holler at Martin.

Last night it was necessary.

I repeated the same sentence a dozen times in quick succession with crescendo, until I was yelling. Despite my unmitigated fervor, Martin appeared hesitant — uncommitted.

If I hadn’t been barefoot I would have pulled a Khrushchev, banging my shoe on the table and shouting in a rabid rant:

Do not bring that snake inside!

Do NOT bring that snake inside!

DO NOT BRING THAT SNAKE INSIDE!

The snake was discovered snoozing among hay bales and he spent the day in a bucket, awaiting the kids’ return. Then, Snake was relocated from bucket to a modest bug-viewing container.

Snake was peevish about his lengthy confinement and even more irate about the prospect of smaller digs. He hissed and struck out repeatedly.

In his defense we stuffed him in a cheap, cracked, plastic container with a loose lid.

It was the last detail that fueled my impassioned rave. I did not want a pissed-off snake, hissing and spitting, as it retreated beneath a couch or bed.

Fortunately Cayden is familiar with my wrath and knows it’s best to obey six words screamed repeatedly. He freed the snake outdoors…

…beside the house, right next to the broken cellar window.