So, I have a new friendship to thank for taking me beyond my comfort zone for the sake of my kids. I am not a big fan of creepy crawly things. I don’t even like coming across worms while I garden, even though I know they are fabulous little creatures. But I really try to hide my fear / disgust / squeamishness of such things around Claire and Ren. I want them to form their own opinions about stuff and not biased by their scaredy-cat mama.
When my friend Kathy suggested we join her family in a little garter snake adventure, I knew I should say yes. But my first instinct was to cringe and ask, “Really?” As if it was such a totally crazy concept that no sane person would contemplate. However, after a small hesitation, I realized it was actually a really cool idea and would probably be a great experience for the kiddoes. After all, as far as snakes go, garter snakes aren’t dangerous and aren’t as icky to me as others.
So out we went to the countryside. We went to a gravel pit that is well-known in the area for being a garter snake habitat. We were briefed beforehand that we shouldn’t touch the snakes and that we should be very careful when walking to make sure we don’t accidentally squish ’em. As far as I know, no snakes were harmed in the making of these photographs (or any other time during our adventure).
Years ago, the gravel pit area was literally moving with snakes in the spring. Nowadays, they are much fewer and far between. We found a nice little grouping of them, though, where we sat and watched for a long while.
Much to my surprise, I found them to be actually kinda cute! They had a cute habit of sticking up their heads and checking out their surroundings.
Unlike mice which I find to be a little scary (I’m always afraid they’ll suddenly dart towards me and crawl up my leg or something), the snakes were slow-moving and predictable in nature. You could kind of tell where they wanted to slither and then slither they did. Paul actually had a couple slither right over his foot, which wasn’t surprising at all since he was standing in the middle of a path they kept crossing.
Although we aren’t really supposed to touch the snakes, we all put our hands out for the snakes to smell. They would often approach and would sometimes even slither on up.
Claire’s best buddy in Kindergarten often had snakes approach her. She is a total snake charmer:
She must get it from her grandmother, whose hand appears below:
Afterwards, we hung out at a little pond hoping to see some frogs. No luck with frogs but the kids did have fun tossing rocks into the water and watching our friends’ dogs swimming.
Most of the rocks tossed in the water were pretty little but all of a sudden, Ren set his sights on a huge one (the size of his head!) several metres from the pond. At first he tried to pick it up as if it were a small little rock. When that didn’t work, he realized he’d need to roll it. Well, that got old fast with having to bend down and all. So he tried kicking it for a bit. Nope, that wasn’t the answer. So he went back to rolling it. Finally, he got it fairly close to the water’s edge but the deep mud made moving it even more difficult. It was tough slogging and he kept getting stuck.
And then, the obvious happened, the moment I had been waiting for:
It was inevitable!
The good news was that it didn’t phase him. He just shook his little booty and rubbed his hands gleefully.
Note, in the photo above, the rock is a little ways away at this point – on the right side of the image.
Demonstrating great perserverence, my boy got right back into rolling that rock. I had no idea my boy was so persistent!
Sadly, we finally had to advise Ren to give up on the rock. With the mud so very deep, we were worried he’d meet the fate of many of his beloved dinosaurs who got stuck in mud and perished eons ago. I almost got stuck myself trying to get Ren out!
Ren wasn’t the only one with a mud mishap by the way. Check out my friend’s son holding his brand new shoes!
Being out in the country that day really reminded me of my childhood. We lived on a farm until I was about five and then on an acreage on the outskirts of town until I went to University. I spent many days running around outside with my siblings doing this same kind of stuff. I’m grateful to my friend for inviting us to join them and providing the oppportunity for the same sort of fun I had growing up. Thanks Kathy!
Lastly, here are a couple images of the kids running around together. I think it’s cute how Ren preferred the dogs’ company over the girls’ on some of their walks!