Full Moon Fever and the Need to Have a Very Big Stick steemCreated with Sketch.

in life •  last month 

Red and yellow, you’re a dead fellow. Red and black, you’re okay Jack. It is a rhyme we learn in kindergarten here to tell the difference between the venomous coral snake, and the harmless scarlet kingsnake. It is also a testament to the strength of the childhood memory. The words rushed back as I looked down at the little fellow sitting deathly still in the middle of my path as dusk settled in around me.


“Scarlet kingsnake—once again. It’s not like a person sees a coral snake. They are reclusive,” I told Big Dog. He blew a big gust of air out of his snout at the tip of the creature’s tail, but still it did not move. “Come along, no time for snake games.” I had a date.

A hot date. Well, hot if humidity counts. Darkness was creeping in, turning all the big pine trees that towered over me into one massive blob of a black shape against a pale sky. Big dog put his nose to the ditch, trailing something as lots of little moths scurried into the sky to avoid him. Slowly his nose was pulling us toward the woods.

“None of that tonight. No time. We’ve got to meet my date, and then it is back to put up the chickens. I know you’ve been catching a lot of bobcat scent lately.” Big Dog snorted again, like that sort of excited him.

Then I caught sight of my date in the distance. A strapping character—the sort that steps onto the scene and all eyes fall in his direction. He commands attention, but not in an obnoxious way. He is demure, and that is part of what pulls a lady to him. He also plays hard-to-get very well. I only get to see him in his full glory once a month, and it is a lonely 29 days until his return.


Big Dog, already bursting with masculine energy, had zero interested in Mr. Moon. He was hurrying me along as Mr. Moon rose above the trees. We locked eyes, and the magnetism of that beautiful ethereal being was pulling me closer, but never close enough. Always just out of reach, like all the mysteries in life. Big Dog pulled us homeward, and I let out a resigned sigh as I returned to my chores.

To my irritation, above the chicken coop in a crepe myrtle tree bursting with pink blossoms that fall like pink rain onto the heads of people standing beneath, roosted the knuckle-head white chicken.

Ever since a bobcat began prowling a few weeks back, Whitey—being of a very flighty nature—decided she would be safer outside the coop. I disagree, given that bobcats climb trees, and once it is dark this particularly clueless chicken sits dead still and allows any creature that passes to scoop her up. Every night I go and shake the crepe myrtle so that it rains pink petals down onto me, and then the knuckle-head flies down squawking like there has been an earthquake, and meanders on into the coop.

Maybe it was Mr. Moon that had her out of routine, something like how the Scarlet King Snake had decided to sit idle in my path rather than follow standard snake protocol of slithering to safety. Whatever the cause, instead of landing on the ground, she flew to the top of the chicken run.


“Get down!” I shrieked as I clapped my hands, but she dawdled to the middle of the wire roof and hunkered down. In the run I went, poking at her from the underside of the wire and had her near the edge of the roof…when Big Dog came storming up, eager to help, practically foaming at the mouth. Of course, Whitey scurried back into the middle of the roof.

It was around this time that my flashlight, which was bobbing around like something that belonged on a concert stage, flashed across the silent beast that was sharing the run with me. It was also at this exact moment that I felt the beast’s calling card on my hands and arms.

I like bugs. I don’t even really mind spiders, but the beast we in Florida commonly call the banana spider is different. Humans instinctively find the creepy-crawling movement of eight arachnid legs revolting, but some of us are rational beings…until we find ourselves tangled in the thick web of the six inch long banana spider. The web itself reminds me of dental floss, only it is that disgusting sticky spider web texture that just will not get off, least of all while flailing around in the dark trying to determine the location of the owner of that web.

“I am not a farmer!” I shouted at Whitey, or the banana spider, or Mr. Moon, or really anyone. “I am not equipped for this!” I caught a glance of the spider, with its long striped legs that come to a creepy point at the tips, like eight little daggers, and I high-tailed it out of there.

Somewhat panting, I stood outside the coop, shivering a little as I felt that spider web still tangled around my arms. I went around to the egg boxes, deciding to play it cool and finish up the job while I waited for Whitey to fly down. I opened the door, and there curled up like a fat coil of brown striped rope was a snake with the fat bulge of an egg on its insides.


This was the first time in five years of keeping chickens that I have had the misfortune to be visited by an egg eating snake. I closed the door promptly, and then as though in doubt as to whether I was delusional, reopened it. The snake looked to be having a spot of indigestion and only lazily lifted its head to return my gaze. His elegant forked tongue took in my scent of banana spider web. I made a movement toward him, expecting him to run, like every snake I encounter in the garden. He just stared at me and clearly he was thinking: “We both know you ain’t a farmer.”

“No, I’m not a farmer!” I yelled as I shut back the door. What to do…what to do…get big stick. Big stick didn’t help. Mr. Snake had zero interest in ever leaving the lap of luxury he had found in my chicken coop.

Suddenly relief washed over my mind. Romantic dates with Mr. Moon aside, I do in fact have a functioning husband. He likely did not read the fine print, but by marrying me he signed up to do all sorts of random jobs. For example, cleaning a smashed lizard out of the door jamb (because that is really, really disgusting), or snatching a snake by its tail out of my chicken coop.

That is exactly what he did. And just a minute later Whitey came fluttering down…and then ran blindly into the woods…because she is a knuckle-head.

“Survival of the fittest,” my husband grunted, rather farmer-like, as he turned his back to the woods and walked to the house. I let out a frustrated sigh as my eyes wandered from the woods to the sky. There was Mr. Moon.

“You and me, next month—same place, same time,” I winked up at him. “This time no snakes.”

Mr. Moon might have winked back, but then again, the banana spider might have too.

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What a thief! I will screaming and run away everytime I see a snake, whatever it is... poisonous or not. Aahh.. the fullmoon blues around, I think the snake also waiting for the date😉

That is definitely the human instinct. When a snake startles me that is often my reaction too. Maybe he did have a full moon date - having an egg bulge in your abdomen is probably how snakes show off to their ladies ;)

Hahaha.. it wants to show the six pack too😂

  ·  last month (edited)

Six inch long spider?!? Okay I have to google this [scurries away] Good lord!!!

.Hey I had a date with same guy last night! Kinda interesting to think of moon personified as male, such strong feminine connotations with moon.

They seem to like to sit idle in their webs so as to show off the full extent of their leg length. Really freaky looking right outside the window, where one always seems to build a web. And yet I find myself worrying about them come cool weather. I guess they get to be something like a night-shift working roommate.

Yeah, the full moon and a pregnant belly seem to go hand in hand. For some reason it does not strike me that way. Actually, I can't think of anything in nature that is associated with men. Maybe that is my motivation.

OK that kind of just blew my mind because I am also totally drawing a blank when trying to think of anything in nature associated with men. Geez.

The stag is the only masculine symbol in nature that comes to mind...but it is in fact male, so there isn't much symbolism involved ;)

I love how your date is the moon and through your writing I was convinced it was human until you spelt it out for me. I have sen pictures of the banana spider they are massive. You are such a wonderful story teller @ginnyannette xxx and a bloody good farmer in my eyes xx

The moon is the best date - he never talks too much and he knows how to really shine light on the important things ;)

Thanks for reading.

You lead such the life of adventure. I love it. I believe you ARE a farmer, or at least and egg farmer. If nothing else, by default of chores and chasing addled chooks. And I'm glad you have a hubs to do the dirty work. We always joke about that around this farm. What good would I be, without a lawn mower, and opening jars and such. (T.I.C., of course). I know I'm good for more than that. There's fixing, then using the weedeater too ( :

You have some impressive spiders there in FLA. Those things do give even the staunchest nature lover a quick twist, when spotted first off. I think it's brainstem, from about 8 million years ago, when the goofy things weighed in at about 148 pounds and took down small (now huge, by our standard) rodents. Yikes. Though I knew a guy from South America somewhere, that swore they had spiders big enough to eat chickens. So, be glad you don't have THOSE. Whitey would be toast. (I think you need a kitty water spray bottle for her. Works great spritzing the cats, and a chicken has an even tinier brain. (is that a real word...tineir? Tiny-er, I guess.) Well, hope you have a nice weekend, and Whitey re-surfaced from the woods. I'm with hubs, survival of the fit. And hopefully Whitey fits that bill. As Darwin wrote years back, "don't write a check in the deep dark woods, you cannot cash in the morning light." Or something to that effect. It's been a long time since school... Cheers tooya

Ha, my life is uninteresting, but I'm glad you see some interest in it. Thank goodness for husbands that operate the weedwacker, that thing always gives me trouble. I'm sure your other half agrees.

I believe you are right, arachnophobia is hardwired in us from back in our early days - when the only mammals were some rodent-like creatures. Those were rough times. A few million years has not quite dulled the PTSD.

I have heard mumblings of monster spiders in South America too. I think that continent might not be for me.

So Whitey did survive the night. I think partly because the predators gave up on my area for the time being. No sign of trouble for the last week.

That Darwin guy. He must have left lots of excellent quotes for the ages, and all of which I have forgotten.

Well, I wouldn't go quoting THAT particular Darwinian gem at a party or anything else of special occasion. Glad Whitey made it home in one piece. Hard life, being a chicken...

Bloody egg thief! On your date night too!!

How rude can a snake possibly be? And to eat my breakfast too! I have the sinking feeling he thinks he just discovered a buffet.

They will have to learn... The hard way!

EEK! I'd freak out if a snake was anywhere near my chooks, but more chance it's poisonous here!!! And btw, we have the same chickens!!! Cool.

I just heard recently some mention of the enormous variety of snakes you all have. In my part of FL we just have 4 venomous snakes, and I have yet to see any on my property. I do see 5 different types on non-venomous on my property on about a weekly basis. I find them fascinating. Elegant, and eerie at the same time. Not as elegant inside my coop though.

Unfortunately that pucture is of my favorite chicken that went on to that great chicken castle in the sky. Dominiques are cool chickens.

The magic of the moon draws one in and last night when we were driving home in the dark the full moon shone its beautiful light all round. Thank goodness I do not have chooks to settle at night, haha. But then I miss out on all the lovely fresh eggs...... hmmmmm.

So many other people had a date with that moon last night, the cheat ;) At present I am competing for my eggs with a snake and Big Dog, who likes to snatch an egg out of the basket the minute I have my back turned.

Gosh, I have not heard of a dog eating eggs before, Big Dog sounds like a real character!

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Howdy ginnyannette! wow, I assume the egg eating snake wasn't dangerous? And what about Whitey, she was okay and survived the night in the woods? Great writing!

Nope, he was a harmless and surprisingly friendly snake very appropriately named the red and yellow rat snake. Well, I guess if it was entirely an appropriate name he would have been called the red and yellow egg snake. Whitey survived that night...but unfortunately I could not get her in a few nights back and she disappeared for good. Now I'm trying to re-train her sister so she doesn't have the same fate.

Dang, chickens can be stubborn! Too stubborn for their own good, that's too bad. Good luck training her sister, I have no idea how you train chickens! lol.