What's Down This Little Round Hole?

I may have been raised in the country and come from country folk, but I no longer live in the country.  I love my garden, "nature", and digging in the dirt, but I don't want any animals that are not large, furry, domesticated, and love me back (I struggle with cats but will deal with them if they are super smart and think they are really dogs).  I don't want any amphibians, lizards, snakes, or small things that resemble a rodent (this includes rabbits) unless they are dead and hanging around my neck as an ermine in the winter (That's right, hate on non fur people.  I will be the warm  one laughing with the chinchilla around my neck in the snow).  I will deal with fish as long as someone else feeds them (we all saw the tragedy with the Koi) and cleans their tank and I am not home when it happens.  I live IN THE CITY.  Not in anyplace that allots more than 1/2 of an acre for a home, not anyplace that has trees that were not planted there on purpose, and not anyplace that requires a riding mower or a hay baler.  All that Cruella stuff being said, I really do try not to mess with what naturally ends up in my yard.  I love the birds from a distance (my sis has a horror story about the filthy little things nesting in her house.  HORROR STORY), and I have left the warren of rabbits alone that live under my shed...for now.

After all of the earwig adventures last year, I thought that I would be better about defying the creepy crawly things in the garden. Not so much, it turns out. Just when I think it's just the bugs I need to fight, it seems I have a new friend (or foe. Not sure about him yet).  The life of a novice city gardener is never dull, that's for sure.          

This, my friends, is my garden ward, Jake the Snake.  He is a small garden snake (so I've been told) and lives in the rocks of my water feature.  Occasionally he falls into the water and I am forced to fish him out.  That has only happened in the colder weather.  He moved slower then.  I am OK with slower.  Now that summer is here, I haven't seen much of him until the other day.  I was weeding the bed at the water feature and happen to move some rocks and down that little round hole there happened to be a snakeskin.  Yep.  He's growing.  I can't tell you how thrilled I am to know that he has outgrown his skin (smell that?  It's sarcasm).  My science friend keeps telling me to "Leave that poor snake alone, sister.  He isn't bothering you and he's eating all of the critters you don't want in that yard!"  I am trying to be brave here, but it just makes me shiver every time I see him and think I could move a rock and find a 4 foot snake in there and both of us get the surprise of a lifetime.  Not a good scenario.  And it doesn't promise to improve.  Steven thinks we hire the demolition of the pond at the same time we do the patio and I worry that he will be there and I worry that he will be homeless.  My old neighbor next door kills them.  I don't really want him dead, just gone.  Like under the shed and far away gone.  Like I can't see him anymore but he's still taking care of critter business gone.  This is just too much to think about.  I'm verklempt about a damn garden snake .  Every time I am out in the yard and look around for him I think about a poem I know called, "What's down this little round hole?".  In my yard right now it's a snake down that little round hole.

I come from a long line of storytellers.  I am sure that shocks and astounds all of you, with my particular background in the theater.  But long before that, there was a storytelling tradition in my family that has been around for more generations than I can count.  My earliest and fondest memories are of my maternal grandma telling me stories and poems (you should see her version of Hiawatha while she is standing on top of a picnic table).  The poem below is one of hers and my momma tells it to my niece and nephews.  It is the beginning of a game that I can't recall right now.  It is so country (who else would have a gun in a children's poem for heaven sakes?) and it reminds me of my growing up years.  If I could just reconcile those two girls in me now, I would be all set with my friend Jake.  Until the demo crew comes, he is good to go...as long as he stays out of sight.

What's Down This Little Round Hole
Author Unknown

What's down this little round hole?
Bread and cheese
Where's my share?
In the woods
Where's the woods?
Fire burned it
Where's the fire  ?
Water killed it
Where's the water?
Ox drank it
Where's the ox?
Gun killed it
Where's the gun?
Hammer broke it
Where's the hammer?
Behind Grandpappy's old shed crackin' hickory nuts! 

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  1. Oh Jenn, the memories that have flooded back with that poem and Aunt Gee's Hiawatha! Thanks for sharing! We too have a snake that lurks around the fringes of our backyard. As long as I don't see him in the vicinity of our back porch, we can coexist..I guess. :)