Lucky enough to have a horse.
Awareness of the outside world. No one lives unconnected. Weather is shared. Water is brought in, used, and released. Poison travels up the food chain.
Warning, nature in the raw.
To avoid spooking ophidiophobes, photo [HERE].
Incident 0: “When we first moved onto this property, I went to check the barn. A slight motion out of the corner of one eye resolved into a humongous rat on a rafter above the aisle. Panning back revealed an equally impressive snake looped back & forth over the other end of the rafter. I shut off the light, backed out of the barn, & left them to resolve their differences. Never saw either one of them again.” [Crush! Kill! Destroy!]
Flash forward. Barn is home to a family of rats. I feared for tack and electrical cords. Too environmentally conscious to use poison. Too soft to use live traps and deal with the sequelae. Looked into rat aversion therapy. Internet suggested hot pepper and Irish Spring soap. Bought soap; have not tried. So far, leaving it alone and letting nature take its course seems to be working.
Incident 1: Snake falls out of rafters with rat in jaws. Lands on unoccupied chair. Chair moved out of barn. When I got to the barn, large snake was wrapped around the chair back, attempting to load the rat butt first. I watched. I know snake jaws can crazy expand, but this was a lot of rat. No luck. Swapped around to try nose first. Geometry more in snake’s favor. I kept checking. Eventually snake fell off chair. Slithered off with snake snack. Never found out if it was successful in consuming said snack.
Annoyed that I lacked camera to document this. [Dead Phone]
Incident 2: I found a dead rat in the middle of the aisle. Head weirdly crushed. I later reasoned that this is what happens when a snake kills you and tries to eat your face. Was sorry that snakes were having so much trouble with their food.
Incident 3: Another snake fell out of the rafters. This time with rat wrapped in its coils. Since the rats use the ridge of the roof as a highway, the snakes use the ridge of the roof as rat fast food drive-through.
By the time I got to barn with phone, snake had dispatched rat and was attempting to eat. Had the same problems with as previous snake. Smaller rat, but smaller snake. Took photo.
Unlike the prior snake, my presence &/or the click of the camera caused alarm. It started to slither away. I left. It did not return. I scared it off or it gave up on the mega meal. Sorry dude, or dudette. I gave rat a sky burial into the woods.
Stay safe. Stay sane.