This is our journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matthew 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Thrilla in the Cella’

It was a dark and, well, dry night because of the drought……..

It was a night like any other — I had to go down into the root cellar to grab a few things for the evening’s supper. I always wear my head lamp to see better in there and to keep my hands free…that’s what I do.

But something was different this time as I pulled open the large, heavy door…

Root Cellar Large Door Entrance

…descended the steps into the hard, cracked earth…

Root Cellar Steps

…and opened the non-creaky door into the pitch black room….

Root Cellar Small Door Entrance

The last time I had left the root cellar all of the jars and cans were neatly stacked and in order. It was nothing special — it’s just the way I left them.

But this time……..this time I warily stepped over the door threshold and gasped as my eyes met with jars toppled carelessly on top of each other:

Root Cellar Jars and Cans

And cans that had been ruthlessly knocked to the ground……

Root Cellar Cans on Ground

Now, having grown up in California, I would normally have said, “Oh, that must have been about a 5.2 on the Richter scale” and thought nothing of it. However, where we live in Texas has virtually no seismic activity, and even with the sonic booms we get around here that shake the ground beneath us, I skillfully deduced that some “one” — or some “thing”!! — must have caused this. Who or what could it be??????

AHA!!! A clue! It must be someone who left a long, skinny purse or boot behind! I was now hot on the trail to find the perpetrator and was impressed at my amazing talent for discerning clues:

Shed Snake Skin

Upon looking around for more clues, I noticed a strange-looking fellow on top of the cans of corn appearing very comfortable and using them as a bed. Maybe he had seen something along his travels through the root cellar and had the information to help me break this case wide open! I asked him if he knew what might be causing all of the ruckus upon which I had just stumbled. I couldn’t believe the bloke’s rudeness I encountered. He didn’t even turn his head to look at me, nor did he even acknowledge my existence!

Root Cellar Snake on Cans

I stepped closer and asked him again. Nothing! He just stuck his tongue out at me — how rude! His silence taunted me — perhaps he had the information I sought, and I was this close to finding out from him who the culprit was, but apparently I would receive no help from the likes of him. I looked carefully around the room for any other clues, however insignificant, that might help me solve this agrarian mystery, but to no avail:

Root Cellar Snake on Cans Close-up

With nothing else to go on, I left the root cellar that night, mystified as to what might have happened; and the questions remain to this day. I still wonder if the fellow I met down there knew something. Oh, well, I guess I will never know what caused the…….

thrilla in the cella’……!!!!




    Are snakes a common problem in root cellars? Despite the fact that I once chased a Pygmy Rattlesnake through the bushes and dispatched him with a mattock, they scare me.

  2. David and Susan Sifford

    Hello FLCATXOK,

    Being from the city originally, I at first was scared of most anything that moved out here:) I've had to be educated about snakes and spiders, etc. and now agree that, unless it's poisonous and poses a threat around the household, snakes and spiders can be a very good thing. So we actually welcome this snake down in our root cellar (I made very sure it was not a rattlesnake). He comes and goes as he pleases through various holes or up through the opening of the root cellar. He takes care of any mice or other insects down there. I see him in our barn every once in a while as well and just leave him be. If there were a bunch of them we might need to take action but it doesn't bother me much now. I'm nowhere near the point of picking them up to pet them or anything but I think I've gotten much better about looking at them with a proper perspective. I can't blame them when it's nice and dark and cool down there 🙂


  3. Mrs. V

    Ha Ha! Ya'll are funny. We had a snake resident(or do, maybe it's sleeping w/ the cooler temps.)come out of the hole from the plumbing in the mud room. There are black hoses connected to the inlet & I thought it was odd that the hoses were moving. Then the head! I yelled for Mike & he pulled out his pistol w/ snake shot, raised it, lowered it, raised it & lowered it again, intellectually not wanting to shoot in the house but his finger was as twitchy as I've ever seen it. Neither of us wanted to grab it & it found another inlet & just moseyed back into the wall. I'm not sure what else I expected him to do but I was glad he saw it w/ me so I couldn't be teased about imaginary snakes.

  4. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Mrs. V! Wow! That's quite a story in itself. Kind of unnerving, isn't it? Your husband was in quite a predicament, I'm sure, not wanting to shoot a pistol in the house. I'm glad everything worked out okay. Thanks for sharing and I hope you all are doing well!


  5. Ann from KY

    Some places just don't need to be shared! I vote for kicking him out and just setting a mouse trap! Hate to see him invite his relatives to move in with him! I am not really freaked out about snakes, but since it's dark, he's black colored and I get in a hurry to get stuff done, you could inadvertently pick him up by mistake grabbing some groceries!

  6. David and Susan Sifford

    Hello Ann,

    Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and for your comment! HaHa, yes, one thing I've learned living in Texas is to be aware of my surroundings at all times. Your vote has been counted! 🙂


  7. Michael B

    Clap! Clap! Clap! (Slow golf clap). Well played, Susan. Well played. I vote for keep the visitor. I'd rather be creeped out by a harmless crawler, then get diseases which are passed by vermin. Harmless snakes any time.


  8. David and Susan Sifford

    Thank you Mr. Bunker! Hmmmmm, harmless creep-out vs. disease and death. Ummmm, yeah! I'm with YOU!


  9. Anonymous

    I don't allow snakes of any sort around our farm here in Oklahoma. Because of the drought this last summer, we killed 21 copperheads, 4 pygmy rattlesnakes and 1 rat snake (which is what your snake looks like to me). The rat snake had been stealing my eggs but I caught him with 3 baby chicks in his belly. That was the end of him. By the way, rat snakes usually travel in pairs.

    Your house is really coming along nicely, I'm so happy for you.


  10. David and Susan Sifford

    Hello Manette,

    Wow – 21 copperheads! That's amazing. I think you may be right about ours being a rat snake. I did see another one with this one once before but not since. I haven't caught it with eggs yet and I don't believe it can get in with our chicks at this point but I agree with you he'd have to go if he was wreaking any havoc.

    Thanks very much for your comment!


  11. Anonymous

    I have tromped the back woods of Oklahoma all my life. God only knows how many copperheads, rattlesnakes, and water moccasins I have walked by. I agree with you ~ the poisonous ones have got to go when you find them. Another snake I have learned to love is the Prairie King snake. That one will eat all other snakes, including the poisonous ones! Look them up online. There are sites you can order them at to place around the farm. Yes, they will eat the chicks too if you let them! Emperor geese are very good at eating snakes and driving them away (and they don't eat chicks!)

  12. David and Susan Sifford

    Thank you, Anonymous, for the info! We appreciate it. We have found snakes (we believe rat snakes) in both our large chicken tractor and our mini chicken tractor where we put the newly hatched chicks in with their mama. Thankfully, the snakes have all been non-venomous so far. One we found had a chick in its mouth but we were able to save it just in time.


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