Fenix and the Electric Snake

This is a true story. It took place about 20 years ago when first we moved to Virginia. My husband and I had two small children and three Ibizans. Fenix a dashing young mature male and his two consorts, Nubia, the droll, and Luna, the dainty. We moved into an old-fashioned farmhouse with one of the few wonderful family farm stable barns left in existence. We bought milk goats and chickens and went back to my roots, or rather my Grandparents roots.

The first thing we did was fence several acres with electric fence, both for stock and dogs. My Ibizans never bothered our goats. Once in an emergency situation Fenix was left with a goat that kidded while we were gone. Fenix was so reliable he would never dream of harming them. This was the same dog that ate the leavings when we butchered for meat. Surely, in their native Spain they could not go about chasing stock. I would not trust my current youngsters. We have not kept a flock for some years.

Fenix was an intelligent, affectionate and very masculine boy. He loved to show off his bravery and expertise in front of his girls. One of these talents was snake killing! We had many huge black Rat Snakes on the farm, six foot plus. I went to great length to protect them as true to their names they ate vermin that gather at any farm. Fenix would go all Black Stallion on them. Snatching them by the tail and flinging them about, rearing and trampling. The girls would stand back and admire his prowess. Fenix was very much in love with little Luna, Nubia was seldom impressed. Poor Fenix he did not get to breed Luna but fathered a litter from the dominant Nubia. Nubia allowed him one breeding, said thanks a lot and went on to have eight puppies.

There was one very large Black Rat snake that lived in the hen house. When I lifted the hen, he was underneath of her waiting for eggs. I knew him because he had a line of hash marks down his back, mementos of a run in with a mowing machine. Any way, one day Fenix and the girls were out in the pasture when he found that snake in the open. Oh, he put on such a show of rearing and trampling! As I moved in to intervene, Fenix moved closer to the fence! He understood the fence and would patiently wait for rabbits to come into the middle of the field. But he was distracted. When he snatched up the very angry snake by the tail and began swinging it around his head, the snake connected with the fence! Fenix screamed like a girl, the snake went flying over the fence. Fenix terrified ran and hid, trembling behind the barn. Peaking around to see if this had been observed by myself and the girls the humiliated hero shamefacedly retreated to the house. The girls were not impressed. I went to check on the poor snake. There he lay, white belly up. Looking dead indeed! Slowly, slowly, he righted himself and a dazed look, crawled away, a wiser and more cautious reptile. I don't think Fenix ever messed with snakes again. He was convinced there was a new variety of Electric Snakes in Virginia.

Fenix always respected the electric fence. I was able to give the Ibizans vast stretches of land to run in. He never challenged it even years after I stopped using it. I would take the then very old Fenix out into the pasture for old time's sake. I could have used string! And he was watchful for snakes.

Nan, 2012