These memories came flashing back to me tonight as my husband brought home a little friend he found wandering around a building in his office: a baby garter snake. The reptile traveled to our home in a disposable quart sized paint bucket and had paper rubber-banded to the top with poke holes for air. The kids were nervous and excited as the bucket was placed on its side in the bathtub and a little head the size of a raisin peered out, tongue flicking. He was tiny and curious, and sort of freaked out a bit when it saw the camera lens move in closer.
In case you are wondering, we did name the snake. We called him "Packer" because he got stuck to some packing tape that was originally used as a lid to the bucket. After some time in the bathtub, providing entertainment for the kids, Packer was released in our backyard garden. It didn't take him long before he slithered into the Black Eyed Susan plant, where a frog promptly hopped away in a panic. We hope Packer will feel at home in our garden (and not in our house) and we suspect he will be in good company with the honey bees and humming birds.