This morning after chores, the kids and I washed the van together...we had lots of fun!Then I started to clean out a small landscaped area near the house. It was full of last autumn's fallen leaves and acorns, so I raked it all out; I found a few random toys hidden in there, and I also found this...After looking it up on the Internet and deciding that it was a Smooth Earth Snake (I had never heard of that one before!), I called Bruce to consult with him on what we should do about it. Since it's non-venomous, it didn't get the automatic chop. But we decided that since it eats earthworms (and we don't want our earthworm population depleted) and it doesn't helpfully eat venomous snakes (like a king snake does), and it is not a protected species around here, that I would remove it...permanently. (I managed it in one clean hack -- even David was impressed!) I thought that perhaps you northerners would like to see what happens to a snow shovel when its family moves it down south. It becomes a scoop-leaves-off-the-cement shovel. Also notice my new rain barrel (my dad will be happy to hear that this one is made of foam...I have another one made of wood that he has had to 'doctor up' several times to make it hold water!). After I hacksawed the downspout to shorten it, I managed to slice three of my knuckles while wrestling the end piece back on...but I won, and that's the important part! While I was reorganizing the garage, I came across this big boy! It made me miss my chickens -- they LOVE to eat slugs! And although I don't actually want slugs to live in the garage, I figured it was better to find it there rather than in the garden. :) (...and yes, we removed him as well.)Once those jobs were done, we took a picnic lunch down to the pool and enjoyed several hours of relaxing there. David alternately played in the (still chilly) water and laid in the sunshine to warm back up again; Abigail and I laid in lounge chairs, sipping lemonade and reading our books. I meant to take pictures of the kids, but...I forgot. Now dinner is in the oven and I'm going to squeeze in one last load of laundry and do the last tidy-up of the day. Ahhhh, summer!!!