Thank you to those of you who have come forward with suggestions to stop the snake. I had hoped to surround the chicken pen with crushed mothballs last night. But I teach Capstone until 9.35pm so by the time I got home it was dark.
ALSO, my husband hadn't got home until after dusk and went to get the eggs only to find the snake in the nest box with "two eggs close to the head end"!
So will get to work with the moth balls once s/he has left.
This diet is beginning to feel more realistic because our water softener has decided to give up the ghost. :(
This means that everything will be covered in limescale before you can say the word.
SO...today I will have to buy water to cook with until the plumber can come. Admittedly it is not the same as having to walk to the well and bring it back in buckets but it serves as a timely reminder of how much we take for granted.