If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our March author interviews: Karen Pullen (3/1), Lowcountry Crime authors: Tina Whittle, Polly Iyer, Jonathan M. Bryant, and James M. Jackson (3/8), Annette Dashofy (3/15), Maddie Day (3/22) and Barb Ross (3/29).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in March: Maris Soule (3/4), and Virginia Mackey (3/11). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 3/18--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 3/25--Kait Carson.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for pre-order.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Skunk and I


It started with a slight whiff of that distinctive unpleasant odor. I was eating lunch with my cousins on my patio. I thought maybe a skunk had become a victim of road kill the night before, and the wind was wafting our way. Then I noticed a small black face peering from a hole under the sun room and realized it wasn’t a dead skunk in the distance, but a live one much closer.

And thus began a long battle waged between that most unwelcome resident and me. I tried tossing mothballs in the hole and piling used kitty litter by its entrance. I even resorted to placing a boom box on the floor of the sun room above its tunnel and turned it to rock music played at full blast while I escaped to the furthest garden to weed. I quit the music route after an hour. Even getting rid of the skunk wasn’t worth the torture to me.


My next ploy was to wait until it had been dark several hours; giving it time to leave on its nocturnal foraging hunt. Then I put a large cement block in front of the hole. I’d show him!

The next morning a fresh hole had been dug under the sun room nearby. But I was not to be defeated. I took pieces of old fencing and placed them on the ground butting up against the foundation anchoring them with heavy bricks. I covered all three sides of my sun room leaving only the skunk’s hole open. That night I blocked its hole. It worked, but it left a defiant calling card to let me know it was not happy with me.

Months later in the fall, I heard a sound almost like purring in my living room wall near the front door. Raccoon, I assumed. So I set my Have-a-Heart trap on the front porch baited with cat food. The first morning I discovered Harry Potter, my very unhappy barn cat. The next day it was a neighbor’s cat. I caught nothing for several nights, and then one morning I peeked out and saw something was in the trap. A skunk - Major problem.


I needed to leave for school in less than an hour. What was I to do with a trapped skunk? Extremely nervous, but not to be daunted, I put my oldest clothes on, went to the barn for a wheelbarrow and an old blanket, and came slowly around the corner holding the blanket in front of me while peeking around the edges so I wouldn’t fall against the cage. When I got close enough, I threw the blanket over the cage. With heart racing the whole time, I put the cage in the wheelbarrow and went as fast as I could with the wheelbarrow bumping up and down, around the house, through the back yard, past the barn, through a big open area until I passed the pond and stopped close to the woods. I carefully lifted the cage out of the wheelbarrow and placed it on the ground. Darn! When I peeked, the door was facing back towards the house. I turned it around with heart still racing and fumbled under the blanket to open. It doesn’t work as smoothly to release a skunk as it does a cat, believe me. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the critter left, not in its normally slow meandering gait, but racing full speed for the woods. I was triumphant woman! 



On Christmas Day the house was redolent with the smell of roast turkey, ham, and other goodies. I was expecting nearly twenty people that Christmas. My daughter, Susan, and her husband, Mike and my two little grandkids, Emilie and Jacob, were the first to arrive. Hugs and kisses and the little kids squealing with excitement and telling me what Santa had brought them. It was then that my enemy exacted his revenge. From under the front porch, apparently awakened by the delicious smells -- my enemy sprayed. That Christmas we had a mixture of smells competing. Eventually, although it’s hard to believe, we became slightly immune to it. A few nights later while I was reading and listening to quiet music, the skunk let go again. Obviously, I couldn’t put up with this any longer. My house reeked, my clothes held the odor so when I went places like to a doctor’s appointment or to school, people moved away from me. Washing my clothes didn’t help because the house was permeated with it.

So I called a trapper. He managed to catch several possums and a raccoon from under the front porch. He surmised that the skunk had been disturbed by his fellow roomies and that was why it sprayed. Eventually, he figured the skunk had moved on so he blocked up the entrance, and I wasn’t bothered with the critter again.


The following summer, my son saw a skunk come out of the woods in broad daylight. It was staggering and weaving. Obviously, it had something wrong with it. Maybe rabies so he shot it. It was heading for my house.





Although I wouldn’t want one Mrs. Eaton, a kinder-garten teacher for all four of my children, had a pet skunk she brought in almost every day. She got it as a baby, and apparently, had its scent gland removed. Mostly she kept it in a cage, but sometimes she let it wander around the room. I've heard they can be nice pets.





What interesting experiences have you had with animals – pleasant or unpleasant?


10 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

Over the years I’ve had a number of encounters with skunks. The one I remember best was shortly after I was divorced. I smelled an odor coming from the oven. Now, I can cook sufficiently to keep myself alive, but using the oven is not a high priority in my cooking. I thought some old grease left over from the ex had gone rancid or something. I tore it apart, cleaned it to a fair-the-well and came downstairs the next morning to a even stronger smell – a smell I now recognized as death.

To make what could be a long story, much shorter, here’s what happened: After tearing everything I could apart, I finally decided the smell was not in the oven/stove appliance. A skunk had died of natural causes underneath my deck, right next to the air intake for the stove fan. Since it was a cool late autumn, it had taken some time for the critter to give off that death-smell. I had to wriggle underneath the deck (I was slimmer then) and haul out the putrid carcass.

~ Jim

Grace Topping said...

Gloria, what a funny story. You were quite brave to deal with a skunk on your own. My experiences with wildlife involve trying to keep deer from eating all the shrubbery and flowers around our house and scare away the woodpeckers that attack our house. Right now we are attempting to repair holes in our wood siding the size of softballs. But at least the woodpeckers don't leave a disgusting smell.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Here's my skunk story: One summer when we lived in NE Ohio, I smelled skunk. I took the usual precautions: garbage cans in the garage,floodlights on while I walked the leashed dog after dark. One day, the neighbor's cat went down a hole under the concrete front porch. The cat's owner pulled her cat out, and told me we had an animal nest. Everything clicked. We had skunks. I called a trapper, who captured the mother before he emptied the nest and transported them to a rural area. I am very thankful the skunk never sprayed the dog.

Anonymous said...

Oh Gloria, I enjoyed reading this! Just glad I didn't have to smell it. LOL PS: I have been taking it easy after work, kind of tired and napping a bit. I have upload your chapters and will get them edited soon. I didn't forget you!

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, I once had a smell of something dead in my house and figured it was a dead mouse. Then when I had a furnace repairman out, he discovered the smell. There was a very dead baby possum in a smaller Have a Heart trap I'd set for a chipmunk I had in the house. The chipmunk must have found its own way out, but not so the young possum. That was before I had one basement wall fixed beside the crawl space under my kitchen.

Grace, I have vinyl siding so the woodpeckers don't bother my house, but that has to be a major problem.

Margaret you're lucky the skunk didn't spray your dog. A member of one of my book clubs told us about her Golden Retriever getting sprayed and dashed into the house spreading the smell all over the house. Yuck!

Laura, it was long before you started house sitting at my house to care for my animals when I went away on vacation. I'm glad you're napping and resting up in the evening. It takes some time to recover from surgery of any kind, I've heard.

Warren Bull said...

I had to deal with a dead possum. Yuk!

Becky Michael said...

Love these funny stories about interactions with pesky wildlife! These take me back to when I lived in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. My ex-husband and I had a huge raccoon (commonly referred to as "Lard Ass") that made it very difficult to keep the birdfeeder filled. I have a video of him hanging on, swinging, while trying to eat out of it. The most surprising event was one early spring when the hummingbird feeder, set up quite high right outside the kitchen window, had obviously been disturbed. As clues to what had transpired, we discovered what appeared to be muddy bear paw prints on the siding of the house. The neighbors told us later that day that they had seen the black bear leaving our yard!

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, any dead animal is yuck!

Becky, I have problems with raccoons, too, although they tend to just eat the seed under the bird feeders, or at times get into my chicken stall and kill chicken or steal their eggs. I
have had a few black bears go through my woods, but they're usually young males from PA who are looking for a place to live without taking on the big Alpha males. One year they totally wiped out my blueberry patch. Fortunately, I'd already picked a decent amount of blueberries.

KM Rockwood said...

Most disturbing thing we've had have been copperheads. A few in the basement, and a whole bunch of little ones in the woods by the driveway.

We've had to shot a few raccoons. While generally we operate on a ive-and-let-live policy, when a raccoon is out in broad daylight and trying to chew through the screen door, we made the assumption it was rabid.

Bats in the house aren't much fun, although there are so few bats these days, we haven't had that problem lately.

Fortunately, we seem to have avoided skunks.

Grace, we taped pieces of aluminum foil over the places where the woodpeckers began to attack (including a pileated woodpecker--talk about damage to the siding!)

Gloria Alden said...

KM I know there's a possibility of copperheads in my area, but I've never seen any, nor have I seen rattlesnakes.

When raccoons get into my chicken coop, I have to trap them and let my son take care of them.

I used to get bats before my son added up from what was an attic. I never had a problem catching them while my daughter cowered in a bathroom with the door closed.