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


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

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. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


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 order.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

THE SKUNK AND i


A recent article in my newspaper told about a skunk crawling into a 13-year-old boy’s bed one night in Connecticut. They think it was because there was a hole in the trash container one of the residents in the house brought in. How it got to the boy’s bed no one knows. It made me think of my skunk problem that I blogged about over five years ago with only three current members with us then. So maybe they won’t remember it or maybe not mind reading it again.

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 sunroom 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 sunroom 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 idea 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 sunroom 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 sunroom leaving only the skunk’s hole open. Late 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. A 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. I caught nothing for several nights and then it was my neighbor’s cat.

Then one morning as I was getting ready for school I peeked out and something mostly black in the trap. A skunk. A major problem. I needed to leave for school in less than an hour. What was I to do with a trapped skunk on my front porch?

Extremely nervous but not to be daunted, I put on my oldest clothes and went to the barn for a wheelbarrow and an old blanket, and came slowly around the corner of the house holding the blanket in front of me while peeking around the edges. When I got close enough, I threw the blanket over the cage. With my heart racing the whole time, I put the cage in the wheelbarrow.

I went as fast as I could with wheelbarrow bumping up and down, around the house, through the backyard, past the barn and through a big open area and past the barn until I was close to the woods. I carefully lifted the cage out of the wheelbarrow and placed it on the ground. When I peeked under the blanket, the door was facing back towards the house. Darn! I turned it around facing towards the woods and with heart still racing, I fumbled under the blanket to open the cage door. 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!

A kindergarten teacher in my kids' school had a pet skunk.

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 ones squealing with excitement and telling me what Santa had brought them. T was then that my enemy exacted its revenge. From under the front porch, apparently awakened by the delicious smells, my enemy sprayed with the smells coming in the cracks in the basement walls. 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 back to school, people moved away from me. Washing 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 and heading for my house. Obviously it had something wrong with it. Maybe rabies, so he shot it.



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

13 comments:

KM Rockwood said...

We have lots of skunks around, but fortunately we've never had one right around the house. I wonder if six cats have anything to do with that.

We have, however, had a few run-ins with copperheads.

Gloria Alden said...

KM I haven't seen any skunks since the last one, but that doesn't mean they're not out there.
I imagine they come to check out what feed is under the bird feeders. As for copperheads, I've never seen any around my place. I have garter and milk snakes. Until I had a gap fixed
in one wall in my basement I occasionally got them into my basement because I have a crawl
space under my kitchen that was never dug out. Because they're not poisonous, I'm not afraid of them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gloria, Why are skunk stories so funny when it isn't happening to you?! All those good Christmas smells and then... YUCK! Skunks are soft and pretty but potent. I heard a story where a family took in a baby skunk, used rubberbands tightly wound around the scent sac until it dried up and fell off. They thought. Until a family dinner where someone dropped food and snatched it away from little skunkie who disagreed and let it be known with an odorous giant squirt! Here the skunk was a male and instead of de-scenting him, they had... uhmm... neutered him. They had to throw the table away! LOL

Gloria Alden said...

There was a kindergarten teacher in my kids school who had a pet skunk who was de-scented and was quite a friendly little fellow. She brought him in to school with her The kids loved him.
That was a terrible thing to happen to the family. I think the teacher had a vet remove the scent sac from him.

Margaret Turkevich said...

We have a freshly dug hole under our concrete slab front porch. I'm keeping an eye on it, hoping it's "just" a rabbit nest instead of a raccoon, opossum, or skunk.

It's always something, isn't it?

Grace Topping said...

What a terrible situation--especially on Christmas. But I know what you mean about having people look at your strangely because of the odor. My mother once won a large bottle of whiskey as a door prize. She divided it, giving away half and storing the remaining whiskey in a bottle, which she placed on the shelf of our coat closet. The thing she didn't realize is that you need to leave a little air space in the bottle. It exploded one night, drenching all our winter coats in whiskey. After that, we never went to church that people didn't look at us strangely.

Gloria Alden said...

Margaret, I hope it's not a skunk. Rabbits aren't so bad unless they eat all your vegetable
garden like they did last year. No vegetable garden this year. I decided not to plant one even though I bought seeds.

Grace that sounds funny now, but I'm sure it wasn't at the time. Even if I had taken my clothes to a laundromat or a dry cleaner it wouldn't have helped after I brought them home.
Thankfully, the smell eventually went away or I just got used to it.

Julie Tollefson said...

Awful! We had a skunk living under our front porch at our old house. Like you, we tried blocking its hole and filling its tunnel numerous times. It finally left, but for quite awhile, we never knew what to expect when we used our front door!

Jim Jackson said...

Sixty years ago at our family camp in the Ontario Lake District, we were having problems with porcupines eating tires for the salt and brake lines for the sweet-tasting fluid (and so the cars were snow-fenced in). Raccoons periodically got into the garbage, which were were now storing in a box that had once contained dynamite. It's top had a spring on it to keep it closed and latched shut with an eye hook, which the raccoons sometimes could get loose and then he'd get inside and feast on whatever.

Around 2:00 am one morning, my grandparents woke up to sounds of animal(s) rummaging around in the garbage box. My grandfather loaded his .22 and went out to explore by moonlight. The animal was in the box. He carefully positioned himself, kicked the top open and as he pulled the trigger before the lid came crashing down, he realized the creature was facing away from him and had a white stripe going down its back.

My grandfather spent several hours in the lake, his clothes were burned, and a couple weeks later when my parents, sister, and I came up for our vacation, the odor of skunk still hung around the corner of the log cabin where the spray had hit.

~ Jim

Shari Randall said...

Gloria, how awful! But you defeated it. Yeah!
When we moved into our new house, a skunk would go by every night around 2-3 a.m. I was on his path to a neighbor's house. The neighbor would leave peanuts scattered around her house to feed critters. At least it was just walking by our house to get to the buffet. I hope he doesn't decide to stop here.

Gloria Alden said...

Julie, I'm glad he left without spraying. You were lucky about that.

What a story that was, Jim. Your poor grandfather. When I was camping one night with my son, daughter-in-law and two little grandchildren, I skunk wandered into our campsite as we sat around the fire. The little ones were in bed and my daughter-in-law headed for the pop-up camper. Remembering something I'd heard, I shined my flashlight on the ground in front of the skunk and the skunk followed the light as I continued to move the light further and further into the woods until he left and didn't come back.

Shari, it probably won't bother to stop at your place unless you have a bird feeder. The birds tend to scatter seed on the ground which attracts possums, raccoons and skunks at
night and rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks by day.

Warren Bull said...

I've had squirrels that fell down a chimney and left sooty footprints on the floor.

Gloria Alden said...

Not quite as bad as a skunk, Warren, but still annoying, I'm sure.