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?