Feed on

Years ago, we had a skunk living under our front porch, just below the bedroom window.  She was there for months and she had a slow leak.  Some nights the smell kept us awake.  It was impervious to windows and siding and in particular did not respond to rage.

Occasionally, she’d fire a warning shot, as if to remind us, I’m still heeeere!

One day on a hike I cracked my water bottle, only to be assaulted by a wave of skunk.  The smell had gotten into my water bottle.

If we had her trapped she’d have to be killed.  That wasn’t gonna happen, so we stood on the porch in the relative safety of daylight and considered our options.  What were we gonna do?

My husband was not a happy man, but we were devoted to the sanctity of life.  I was more philosophical.  Someday I’ll be dead and this won’t matter, I thought.  We stared at the hole.

I knelt down.  “Listen toots,” I hissed, “This is my house.  If we’re gonna be roommates you’re going to have to behave.  No more blasting.  And if you spray my cats I’ll have you trapped.  If we trap you, you’ll be killed.”

*Cricket* Was she home?  We went inside.

For a time, everything was in order.  There were no blasts, the cats showed no interest and the only evidence was that chronic, low-level stench, a suggestion of skunk.  I sensed she was trying.

For our patience and understanding and in due course, we were rewarded with the gift of 4 baby skunks.  I found them at 3:00 in the afternoon, asleep in a disorganized pile on our front lawn.  They were the size of 8-week-old kittens.   Oh, of course .  .  .

My husband sprang into action.  He walked up and down our street, asking the neighbors to keep their dogs on a leash when they walked near our house.   He called the local skunk expert, who told him that the babies didn’t know they were nocturnal yet and that once they’d sorted out the Skunk thing the whole team would depart for Open Space.

Well, what a coincidence.  We have acres and acres of the stuff in our town.  For those of you who appreciate irony, I can throw a rock and hit Open Space from my front lawn;  it sparkles seductively at the end of our street.   It’s redolent with the siren songs of meadowlarks, owls and coyotes, and it’s littered with brush and hollow trees that cry out for a nice little skunk family to–oh, forget it.   We had a big problem, and it was smelly.

The babies stirred in the sun.

Next Up: The Skunk under the Porch, Part II

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