And with everything else going on this last few days, we had skunks.
We have two dogs, Australian Shepherds and we live in a canyon with coyotes, hawks, obviously skunks.......
Thursday: I got home from the Arlington Gardens to be greeted at our driveway gate with a long remembered smell: "eau de skunk". We hadn't had any skunk problems since our old dogs departed this world about 8 years ago but boy, is it a recognizable smell. Drat, rats and phooey were of course the first words out of my mouth as I got back in the car and drove to the pet store to get the skunk removal juice. Home again. Poured it over both dogs' heads, rubbed it in.......and then the dogs went out in the back yard and pointed to a dead (almost dead it turned out) baby skunk. They had been playing with the poor little thing whose tail was still twitching just in case the dogs came back. So, baby skunk bites the dust.
Friday: Over at the Gardens, again, setting up the racks for the painting sales. Husband takes the dogs to the groomers to get them washed to get rid of skunk. Come home. Eau de skunk once again on the dogs' muzzles only this time they're pointing me to a truly dead baby skunk right by the back door. Skunk is removed to the trash, dogs' muzzles are once again washed down with skunk removal stuff and I think we should be done.
Meanwhile husband has gone on the internet reading up on skunks and their habits. He comes back into the room and announces "Skunks mate in March. Skunks have litters of 4-5 kits. Skunks this, Skunks that."
So now we're thinking "Great!" There are more babies where the first two came from. But a grown skunk has yet to appear.
Saturday: Home absolutely exhausted from the Garden Party. Eau de skunk again but no dead skunk can I find. I frantically call the Humane Society to rent a "have a heart" trap...the kind that when the animal goes in, the door slams shut. The Humane Society assumes it's kinda like trapping a feral cat: Put a can of stinky mackerel cat food in the cage and "they will come". Using dog fencing, I put the trap behind the garage where the dogs hopefully can't get at it or any skunk who might become trapped.
Sunday: I race out behind the garage and lo and behold, there's a baby in the cage. This makes 3 that we know about. I get the barbecue tongs and lift him out of the cage and drop him, very much alive and very stinky into a garbage can so he can't run away. Are there any more?
I go out behind the garage about 20 minutes later and !!! There are 4 more of the little devils rummaging around the cage. It becomes a scene out of Groundhog Day and "Bop-A-Mole", the game at the carnivals. I am frantically grabbing at these little suckers who are moving fast through the holes in the fence. I have the bbq tongs, they have squirting tails.......I get those tongs on 3 more of the little suckers, dropping them into the trash can, going back to try to grab another.........I end up with 4 in the trash can very much alive.
I drive off to my oil painting class, worried as heck. It's hot, those babies are kinda in the sun, they have no mom evidently.........my husband calls the Humane Society and explains that there's been no mom in evidence and we're worried about the babies. We're especially worried because we know there's one more out there! Humane Society comes within 20 minutes and picks up the babies and tells my husband that there are people who will bottle feed them until they're big enough to be released in the canyon. That makes us feel not quite so barbaric.
Now, Sunday night, we're looking for number 7. We can't let the dogs loose in the yard. I go check behind the garage twice for that last baby. No luck. We relax and put the dogs out and within 32 seconds, or so it seems, they're screaming back to the house with the last baby in one of the dog's mouths.
Done. Poured some more "eau de skunk" removal liquid on their snouts.
Poor baby skunks. No mom. Lost 3 siblings.
It's 9:30. Off to bed and a good book. If you haven't read "Tinkers", last year's Pulitzer Prize winner, do. If you haven't read "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson, do. If you haven't read Ellen Gilchrist's collection of essays that she read on NPR, do.
See you next week.