What’s Black and White?

LeAnn posted this blog on Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 at 9:15 pm

After I came home from the meeting I covered for the newspaper Tuesday evening, Randy turned on the small television we have in the kitchen, and suddenly, there it was. A PBS special. About something near and dear to my heart.

Well, not near and dear to my heart, necessarily. More near to the back porch.

I am talking about skunks.

I have to say that in my entire life, I have never been around as many skunks as we have had around there this fall. I have surprised them in the barn at night after dark. On the back step. When I was coming out of the house by the basement door. I’ve seen them scampering up the driveway. And scampering around the corner of the house.

I put out a handful of cat food on the back step for a barn cat we have named Long John Silver. He is, of course, a large, gray cat. And a really friendly sort with a deep rumbling purr. Long John used to come in our walkout basement at night. Until his brother was killed two years ago. Since then, it is like he is claustrophobic and can’t stand being shut inside. I don’t know what happened to his brother. I found him down by the garden with a single wound to his neck. It looked like a bite mark.

Anyway, I put out food for Long John. And this summer and during the fall, the skunks found Long John’s food, too. They’d be out on the back porch crunching away, and I’d flip on the light. Didn’t bother them a bit. They just kept right on munching. I have growled at them. Hissed at them. Clapped my hands at them. Stomped my feet at them.Talked to them. Sang to them. Nothing seems to bother them much. Sometimes when I growl, though, they will take off running.

Did you know that skunks run in a zig-zag evasive maneuver? I didn’t either, until I watched them a few times.

Sometimes they would hide under the porch after I tried to scare them off. Then Randy got the brilliant idea to light a sparkler and hold it under the porch.

We have discovered skunks don’t like sparklers.

After the sparklers, I noticed they were more willing to run off when I hiss or growl. One of them got so it would scamper around the house when I opened the door. Almost like a game.

I have become not nearly as wary of skunks after I read that they only spray in an emergency when they think they have no other choice.

I guess the one I ran over this summer didn’t think he had any choice.

When I say I “ran over” him — actually the skunk ran under the truck.

I had no idea they could spray and run at the same time. The skunk ran out the same side he ran in.

Good thing I was only a half mile from home.

Or I should “we.” Randy was with me. He made a funny little gasping noise when the skunk ran under the truck.

As soon as we got home, my husband hooked up the hose and a handy-dandy little sprayer device with a plastic bottle on it. I filled the sprayer with vinegar and detergent, and he sprayed off the bottom of my truck.

I got out a can of Febreeze and sprayed the inside of the truck.

I carried the can of Febreeze with me for a few weeks.

In time, the skunk smell went away.

I couldn’t help myself when the guy on the PBS special was hand-raising orphaned baby skunks.

They were adorable.

When I said, “They are ADORABLE!” Randy had one thing to say — “No, you are not getting one.”

I can’t help it. I still think they were adorable.

Actually, the ones I’ve seen around here are really rather cute, too. As long as they are scampering away.

LeAnn R. Ralph
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

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