Friday, June 19, 2009

Skunk Patrol!

Remember how I told you about the skunk living under the concrete slab of our front porch and steps? Well, last night we had a skunk adventure. It was just getting dark and Dan was out mowing around the fruit trees. He looked over in the backyard and what did he see? A skunk scampering across the yard, followed by about 5 baby skunks! And what did Dan do? What any man would do(lol). He put the riding mower into high gear and zipped over there and chased the skunks away as far as he could. He said they ran away from him with their tails lifted up and he knew they were squirting their lovely scent as they ran. He wasn't crazy enough to get close enough to get sprayed (they have a 15 foot range).

Meanwhile I was inside blogging about our trip to St. Louis. Dan burst into the kitchen and told me what had happened and said he was going to try to block the way back into their den. We had gotten some mothballs which are supposed to repel them, so he stuffed them down the entry hole and then he began to pound stakes down into the ground next to the concrete sidewalk. He strung up as many lights as he could find because skunks are supposed to be scared of light. A little bit later he hollered for the radio and I brought it out. Dan was getting nervous that the skunks might come back and surprise him, so he thought the noise of the radio might also help keep them away. Here he is pounding in some stakes: What were you doing between 9:45 and 10:00 last night? Were you on skunk patrol? Dan came in and said, "I need you to watch for the skunks. I saw them over by the hill." Um, yeah, okay, just what I was hoping to do. So there I was, out in the yard, armed only with a flashlight, nervously scanning the yard for skunks. Meanwhile Dan was pounding in stakes as fast as he could, hoping to keep them out until he could put in a permanent barrier later.

As I scanned back and forth with the flashlight, I noticed a shadow under a tree that seemed out of place. I watched and sure enough, there they were. I watched them swarm about and they started scampering from tree to tree, looking for grubs. Dan took the flashlight and said he wanted to follow them and see where they going. Oh sure, no problem. Knock yourself out. Just don't get sprayed!

It was rather fascinating to watch the little creatures scurry about, looking for food. Until they started coming closer to the house. They were just oblivious to the flashlight, to the bright spotlights on the sidewalk, to the radio blaring loud music. Momma skunk was taking her babies back to the den. I, of course, was back in the house at this point. Dan was out on the driveway, just watching them. They got to their entry hole and the way was blocked! They swarmed and they swarmed, looking and digging for a way in. Then wouldn't you know, there in the last space next to the house, where Dan hadn't had time to put in a stake, they dug through and got back inside.

Here is an awful picture, but the best one I got. Sorry, I was not about to open the door to get a better one. There between the two stakes to the right and the third board, if you look close you can see something black and white. That is a skunk! The little babies were kind of cute, though.

After a little while, when no skunks reappeared, Dan put his riding mower away (it was there in the yard) and then came back and got the lights to put them away. I was watching the hole to see if the skunks came out. I was worried they might get in the garage. Dan came in the garage and closed the door and we thought that was it for the night. Then he looked out the back window and realized he had left the big shed open. So he went out on the deck to go close it and also immediately came back in, saying he thought he saw eyes out there. He got the flashlight and went out and what do you know, there was the momma skunk heading to the backyard. No babies with her this time. Then she started heading for the deck. Dan shone the light right at her and started hollering to try to scare her off, but she kept coming! Finally she changed course and went further out. Dan cautiously went out and shut the shed doors and made it back without getting sprayed. Whew! What an adventure.

Here was the scene this morning. There is the gap next to the wall where the skunks were able to dig down to get in their den. Notice Dan left some of his tools there. He was not anxious to spend too much time close to the skunk hole at night time, knowing the skunks were back in there.
And here is what those skunks did during the night. They dug out a new exit hole on the other side of the sidewalk. Life out in the country is an adventure to say the least. Dan says he considers this battle a tie. The skunks are still alive and still in their den, but no one got sprayed and he made some progress on the skunk barrier. Stay tuned for Skunk vs. Dan, part II, which is yet to happen!

3 comments:

Dawnie said...

Oh, wow! I had no idea skunks were so persistent! I hope Dan gets them soon!

House of Brungardt said...

Me too!! It is kind of creepy every time I walk out on the front porch, knowing there are skunks not far under my feet!

Janet

Dawnie said...

You'd think they wouldn't like living so close to people!