From Pipi’s Pasture: Dodging the little stinkers
Lately some young skunks here at Pipi’s Pasture have been getting our attention. We’re not sure just how many there are — at least two and maybe even three or four. They’re rather small, so we think the skunks are from a litter of babies that were born here, maybe even under a storage shed in the yard. So far, these small skunks haven’t raised a “stink,” thank goodness.
It’s not that we haven’t had skunks around here before. I’ve written about how they have been brave enough to come out in the back and front yards and how they took cover under the patio, until Lyle filled in some holes with dirt. Their attraction to the house and corral area is probably due to the food and water I leave out for the cats.
During summer, the larger skunks were out at night, tangling with the cats and leaving their spray around the house, so the night air had a disagreeable odor, indeed. One night, before bedtime, our granddaughter Megan’s dog Jewel was outside on her leash, which was hooked to a panel near the shop. We smelled skunk, and when we brought her inside, Jewel smelled a little like burned rubber — not enough to be really horrible but enough for us to realize we couldn’t leave her alone outdoors after dark. She had apparently brushed against a place that had been sprayed by the skunk.
Then, suddenly, the larger skunk (or skunks) was replaced by the smaller ones. One night, Lyle went out to the shop, and when he came back to the house, a small skunk was standing on the porch, blocking the door. He was eating cat food from a container I leave there for Bud and Patches. Lyle had to wait until the skunk left before he could come inside. (Now, we put up the cat food before dark.)
Then, a couple of mornings later while we were doing chore at the corral, Megan called to me.
“Grandma, watch out for the skunk!”
The young skunk was happily eating food out of the cat pan. The cats sat around watching him. We worked around the skunk, and he finally ran into the corral and under a pile of lumber and tin left by the bulls when they tore down a shed.
Then, just a few nights ago, Megan and Jewel were outside after dark. When they got ready to come back inside, a skunk was sitting on the front porch, next to the door.
“No problem,” thought Megan. “We’ll just go around to the back door.”
But when they got there, they found another skunk. They had to wait until the skunk left the front door.
And, so it goes. When we’re choring, it isn’t long until a little skunk comes along, tips the food pan to one side, and begins to eat. A skunk is often on the patio when I’m attaching the hose to the faucet, even backing up and moving forward as if he wants to charge me. (I’ve been making sure his tail is pointed away from me.) A skunk runs out from under my office cottage or a skunk runs out from under the shed, and skunks have been in the carport where we store the grain.
It’s only a matter of time before someone gets sprayed!
So much for the models that predicted a cool, wet summer for us here in western Colorado — at least I think it’s hot this July. Ranchers are probably relieved that it’s been a good haying season, and after the cool spring, it’s nice to have a “normal” summer, but it is indeed hot.