From Pipi’s Pasture: Skunks, skunks … everywhere a skunk | CraigDailyPress.com

From Pipi’s Pasture: Skunks, skunks … everywhere a skunk

Diane Prather/For Craig Press

We're not sure how many skunks live here at Pipi's Pasture. It might be one awfully busy skunk, though that's not likely. It might be several skunks. It might be a mother skunk and her young, because a few years ago, we saw a mama skunk walking across Pipi's Pasture, followed by baby skunks (the young were all in a straight line, like a mother duck and her babies).

Whatever the case, the skunks surely let us know they're around. Some evenings, just as a delightful breeze begins blowing through our bedroom window, an aggravated skunk sprays outside, likely to chase off the cats. Whew! What a smell.

At chore time in the morning, we come across the smell again, which allows us to figure out where the skunks were overnight. They visit the carport, where we store the grain (covered, thank goodness). They explore the corral area and hide under an old pickup truck — I'm surprised they don't spray the cows — and they are all around the house and outbuildings.

It's my habit to feed the outdoor cats in several locations. How lucky for the skunks! They don't even have to search for food. Once in awhile, I'm surprised to find a skunk eating out of the cat pans in the daylight. For a while, they crawled under the patio floor and, apparently, stayed there during the day. Sometimes, they even tried to take a food pan with them. We found the pan stuck in the crawl hole. Then, Lyle put fill dirt all around the patio floor, and the skunks were without a hiding place.

I remember one May morning when the cows were calving. I was watching Kitty, a cow that had just given birth to her calf. They were just over the yard fence. Kitty washed her new calf, then bedded down next to it. Suddenly, she got up. I thought she might be going to have another calf, but instead, she put her head down and began chasing something. A skunk scurried through the fence, into the yard.

That brings me to a few nights ago. Our granddaughter, Megan, and her dog, Jewel, have been staying with us. Late at night, when Lyle was ready to go outdoors for his final cigarette before bedtime, he took Jewel with him, attaching her leash to a fence panel so she could enjoy the night air. So, a few of nights ago, the smell of skunk came through the window — a particularly strong smell.

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Jewel was outside.

I thought, "Oh, no!" and I was right.

I expected the worst when Jewel came into the house. In fact, I expected her to not come into the house at all. However, things were not as bad as that. That awful skunk smell wasn't there, but she did smell a little like burnt rubber.

Megan rubbed stuff into her coat, and she has been able to stay in the house.

Jewel no longer goes outdoors with Lyle at night, and I have started bringing the cat food inside after dark.

And it's all because there are skunks, skunks … everywhere (or, maybe, one skunk is everywhere).