From Pipi’s Pasture: A strange year
By now you may be thinking that you’ve read enough about skunks—too much, perhaps–, but I hope you will bear with me because this week’s column begins with a useful recipe for getting rid of skunk odor. The recipe comes from my sister, Darlene Blackford, who lives at Rocky Ford. She has mixed up the solution and tried it out on her dog, Bugsy, with success.
Dogs are particularly vulnerable for being sprayed by skunks because they’re curious. They can’t help putting their noses on skunks and sometimes try to attack them. Bugsy has been in contact with at least one half-grown skunk on more than one occasion this summer. While he hasn’t tangled with the skunk in an aggressive enough manner to get a “full-blown” spraying, he has ended up with skunk odor on his face. So Darlene mixes up the following solution and applies it to his face with a cloth, avoiding his eyes. Darlene doesn’t rinse it off, but she says Bugsy rubs his head in the dirt afterward. Otherwise, he doesn’t seem to mind the “skunk off” procedure.
To make this solution, mix a quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, ¼ cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon liquid detergent. Darlene doesn’t know how well the solution “keeps” because she uses the whole quart to treat Bugsy’s face. She reports that the treatment gets rid of the skunk odor. I don’t think she’s tried it on anything else.
Luckily, I haven’t had to deal with any animals being sprayed by the skunks here; in fact, I haven’t even seen a skunk the past few days. The cat food and water pans are empty in the mornings, however, so some animal is coming onto the porch.
Recently, I have seen two animals that aren’t common to Pipi’s Pasture—in fact, I haven’t ever seen them here. The first was a walking stick insect. I was out on the front porch, ready to come inside, when I noticed the walking stick just off the little step up into the front door. He was fairly large, comprised of a flat, stick-like body and long legs. I marveled at the sight. Although I know about walking sticks from my biology training, I don’t think I have ever seen a live walking stick before—and certainly not here at Pipi’s Pasture.
Alas, a black and white barn cat saw the insect, too, and before I could get him stopped, the fascinated cat killed and ate the walking stick. I have not seen one since.
Even more remarkable was the sight of a porcupine when I came from chores the other morning. It was walking—kind of sliding—along on the front lawn with its head down as though looking for something. I had to rub my eyes because, although I know about porcupines from the Morapos ranch, I have never seen one at Pipi’s Pasture before. He ambled off toward the lilac bushes, and I have not seen him since.
One thing is for sure—it’s a strange year.
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