Monday, May 16, 2011

The Skunk Whisperer

There is an old joke about a little boy who embarrassed his mother in public by loudly proclaiming he had to pee. She told him severely, "Next time you have to pee tell me you have to whisper. It sounds nicer."

That night the little boy came and woke his father.

"Daddy, I have to whisper," he hissed.

His father groggily responded, "OK, son. Just whisper in Daddy's ear."

I AM the Skunk Whisperer.

One of the funny little quirks about my house is its history of skunkiness. Through the years a number of skunks have taken up temporary residence under the house. They were quite comfortable until their cozy den was invaded by the Grim Reaper. It was with sadness, but a distinct feeling of inevitability, that I arose one morning to find twin burrows dug under my foundation. Evidently the local housing shortage has carried over into the wildlife population and they are putting up condos now.

I anticipated a tragic dissonance of species, one that would make even the innocent parties socially unwelcome, but nothing has been forthcoming. Now I know it is because of my hitherto undiscovered powers as the Skunk Whisperer.

Last Sunday Laura and I undertook to walk to Westby. It was a lovely morning; the birds were singing, the sun was shining, the air was crisp. And I had to whisper. There ARE no bushes or trees around here to give the desperate aging female relief. The only recourse is to find an abandoned farm building and use it for a privacy screen. No problem there; I like old farm buildings and I just happened to be passing one at the moment.

I did my business behind the building and went around front to explore. I'm a firm believer that there is treasure everywhere and I don't like to let an opportunity pass me by. But maybe I will in the future, at least until hibernation season, because around the corner I came face to face with a skunk. I didn't even see it until I was only 8 or so feet away, but, recognizing my special powers, it was not even alarmed. Delighted as I was to showcase my new talent, I still lost no time in getting out of there. No sense in pushing my luck.

The skunks are still under my house I presume. I can't get under there to check because the whole thing is still flooded from the spring melt, but that doesn't make a whole lot of practical difference. Skunk Whisperer or not, I'm still not crawling under there! So we live in a cautious detente, the skunks delighted with their sweet set-up....24 hr. access to water, a rodent population, no harassment from predators. It's even lighted because there's a shop light plugged in under there I can't get to because of the water.

Maybe they'll leave after they raise their young....Maybe.

1 comment:

  1. There are skunks in our neighborhood, and my husband thinks they have taken up residence underneath our screen porch. He's trying to come up with some way to persuade them to move along. Sigh... I personally preferred the groundhog family who used to live under our tool shed -- they were cute and fun to watch and didn't have many annoying habits, except that they liked the taste of some of my flowers. I loved seeing their little babies in the spring! But our favorites are the chipmunks. Last summer my daughter trained quite a few of them to eat out of her hand. I hope when they come out this spring they'll remember everything she taught them.