Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It could only mean one thing

All the windows are open,

all the candles are lit,

and an industrial-sized fan sits by the crawl space door drawing air out from under the house. If you guessed the skunk is back, you'd be right!

We managed to live here about 7 years before we experienced what can be an extremely unpleasant occurrence, when a skunk decides to eplore under the house. Sometimes the smell can be so bad that it's clear the skunk has sprayed under there. Other times we wonder if maybe he's sprayed the groundhog that also goes under the house. This time it's not so bad, but a good airing out is in order.

Used to be I thought we were just unlucky in this regard, that we were the only people so negatively affected by the critters we live with, but the more people I talk to, the more I realize we are not alone. One day a woman drove up the driveway, as random strangers often do out here, and she wanted to talk with me about getting up our hay. She said she lived in an old farmhouse further out, and out of nowhere asked me if the skunks liked to spray under the house. I was floored. It was good to know we weren't the only ones, but more importantly I was relieved to know it wasn't something WE were doing wrong.

As I chat with more folks who've lived out here a long time, I find that the skunk thing is well known and not rare. Also, it seems most folks out here also have the random mouse that dies under the house, smells for 3 days and then returns to normal. The same people also regularly battle ants. If you live in the country and this hasn't happened to you, consider yourself lucky. If you live in the city or the burbs and dream of country living, consider yourself informed. And if you don't think you can stomach being "one" with nature, don't move.

But if you're on the fence, consider this, you could also enjoy watching the deer early in the morning and at dusk who come to nibble on the alfalfa in the field just beyond the back yard.

Luckily my anti-hunting and anti-gun husband has had enough of the vermin. Yes, they've impacted us so strongly that his groundhog count is up to about 8 and the skunk count is at 1. We thought we were rid of the skunk, but as I've said before, just as one is gone nature supplies another to slip right into its place.

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