Friday, 4 September 2009

Texas Wildlife, Up Close and Personal

Living in the hill country affords many pleasures that city dwellers don't even know they are missing. For example, the twinge of delight one feels when driving up and finding deer grazing on the front lawn; or when walking the dog at night and realizing that Orion's Belt and the Big Dipper are just out of arms reach. Another amazing perk of country living is this--if I decide to leave my curtains open, nobody's gonna walk by and witness the state of my undress. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved, I assure you.

howEVER...There are one or two drawbacks. The first goes back to those lovely deer grazing in the yard. Those blasted beasts eat EVERYTHING you plant, so unless you have 10 foot fencing surrounding the entire perimeter of your property, don't even bother planting anything besides cactus and sage! Whoa--sorry...I sorta blacked out there for a second...Anyway, as I was saying, there can be some challenges unique to living outside the city. I experienced one of those when I forgot to close the garage door last Friday night. No, there weren't burglars passing through, it was much, much worse. A potential vandal took up residence in the garage. The dog apprised me of the situation Saturday afternoon. At first I thought a field mouse had gotten in. Then, getting on my hands and knees to look under the storage shelves, I saw it was WAY bigger than a mouse. Probably a cat. Then came the smell. We all know what looks like a cat yet smells like a prison outhouse in the middle of August, don't we? A large skunk was in my garage with a dog harassing it and boxes of things I haven't unpacked innocently sitting right at ground zero. Luckily, I was able to get Doggy in the house before we had to torch the garage and all its contents.

How was I going to evict our pungent little guest? Google, baby, Google. Here's what we learned. Skunks are nocturnal. They will leave when night falls to forage for food, so just leave the door open, sprinkle flour on the ground and once you notice his little footprints exiting, you will know he has gone. Oh, yeah, and I forgot one other minor detail...they carry rabies. But, not to worry. If you do happen to get bitten by a skunk, catch it and save the brain so that the hospital can rule out whether or not you are going to die of hydrophobia.

I figured you'd like to know, just in case...knowledge is power, after all.

At night fall, I closed the garage door hoping fervently that Pepe had already gone. Of COURSE I didn't put down flour to see his little foot prints, that's what clever people do.

That night, I tossed and turned and I could smell that unique aroma particular to polecats. Waking early (3 am), I crept to the kitchen and slowly opened the door leading to the garage. The light had been left on and as I peeked inside, there he was, sniffing about, probably wondering where the escape portal had gone. I'm going to tell you something right now: Mr. Disney took liberties when animating the cuteness of skunks. Or perhaps because we haven't developed Surround Smell in theaters, we can't really appreciate how undesirable skunks actually are until we see one eight feet away inside our enclosed property. Slowly, ever so slowly, I closed the door and went outside where the car had been parked. Using the remote, I opened the door from a safe distance. Of course, the pandemonium of opening another dimension caused our friend to duck and cover. I waited, hoping he would smell the fresh air and trot out. Apparently, fresh air is not as important to skunks as it is to the human race; he out waited me. Eventually, I left the garage door open, closing it just before daybreak. And no, I didn't put down any flour, so quit asking!

Here we are, a week later and I'm guessing our little wildlife refuge is closed--at least until I forget to close the garage again.


  1. Hee hee... that is GREAT.
    My sister had a problem with a skunk for quite a while (she continued to leave the garage door open!) ;-) Good luck with yours. REMEMBER TO CLOSE THE DOOR! ha ha ha

  2. I mostly remember to close it now...mostly