Friday, July 27, 2007

The Skunkery....


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Warning : Post is a Grumpy Enigma post....move on if you have to...
This post is about solving a Problem....So if there are any Skunk Experts out there pipe up..( Ironically we all should be Experts after surviving the Bush Regime and their Skunkery.....)

Okay ....so I have talked about THE Porch...and how I love sitting out there...and how...it is my Refuge. Well, Speaking of Refuge, I have had a number of Refugees come to the porch. My favorite is a little tiny raccoon that I have named Ricky, he comes between 2 and 5 am , he first goes to my neighbors trash, he has gotten very adept at opening The Rubbermaid Lock Top Cans, even doing so quietly. Then he sits on the green weave rug and snacks, he prefers granola bars, biscotti, and yogurt, and fruit, especially bananas. ( I have been struck by reviewing the wrappers that he likes his healthy carbs and maybe watching his weight). He also then waddles down to the Birdbath just below the porch, and likes to wash his paws in the Birdbath. I am stuck that he is very tidy. Now he has gained a little weight this summer, and occasionally I hear a thunk and a squeal as he knocks over the birdbath. After the late night Snack he curls up and naps on the little old battered wicker loveseat for a couple of hours.

There also has been many birds, chipmunks, squirrels, and wandering cats. BUT....
The Refugee Group that has caused the mosts problems are the Skunks. Now I personally don't mind them. There is a family of them, Two adults, a baby and an adolescent. I call them The Slipper Family Now occasionally they Do Stink up the Place, about one night a week. But it fades quickly. One night taking out the trash, Three of them decided to Salute me, the baby skunk the size of a softball hid behind a petunia pot, quietly blinking. I was standing in the middle of the stairs. ( I have 29 steps to my front door, it is quite a Hill). So They came out and circled my ankles, It was like watching Slippers gliding about to a graceful polka. ( I am sorry but watch them scurry about the block- they really do look like Slippers...)
The three of them waddled by on Lap 1 ( Inspection Phase). Lap 2 I was greeted with Tails up. Now I was standing there motionless watching them, thinking for sure I was about to be sprayed. But Instead, I realized I was just being greeted as a nieghbor. This Tails UP is Their Salute. I view them as a normal little family dealing with daily woes. They never spray on my side of the Side-by-Side. Now for some reason every Sunday night they do spray the Neighbors Side.

I should Explain about THE Neighbors, I share the Side-By-Side with them ( I live in the left). For the most part they do not speak to me. It is very much an odd strange relationship. They have a young baby who waves to me,and is always happy to see me, and I adore her. I am lucky to get a Hello form the Adults. I work odd hours, and I am a single mom with a teenage son. The young Wife I think does not respect me much, which is too bad, because I am not a bad neighbor at all.I do yard work and keep the porch clean. I think all of my flowers, windchimes, and beat up beach furniture for some reason bugs her.She walks by in her slingback heals,flings her head the other way and struts by in indignant disdain, even when I am sitting right on the porch. My Ex came to visit his son for several weeks and stayed with us and saw the whole show. They finally spoke to me at that point, after living here for many monthes. Ex pointed out "well, I think if you wore highheels, drank maragaritas and maybe went to Church, she would talk to you."

I don't mind that they are not "friends". I do mind that every 4-6 weeks they have put Weed-Be-Gone on MY Lilacs on my side, next to my porch. So my warm fuzzy Neighbor Feelings have Sharply dropped over time.

Now I will be honest , apparently the skunks don't like their side, so when they DO the STINK, they do it on their side, right by the trashcans.....by their porch.

So they called Fish and Wildlife Officials this week, and complained about the Skunk Family. And three nights ago The Trap arrived, rather small, and in the center, there is a small spot where the Dogfood is placed. I actually have had a chuckle- the crappyass cheap dogfood has inticed Nothing- not even ants...and funny thing , it well keeps ahem....disappearing. My son and I guard the "trap" ...making certain that No errant Visitors get caught in it....We divert them (water and throwing things).
Ironically only the juevanile ones would be trapped, it is too small for the Slipper Family Adults. So 6-6 and I discussed it, and that means that one of the "children" would be relocated, and that ain't Right....at all.

So I will keep diverting the Critters from the "Trap"....BUT if anyone has any Ideas to help my Slipper Family that would be great. And any ideas to thwart their Stinking that would help. ( On my side I have petunias, and wildflowers, and Lilacs, and Incense, and I don't have a problem.....and I did put mothballs under Their porch...and by their trashcans . )

I am still Committed to saving the Slipper Family......

August 3rd Update: Well, after much happenings, and "The trap" and the mysterious dissappearing food in the trap, and the assistance of the Local Chipmunks...and MUCH liberal use of Spices and Mothballs (reapplied after hard rains), and ALL holes blocked with rocks and potted petunias....and much silence from the "neighbors", esp when Enigma confronted them that the F&W folks could not Answer my relocation Question....My Friends, and neighbors, the Skunks lovingly called "The Slipper Family" Have moved on to another loation. I hope they live long and well.

August 18th update: this is such good news. The Skunk family has been sighted 4 doors down under an abandoned house and porch. It is a lush lovely new spot, they came out and saluted me while I was out walking the dog. They looked healthy and happy, and wellfed. And the youth is definently grown.
And as soon as they moved on, another nice developement was that my neighbors kind of decided that maybe my cluttered little porch and petunias were not so bad. They even contributed to the decorations....and spirit of it. It renewed my hope that neighbors are out there....around every corner.

12 comments:

an average patriot said...

nice story enigma
Sounds to me like your skunk problem lives next door. i have a funny skunk story. They are very smart. I stayed up all night waiting to see what was figuring out how to get into my yard and it was a skunk.
Your best bet sounds to me to be too remember your fun with the skunks but try to get them to move on so they don't get caught or worse. My father had one as a pet.
Neighbors like yours need to be confronted I am afraid. There is no way you can condone them touching your things and playing the same game is stupid. Good luck!

enigma4ever said...

Patriot: you dad had one as a pet ???hmmm...no thanks ;-) I just watch them and stay away...about the neighbors , they have been confronted about the plants, believe me,( I always stand up for what matters-always) I don't like people messing with my plants or critters, and otherwise sometimes you just have to let things go, pick your battle ( the lilac is worth fighting for)...it is their loss, I am a good neighbor ;-)...I hope the skunks leave on their own and find a new home..hoping that the mothballs make them wander...

Mary said...

Interesting story. Neighbors. You never get the ones you want. I do hope the skunks move on. On their own.

Daniel said...

Hey, enigma, in Australia we don't have skunks (only the ones in Parliament) so I can't offer meaningful advice.

Your commitment to saving such creatures is commendable. Since the drought, we now have a resident mother and baby kangaroo who have taken up residence in our house yard.

We've given up clapping our hands at them because they just stand and stare at us now as if wondering what they have done to receive applause.

They do eat the roses but otherwise they don't have objectionable habits like skunks. Cheers.

D.K. Raed said...

we had a LOT of skunks when we lived in calif. here are few things we did to encourage them to move elsewhere:

Seal up any openings under your house/porch/crawl space (3-ft tall chicken wire works buried 1-ft in ground, skunks aren't good climbers or jumpers, but they'll try to dig under) -- this could be why they are bothering your church-going margartia-swilling neighbors more, they may have made themselves a home underneath their home. Humane traps are OK IF the skunks will be relocated. Some states do not allow relocation; they simply retrieve the trapped skunk & kill it.

Skunks are nightime animals, so be sure to remove any outdoor pet food & accessible garbage at night. They also eat fruit that has fallen to the ground, so it's important to remove any of that from your yard.

Try mounting some very bright porch lights (this will have the added benefit of pissing off your neighbors). Look in Home Depot for skunk repellents like Shake-Away (google it) which is an organic product to sprinkle around your home & yard (organic = predator urine!).

I do identify with your descripton of how cute the babies are, but when the adults start stomping their legs & lifting their tails, ughhh! In their defense, they DO eat a lot of insects, sm rodents & rotten fruit, so I always keep in mind that they were there first, we moved into their neighborhood.

Be sure your pets are current on rabies shots. Hope this helps. I wish your neighbors were as concerned with peaceful coexistance as you are. ~~ D.K.

Anonymous said...

if you want your four-legged skunks to leave, cayenne pepper sprinkled liberally where you don't want them or fox or bobcat urine or urine powder might convince them to move on. a peroxide, baking soda and dish detergent mixture works to neutralize the volatile oils in the spray if you or yours gets sprayed. if you want your two-legged skunks to leave, keep emptying the trap & feed the skunks on the right side of the duplex.

enigma4ever said...

Oh Goody - Solutions ;-)

Anony: Ahhh Cayenne Pepper ( I even have some )
I don't have any bobcat urine ( now if I did- wouldn't I have like more concerns- like the bobcat eating my kitty or my dog? )Thanks for neutralizing ideas too...all good stuff- and will be tried...( Patchouli oil helps in the house...)

DK: I called the F&W folks and ask WHERE the skunks are being relocated ??? and I didn't get an answer ( "NO one ever asks ?".....really ?) and that is why 6-6 and I were so worried, and it was bad enough the whole family was going to be seperated....I love the Shakeaway idea...and I also love that they eat insects...great...

Daniel : I love hearing about the Kangaroo..and baby...wonderful.... and The Applause- LOL...too good..

Mary: I would rather have the skunks than the Mrs and Mrs.Snooty....

TomCat said...

e4e, anon beat me to cayenne. Your local skunks must be very bright to leave a progressive alone, but to recognize and spray Bush supporters.

Blueberry said...

I salute you for co-hahitating and caring for your local wildlife, and not with my tail in the air. ;-)

enigma4ever said...

UPDATE ON MY SKUNK FAMILY BELOW:

Blueberry: thanks...they are my neighbors...I have to give them a chance- just another family like mine;-)

Tomcat: the Cayenne and mothballs are working, I also filled the holes along my walk and put more petunias on thier side...to block the hole...and give off a nice scent...and hmmm, nothing in the trap...wow...imagine that...Turns out the Chipmunks are assisting now and running in and out of the cage taking the food- but since it is spring loaded-and they are too light- they don't set the trap off ....too funny...so I think The Slipper Family has won this round...GOOD....

enigma4ever said...

Okay today is July 31st...and I did the Cayenne Pepper...liberally , enough to make a certain neighbor sneeze ;->
and I also blocked all holes with rocks, and mothballs tossed down the holes and also by the trashcans, and also put a big Petunia by the biggest hole by the steps....and no stink in almost a week, and none on Sunday night...and
YES, THE TRAP IS GONE..YAHOOOOOOO...
AND MORE IMPORTANTLY THE SKUNK FAMILY HAS MOVED ON TO A BETTER PLACE ....( i will miss the scurrying about like a pack of slippers, and I will miss the Salutes...but I am happy for them, my own neighbors were not nice enough to them..)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on helping the Slipper Family relocate. Good Job!

Liberal usage of cayenne pepper, if not of All chiles, is usually a good thing. (kind of like the duct tape of the vegetable kingdom)

In fact, it sounds as if it helped your two-legged skunks get in touch with and respond allergically to their (in their mind) superior ways. Keep up the cayenne preventative.