Tuesday, Sept. 02, 2008
Dear Diary:

Normally skunks are fairly easy going. It's not that they're not wary, but if you don't make sudden moves on them they tend to give you the benefit of the doubt and waddle about their business.

Most of them.

Unfortunately, our birdfeeders have become ground zero for a very small skunk with anger management issues.

Profound anger management issues.

I love our birdfeeders. They've become a tiny ecosystem. The finches, jays and grossbeaks come throughout the day and toss a fair bit of sunflower seed out on to the ground as they rummage through the feeders. During the daylight, that discarded seed brings ground feeders such as mourning doves and phoebes, as well as chipmunks and squirrels.

As dusk slides into darkness, nocturnal critters such as raccoons show up. This past week our chubby alpha raccoon has been joined by Tiny Cranky Skunk.

The raccoon has one thought and one thought only. That thought would be to cram as much sunflower seed as possible into its tummy because, hey, it's not that many months until hibernation time.

Tiny Cranky Skunk has decided that all the sunflower seeds belong to him. The spousal unit and I have watched with great amusement as he feint charges towards the raccoon.

The raccoon studiously ignores him, shovelling mass quantities of what the Tiny Cranky Skunk considers to be his seed into the raccoon maw.

Very funny to watch.

Until last night.

It's a delicate balance, dealing with someone who has profound anger management issues. Somehow, something the raccoon did got on Tiny Cranky Skunk's last nerve. About 10 p.m. he dropped the skunk equivalent of a thermo nuclear bomb.

I was lying in bed when the first indications of trouble wafted in through the bedroom window above my head. I was about 30 feet upwind and one storey above the feeder and I still had a hard time not retching. I ran around like a crazy woman slamming shut windows, gagging and trying not to puke.

It was brutal.

I used to think that being nuked by a skunk wouldn't be a big deal. Tiny Cranky Skunk has made me re-think my position.

The spousal unit and I are not sure what we're going to do. We'd prefer not to take down our feeders. We eat our meals on the porch and the antics of the birds are great to watch. As well, the birds fill our yard with song, a wonderful background to the day.

But oh, man, I'm not sure how many skunk hits we can survive ...

--Marn

Mileage on the Marnometer: 290.71 miles.

Going Nowhere Collaboration

Goal for 2008: 500 miles


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