Wendy and I had a fabulous fall weekend at the cottage. This year, there is something special about spending some time at the camp in the autumn, as it marks a year anniversary since her close call with a brain anyeurism in late September last year. After her surgery and release from the hospital, we headed to the camp for a few days of R&R;, both thankful to everyone involved, including the doctors, nurses and God, for her miraculous recovery, and the scientists for the equally miraculous procedures they have developed now for dealing with what can be a very dangerous medical condition.
So, with a light heart we head for the camp on Friday as soon as I get home from work, both not mentioning anything about last year, but both aware of the importance of the fall cottage time.
This was a great weekend weather wise, or at least it was Friday night and Saturday, sunny and mild, a great day for cutting some firewood, splitting some kindling, and tilling the cottage garden, which I did.
Wendy picked our tomato crop, and I might add, it’s a beauty this year….lots of green tomatoes now ripening in a bag.
This weekend was exceptionally special, because we had a visitor….We were out for awhile Saturday night, and when we pulled into the yard, just after I had commented on the lack of wildlife on the drive through the country backroad…..there was a skunk in our front yard!
Uh-oh! I saw his tail just above the far side of the step to our shed, and quickly told Wendy to stay in the van! I dunno how I noticed him, but I saw the tail and knew that wasn’t there when we left.
I killed the van engine and we sat there watching him in the headlights, as he browsed our front yard, looking for grubs in the grass. I wasn’t about to argue or try to chase him away. He didn’t seem the least concerned with the van headlights on him, maybe they were helping his search for grubs. He also didn’t flinch at the flash from the camera.
I tried to take his picture but through the windshield of the van, in the dark, and with my old Canon camera which has suffered some damage while in my pocket while I was cutting trees, the picture didn’t turn out very well.
All you can really see is the corner of our shed /garage and the white stripe on his back, which by the way was quite white and clean looking….we have clean skunks….that’s a relief.
Let me tell ya….he took his good old time, walking around with his tail in the air, which was enough to convince me to stay in the van with my tail between my legs…..eventually he strolled away, over towards the woods where I have been cutting firewood.
We waited a few minutes to be sure he was gone, then headed quickly inside the cottage, locking the doors. I’m not sure why.
Although they are not immediately thought of as nice wildlife to have around, skunks can actually be good for eating grubs or larvae and other problem insects in your lawn or garden, and can also help to keep a rodent population in check.
That is, provided they keep their distance from us. For instance, my immediate worry is that they are denning under my garage, which is open at one end and a likely looking spot for a small critter to hide out. Apparently they don’t cause much odor around their den, which of course would be a good indication they are there.
Makes me less interested in climbing under the camp to shut off the water this year…..sounds like a job for Wendy.
If you have skunks around, a sure sign of their presence is little holes in your lawn or garden where they have been digging for bugs. Not big holes, just little holes, like maybe you would make with a golf club, maybe not even quite that big.
I have noticed lots of them around our yard, and in particular in the vegetable garden. I know that before he died, one of our neighbors had made something of a pasttime of killing skunks which seemed to be constantly around his property, I’m not sure how many he killed, but it was several.
I’m not in a big hurry to kill them, infact, if they don’t bother me, I won’t bother them. However, I do want to make sure that the underneath of my buildings are not places they take up residence. So I am going to throw a bunch of mothballs or some Havahart Critter Ridder under the shed next weekend, which is supposed to discourage them. Good for keeping mice and squirrels at bay as well.
I’m also considering using chickenwire to fence off the places where they might get underneath the shed, but that takes time, something I don’t have much of right now.
Bright lights didn’t seem to bother him as he continued his work in the headlights from our van, and the spotlights from the camp. If anything, I think he liked the extra light, probably makes finding grubs easier.
If you want more information about skunks, here is an excellent article by Mark Pulsifer, When Skunks Become A Nuisance including some ingenious plans to make a homemade live trap box. I believe Mark is a biologist with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and knows a thing or two about skunks.
If you don’t want to build your own live trap, there are ones you can purchase, like this Skunk Trap Kit
Live trapping skunks….sounds like fun…..or at least interesting work….imagine….there I’d be, live skunk trapped in a box. Now what? Put him in the car and drive him somewhere? I think not, Wendy would kill me.
If you don’t see the skunk first, and he sprays you or your dog, Here is some information that says what to do if your dog is sprayed by a skunk, How To Get Skunk Smell Off Your Dog
There ya go, my entire discourse on the striped skunk……
© 2009 – 2012, Rob Dares. All rights reserved. Cottager Online/The Cottage Chronicles / Rob Dares material is copyrighted, please contact me if you wish to inquire about reposting etc All prices quoted for products are subject to change, customer is responsible to confirm price with seller.