Monthly Archives: October 2014

Skunks

Look into my eye, Birdwell...

Look into my eye, Birdwell…

For the most part of my life I have not had to deal with skunks on anything but a casual level.  You know, the stench when you drive past one that got waffled on the road, or the occasional gassing of the neighborhood on a summer evening when the local animals are restless.

That’s not to say I haven’t had my close calls – whether caused by myself or just happenstance.  There was that time that I was walking back home through the woods after dark and spooked one, unseen, that blasted his stench into the air.  Even though I wasn’t hit directly, my roommate was not pleased with my presence when I got home.  And there was that really close call at the family camp ground where one was trying to tear into the garbage bag and I almost nailed it with a half jug of water (I thought it was an opossum).

Of course, there have been more than a few times that I have just flat out harassed the critters for nothing other than my own enjoyment.  Pro’ly the first time that I ever saw what a skunk was capable of was when I was taking an unofficial smoke break outside the 7-Eleven store where I worked.  The back end of the parking lot bordered the back of some apartment buildings and as soon as I detected movement I scooped up a rock and ran over to investigate.  At first I thought it was a cat (I wasn’t very fond on them back then), but was intrigued to find that it was a striped skunk.  I chucked the rock at him and missed, but he stopped in his tracks.  I thought I heard a low growl or some other form of verbal communication and I didn’t take any guff from animals.  I picked up another rock and lobbed it at him, missing again  (I can’t throw very well).

This time the skunk began stamping his front paws.  WTF?  I never saw that behavior before, but at least I was getting some kind of a response.  I picked up another rock and pitched it.  This time I caught him on the bounce, not anything that would damage his mammalian flesh, but the skunk had enough.  He pointed his ass in my direction and let loose.  In the glow of the flood light I could see a ten foot arc of skunk juice coursing through the air like a lawn sprinkler.

Holy shiate.  I was enlightened with a new respect for the little bastards.  Thankfully I was a good 25 feet away and on the other side of a chain link fence.  I got the hell out of there, unscathed, but the neighborhood suffered through the night.

Skunks and punks

Skunks seem to setup camp in the most unwanted of places.  Punky kids are prone to the same behavior.  When I lived in Bud’s Lake, a skunk set up shop under the foundation of the apartment building that I also lived in.  It just wanted to eat garbage around the dumpster and that was fine with me.  At first I was nervous, but soon found that it wasn’t a danger so long as you didn’t step on it or corner it.

Or shoot at it with the slingshot.

One evening, as the local ruffians were gathering for a smoke session around the corner of the building, I decided to enlist the services of my cohabitant.  I discreetly shot a couple of Mason Dots candies at him (left over from Halloween. I can’t eat them, they pull my fillings out).  As expected, he let loose.  Sure, it reeked for a day or two, but  the Smokehouse Five ran for the hills and never returned.

This weekend I was spending some quality time at the Studogger’s compound, drinking beer, target shooting and burning as much firewood as possible.  It’s good for the head, you know?

It was later in the evening, close to midnight.  We were loitering in the front yard, not sure why, when I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye about six feet away.  By the time I turned (my reaction time was slowed due to alcohol ingestion) I just caught the white tufts of fur disappearing beneath the deck.

“Damn, Studogma.” I slurred. “A skonk just ran under the boards.”
“A skonk?!” Studogger exclaimed.
“Aye.  Right there.”  I pointed to a hole in the dirt right at the corner of the house where the deck meets the ground.
“Can’t have any of that. Got any suggestions?”
“I hear tell they don’t like moth balls very much.”
“Moth balls, eh?” I could see his devious gears turning.  “I have two boxes of them in the garage.”

We spent the next two or three beers stomping on moth balls and sweeping the resultant dust into the cracks between the boards.  Then I relieved myself around the entrance hole  (I hear they aren’t fond of human urine, either.  But who is?).
“That ought to disrupt his nocturnal schedule somewhat.”

To be sure, it had an exit hole on the other side of the deck, into the garden.  It is important to give an animal an avenue of escape.  But the skunk may have had the last laugh, as the stench of moth balls hung around all weekend, even after I hosed the entire area down.  Chunks of moth ball were stuck between the cracks in the boards and in our shoes.

IDK, a farking ground varmint that sprays caustic stink juice out of its ass over a 10 foot distance? It’s almost like some kind of bad comic book character.


Chowderfest 2014

Thanks to this guy for letting me take a pic of his shirt

Thanks to this guy for letting me take a pic of his shirt

I could sum up my experience at Chowderfest 2014 with this quote from the guy next to me in line at the beer truck –

“Sunshine, beer and chowda…you tell me.”

I saw this guy walking in.  He had on dark sunglasses, carried one of those red and white canes that the sight impaired use and a woman hooked into his arm, ostensibly guiding him.

But she was not with him at the moment.  Curious, I thought.  Was this guy deploying some kind of subterfuge to help him cut ahead in line?  Then I recalled a song lyric, perhaps from the Grateful Dead – ‘But even a blind man knows when the sun is shining’.  That made a lot of sense to me.

“Better than rain, beer and chowda.”  I responded, feeling quite smug that I had a witty reply.
“True dat, my brother.”

Or something like that.  I can’t remember how the conversation ended.  We were both thirsty and nothing quite complements good clam chowder – red or white – like a cold beer.

It was a damn fine day.  The sun was shining, the temperature was most pleasant and the ground was not at all soggy, despite the previous evening’s rain.

I’ll tell you this, it takes a lot of clams to fuel this thing every year.

Thanks, Fred and Kim,  for inviting us down for the weekend.

Outside the 'White' tent

Outside the ‘White’ tent


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