| By Alesha Thompson, Jennifer’s sister |
On our mini farm in Wisconsin, we have lots of critters. Mostly our awesome tomcat, Pippin, takes care of them—mice, chipmunks, and even rabbits. But there is one critter that even Pippin can’t defeat. We know this because we will periodically smell the strong scent of skunk on him, and we’ll know he’s lost another round with a skunk.
Anytime I see a skunk, it puts a deathly fear in my heart—this comes from a previous experience with a skunk and a two-year-old in a chicken coop, but that is a story for another day.
This skunk story begins one summer night when the kids and I were sitting in the living room on the couch watching TV. It was dark outside, and we were getting settled down for the evening when my husband suddenly ran in from the front yard and yelled, “Get my gun!” Now, we are not gun people by any stretch of the imagination, but my husband likes to have one on hand—you know, living on a small farm in Wisconsin, it can come in handy. This declaration from my husband brought everyone to their feet because this is not something we hear from him very often.
My seventeen-year-old son was suddenly at the ready with the gun—he is a gun person and was very excited there might be an actual reason to use it. We all rushed to the front yard where my husband started whispering that he’d seen a skunk in the garage and he was going to try to shoot it.
This brought whispers of excitement from everyone because, of course, we all know there can’t be any good ending to having a skunk in the garage. My husband and oldest son sat outside trying to strategize how they might get the skunk out of the garage or at least in a position to be shot. Again, this involved scaring a skunk and that is not optimal—especially in our garage. So after some time, a new plan was hatched: get the live rodent trap and put it outside the garage with food in it. Leave the trap during the night and hope for a trapped skunk in the morning.
In the morning, we were all very excited to see that the skunk had taken the bait and was in the trap. Skunk out of the garage! Hurrah! Problem solved! But wait, what do we do with the skunk now? My husband had left for work, so it was up to my two oldest sons (14 and 17) to figure out how to dispose of the skunk.
“Well,” I said, “it seems like I read that you can put a blanket over a trapped skunk and it won’t spray you because it won’t see you.” I obviously have not lived on a farm for very long. But my two oldest sons had full confidence in my guidance (Mom is never wrong!) and so they found a blanket and slowly, very slowly, put it over the trap. No spraying! Success!
“Now what do we do?” asked my younger son. My oldest son, who had now taken over because I was smartly sitting inside hoping for a good result, directed his younger brother to slowly move the trap with the blanket over it to the woods so he could shoot it away from the house. He was giving good directions, but from a distance, as he had smartened up to the fact that maybe mom didn’t always know what she was talking about since I had moved to safely watching from inside.
Well, let’s just say that we quickly found out that putting a blanket over a trapped skunk DOES NOT keep it from spraying. The trapped skunk did eventually get to the woods but not without a whole lot of sprayage and howls and moans from the boys outside. I got a great laugh out of it—from inside the house.