Thursday, March 18, 2010
Signs of Spring
A bit more than a month ago, this was the scene looking to the west from our house. See the lovely icicles? And the view from the outside shows these frozen daggers posed to strike any creature below.
But, now we are seeing signs of spring. Daffodils bring sunshine inside.
The orchid I adopted a year ago (from my daughter-in-law) is getting ready to bloom for the first time, in our house. It was blooming when we first got it, but after those blooms faded, it has been gathering strength to bloom again.
A small chipmunk has been busily gathering sunflower seeds. In the process, the chipmunk is driving our two cats crazy--a glass door separates him from certain death lurking inside.
The squirrels go to great lengths (literally) to try to raid the peanuts.
Then, the squirrel scampers away to watch me carefully. Whose picture are you taking, lady?
All these are wonderful signs of spring.
Some other signs abound as well, not so wonderful.
Herewith the tale of THE GREAT SKUNK ESCAPADE.
Now, this is not nearly as exciting as some skunk stories. No dogs were harmed in the process. About a week ago, we were sitting in our sun room. Seeing some movement outside, I looked up into our backyard--a skunk toddled into our yard. And then stopped. It seemed to settle down. Oh, no--I thought. Please, go away. On second thought, don't go away.
We had a skunk family settle next to our pool, a couple of years ago, living with its babies under a deck. We finally rousted it, after two skunk babies fell into the pool. I read online that skunks don't like loud noises, so I placed a radio, speaker down on the deck, and picked the loudest hip-hop station I could find and played it full blast. Skunk begone, and it was.
Anyway, all I could think was--please don't go under our deck.
So, I ventured outside. I circled far around the skunk, keeping my distance. Then I watched it--looking for signs of respiration. NOTHING. Huh? A skunk walks into our yard, and stops moving. Since this was in the middle of the day, all I could think was rabies. So, the first thing we did was call our local police.
An officer came promptly, and she asked--what's the problem.
Well, there's a skunk in our yard.
Were you harmed or in danger?
Well, the officer said--I can shoot the skunk, but other than that, there's nothing I can do.
Never mind--the thought of a service revolver blasting a skunk gave my husband pause. Visions of skunks bits here and there. And, the office said, if she shoots it, the skunk will probably spray anyway.
So, the next step was to call a wildlife removal company. We were still thinking--rabies. After calling two companies, one responded immediately, and came out. The first thing he did was determine--was the skunk still alive. Please note the highly scientific method used to determine if the skunk is alive.
First, walk around the yard a bit, sort of circle the skunk. Next, select a small twig. Next, jab at the skunk. No spraying. Nothing. Nope--not alive.
This very helpful man then opined that the skunk looked not too old, not emaciated or unkempt, not underfed, that it likely died from some disease, but that other diseases than rabies could have caused its death--distemper for example. Then, he took a plastic bag out of his pocket, and wrapped it around the dead skunk--presto. Skunk begone (once again).
Thank you, helpful man--and yes, we will pay you for your help.
So, the great skunk escapade ended happily. Except for the next several days, when our neighbor came knocking on our door. Do you have a cat outside, she asked. Well, we don't allow our cats to roam--they are only outside with us for short times, and then inside a fenced yard. So, no, we don't.
Well, she said, there's a cat with 5 babies in my window well. Oh my, another sign of a spring--and it's the same cat I saw the day of the skunk-capade who very carefully approached the still (now dead) skunk, then traveled on. Oh, great--a feral cat roaming around, getting distemper or rabies or whatever--and with 5 kittens to boot, more feral cats!
Well, now we are midway in March, and here's that same western sky--absent icicles daggers.
Happy spring! Do a vernal dance this weekend.