Conventional wisdom says wildlife is the innocent victim when people move into the swamps. The animals in our neck of the swamp couldn’t be happier that such a generous species came and built houses for them to live under.
The deer love our gardens. Our bird feeders save the squirrels untold time and effort finding 18 square meals per day. The “Little Man who lives under the porch” (probably a woodchuck, though ethnic origins shouldn’t matter) burrows himself into our hospitality often. Field Mice have bunked with our accommodating cat.
In February, a skunk set up housekeeping under our deck. We’ve entertained skunks before, but this one was special. Every night it would light up our house with the tangiest batch of squeezin’s we’d ever breathed.
Having repelled its kind before with ammonia-soaked rags, this was our first defense. But when it is 0°F (-18°C) outside, ammonia does more freezing than stinking. Skunks stink grandly at any temperature.
It got so bad it kept us up all night, and some of us puked. My wife claimed it was making her uterus contract, which seemed a stretch, but maybe not.
Animal Control would attempt to trap the skunk for many bags of gold, but for some reason they didn’t feel confident of success. They said it was probably a female, attracting a mate.
That tore it.
It’s one thing to be smoked out of your home by some poor creature protecting herself, but we run a respectable household. She could do her whorin’ elsewhere. We weren’t about to stand idle while Pepina Le Pew advertised booty calls with her Love Potion Number Noxious.
My wife had the first whack. “I went out with a baseball bat, but she wasn’t there,” she said.
“You realize you could have got sprayed?” I asked.
Her voice was monotone, the cold, murderous voice of exhaustion. “Yeah, but she’d be dead. It’d be so worth it.”
I bought stuff skunks dislike and air freshener. Lots of air freshener. All the different brands.
I tied dryer bags of Stank Skank’s least favorite things all around the deck. (The air freshener was for us.) My fingers were good and numb by the end, but that was a small price. We put as much noise and light on the area as we could.
It seemed to get her out from under the deck, but lonely boys with time on their hands still came looking for a little stinking tenderness at night. Periodic whiffs of her jilted lovers’ agonies sent us spiraling into Post Traumatic Skunk Disorder.
We built a snow berm around the deck to make it harder to use as a kiosk for their scented love notes. With the help of used kitty litter we seem to be making progress. The attacks are fewer, but I won’t declare victory until we can invite company into our house again.
And my wife’s uterus? Someone explained it this way: She was smelling the pheromones of the dominant female in heat. Her body was syncing itself to that lead.
I was a little surprised at how easily my wife rolled over for a skunk. But I felt better when I recalled that she was about to go get her Alpha crown back with a baseball bat. Now that’s my girl.