WE HAVE A SQUATTER FAMILY

Recently, when I take Tippy out the side garage door, she has been sniffing at the wooden walkway.  I wasn’t sure if she was smelling something that had walked by in the night or something that was underneath.

For the last couple of weeks, it has become obvious that something has taken up residence under there.  Tippy has gotten more and more agitated when we go out, barking as she sniffs at the boards.  I have put off taking care of this intruder because I was afraid of what it might be.  You see, a few years back, after putting up with skunk odor for a couple of weeks, I finally took up some of the boards, looked underneath, and discovered a semi-mummified skunk.  Very disgusting and hard to remove.

Tippy has gotten increasingly obsessive about that area.  When she first goes out, she sniffs and barks and sniffs some more, sometimes clawing at the walkway.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

She does calm down fairly quickly, but can often be seen guarding against the intruder, either at the walkway or in the garage.

I decided it was time to be brave and see what I could find.  I removed some of the boards, very carefully.

Tippy with boards up
Humm. That makes it easier to see.

Tippy was very helpful with the inspection of the area underneath the walkway.

No animal was spotted, but I did find a hole that something has dug underneath the garage, along the basement wall.  It’s a fairly small hole, so I’m hoping it’s not anything huge.  Here’s a picture, but it is really hard to see.  Sorry, but I wasn’t brave enough to put my phone, and hand, any closer to the den just to get a better picture.

Hole
The intruder’s den.

I was hoping that I could run the mystery critter off and then fill in the hole.  I put some moth balls at the opening of the den and some leaves where it looked like it had gone underneath wire dad and I had put up to keep things out of that area after the above skunk incident.

screen
Hole under the wire.

I checked the next morning and it was obvious that the critter had left.  To insure it didn’t come back before I got a chance to work on filling in the hole, I put more leaves in the opening of both the hole and the wire.  Unfortunately, those were gone the next time I checked, so it was back.  If someone threw mothballs in my doorway, I think I’d be tempted to leave.  That is not a pleasant smell.

I was in a quandary as to what to do.  I called our local animal control office.  They do not take care of wildlife, but referred me to a local gentleman who provides wildlife removal services.  He came out this morning, looked around, and set up a couple live traps.  They aren’t showing up very good in the photos as they blend into the environment.  I suppose that is on purpose.

I was hoping it could potentially be a ground hog.  He said they usually aren’t found in wooded areas, so the more likely scenario is a skunk.  If it is a female, she likely has babies this time of year.  Since I haven’t seen a train of skunks, he thinks it is a rouge male.

UPDATE:  I just looked out the window and saw not one, but six, yes SIX skunks. So, it is a mom with babies.  None of which seemed interested in the food that was in the traps.  I’m not sure what will happen if one of the baby’s gets caught or if the mom does.  No way are 2 traps going to catch six or more skunks.  I could be in trouble here!

Fingers and paws crossed that we are able to get rid of our squatter family without too much trouble or smell.

 

 

 

Advertisements

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: CONTENTMENT

I gave Tippy a near empty peanut butter jar to finish off.  I looked over a few minutes later and this picture of pure contentment made me smile.  Hope it does you too.

20180530_140100 (2)
Aww. This is the life!

 

To my blogging friends, I couldn’t find the link to the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop today.  Anyone else having this issue?

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Most of you know that this past Sunday was Mother’s Day here in the United States.  But, it also held another distinction…it was Tippy’s 5th birthday!

In order to celebrate both occasions, we spent the late afternoon at the pond.  Me, mom, and Tippy watched dad fish.  He caught 8, I think – all fairly small bluegill and bass.

20180513_175429 (2)
Just hanging out together.

 

20180513_173431
Hey grandpa, I think there’s a fish right over there.

It was a warm day, so Tippy got hot.  You know what that means….a walk in the edge of the pond to get a drink and cool in the mud.  I laughed at one point, because she ventured out a little deeper than she normally does and started to sit down in the water.  She got one hip in and then popped right back up.  Apparently, water on the tush didn’t feel as good as she thought it was going to.  😮  Still, she got plenty of that nice squishy, smelly mud on her paws and stomach.

20180513_175622
It’s my party and I’m smell if I want to, smell if I want to…..

When we got back to the house, Tippy got a couple of surprises.  The first was that she got a nice birthday bath!  She doesn’t like getting washed, but tolerates it okay.  She sure feels and smells a lot better.  She relaxed on the driveway to finish drying off.

20180513_191517
Relaxing after having a bath.

Then, her second surprise was her “birthday” gift.  Obviously, I’ve had this for a while and never got around to giving it to her.  Better late than never, right?

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

She was tired after running around at the pond, so only played with it a little.  She loves this version of a Frisbee because it is soft in the center and tends to float a little, allowing her to catch it out of the air.  When she was younger, she would destroy these by chewing holes in the center.  I’m hoping she has outgrown that habit and this one will last to give her hours of enjoyment.

It wasn’t anything exceptional or fancy, but we all enjoyed it and I got to spend some precious quality time with those I love.  It really doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

 

GET OUT OF MY TREE

Tippy and the buzzard_01
Get out of my tree, right now!!! I mean it!! Leave!

Tippy has a special dislike of buzzards.  It’s the only bird she barks at when flying overhead.  So, when this one decided to roost in a tree near the house, she was NOT happy!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT

Last weekend (Friday through Monday) was the Audubon Society’s Great Backyard Bird Count.   This is yearly event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations.   Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share. Being a scientist/biologist at heart, I love contributing to this data collection.

The last few years I have not been able to participate because I have been in Florida for my granddaughter’s birthday.  Yes, I know, there are birds in Florida and I could count them there, but I don’t want to take time away from visiting with the family, since I don’t get to see them nearly as often as I would like.  The birthday party was early this year, so I was home for the count.

I was excited about spending time birding, which I haven’t done much of lately. Unfortunately, I had to work all day Friday, and by the time I got my to-do list done on Saturday, it had started to rain.  So, no birds to count.  Sunday afternoon was absolutely gorgeous, so I sat outside with Tippy, expecting to see all sorts of birds.  Nope.  I heard a few and saw some that were too far away to get a positive identification.  I got impatient after 40 minutes, at having only identified one bird, a red-bellied woodpecker.

Red-bellied_Woodpecker-27527

It was much easier when I had a bird feeder near the back porch.  I quit putting it up after I got Tippy.  I was afraid she would see the visitors to the feeder as a tempting smorgasbord of furry little morsels.  Now that she is older and spends a lot of time in the house, I may try putting it back out.

Anyway, I thought I might have better luck back in the neighbor’s field.  I got all of my supplies in a backpack and Tippy and I set off for a leisurely walk.

I did hear and see more birds, but could only identify a flock of robins and a turkey vulture.

At least Tippy and I had a wonderful, relaxed walk on a warm, sunny February Sunday.

On Monday, I was able to identify some mourning doves and cardinals.

My contributions are minor this year, but it is something.  I need to spend more time honing my skills away from a feeder.  It does make a difference when they have no reason to stick around.  Finding the identifying characteristics on the fly is a lot harder, to say the least.

Do any of you participate in this event?  If so, Tippy and I would love to hear how your weekend of birding went.

SNOW DAY

Yesterday was a nice snow day for Tippy and I. There was already some snow on the ground and it continued to fall throughout the day.  As much as Tippy loves to play in it, I decided to let her off leash on our morning walk. She did GREAT!

She waited patiently while I closed the gate so the cows wouldn’t escape.

Waiting to take a walk_01
Hurry up. I want to run!

Well, maybe impatiently.  Then she was off exploring all of the sights, sounds, and smells.  I’m pretty sure she appreciated the fact that she didn’t have to go at my pace.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

She stayed fairly close and came every time I called her.  The fact that she knew she got a treat might have helped slightly.

One of my favorite things about playing in the snow is how cute she looks with a white nose.

Snowy nose (2)
Thanks for letting me play!

Later, while Tippy was taking a nap, I read some of the blogs that I follow.  I was inspired by Becoming a Wild Family to stop procrastinating on a quilting project.  It was originally supposed to be a Christmas present for my nephew eight years ago. I had gotten the quilt top put together, but had barely started on the quilting process.

Tyler's quilt
Log Cabin quilt top

I worked on it periodically for a couple of years and then just put it in the closet. My main problem was the time it took to even get it out and start quilting.  If I didn’t have at least half of a day to work on it, it didn’t seem worth the effort.  I purchased a small quilting frame so I could keep it set up and work on it when I only had 30 minutes or so to quilt.  That might have worked, but, two years later, it was still in the box.  Not now!  Yesterday, I put it together, put the quilt on it, and quilted for a couple of hours!

Got the quilt set up (2)_01

In the frame

My goal is to get it finished by June so I can give it to my nephew and his wife on their 5th wedding anniversary. Yes, I am the Queen of Procrastination, but I am going to do this!

Tippy and I hope all of your snow days are full of fun and productivity!