Last night, for the first time since I’ve had Tippy, I threw up in front of her. She was very concerned and came running over and leaned against my legs. I felt bad that I couldn’t console her, but that’s hard to do when your head is in a trash can.
I spent the night on the couch, since it’s easier to get up from quickly and is closer to the bathroom. She kept an eye on me to make sure I was okay. She’s a great little caregiver.
I have been able to keep some food down today, so hopefully it was only a 24 hour bug and I’ll be back to normal in a couple of days.
Last night, I went out on the porch, planning only to count the skunks and not take any pictures. But, the squatters came out a little earlier than they had before, so I managed to get a couple of decent photos. I didn’t get one of all of them because they spotted me and ran for safety. At least you can see that the mother is almost pure white on the back.
The squatter family.
Running for safety.
This morning, I let Tippy outside around 8:15. I heard her pounce on the walkway and bark. I went to the window and saw her retreating around the corner. About the same time the odor hit me. I knew it had happened. She had gotten sprayed!
I went out to make sure she was okay and found foamy slobbers in the garage floor and her licking her lips like you do when you have tasted something awful and are trying to get the taste out of your mouth. Other than that, she seemed okay. I got her a doggie cookie, thinking that might help. It didn’t hurt.
She was lucky that there was only a small slit between the boards. She seemed to only get a glancing blow, and mostly on the right side of her face and ear. I got her shampoo, a rag, and a tub of water and went back out. She usually balks at all attempts at a bath, but will tolerate it once I start. Today, she came right to me. She must have understood that I was trying to make the smell go away. The groomer who formulated this natural cedar shampoo said that it works great on skunk oil, to just be sure and put the shampoo on the affected area before wetting it so that it can contact the oil directly. I followed her directions and used the rag to give her head a good scrubbing and rinsing. It seemed to work pretty good.
After a good scrub down.
Thanks for making me smell better, mom.
Since she had been foaming at the mouth, I did call her vet and talk to them. They said to just keep an eye on her and as long as she was eating and didn’t throw up, she would be okay. As you can see, she was fine.
We took the trash off later in the morning, so she could enjoy a ride in the truck. I did have an ulterior motive, however. I wanted to get away from the constant odor that permeates the garage to see if I had gotten it all off of Tippy. When she turned her head toward me, I would get a mild whiff. So, when we got back from our ride, I gave her a good bath all over. She was due one anyway. She wasn’t as fond of that, but survived. While she was damp, I put some baking soda on her ears and the side of her face. I’m not sure which thing worked, but I don’t smell anything on her tonight.
I hate to do it, but until the squatter family is evicted, I am going to have to keep Tippy on leash when she is outside. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before the babies follow mom and we can trap them.
The saga continues. The morning after I discovered the squatters were skunks, I called the Nuisance Wildlife Control man and told him what I had seen. He said if the babies aren’t old enough to follow mom out to forage in the night that they will not come out and get in the traps. What does that mean? We have to wait until they are bigger. So, for now, we are stuck with a family that is refusing to follow the eviction notice Tippy and I have given them.
Since there was nothing in the traps, I sprung them so that we wouldn’t catch one of them and then be in a real pickle.
This week, Tippy and I have been trying to see if we can tell how many skunks are actually living there so we will be sure we have them all once we can trap them.
One night I saw not one, but two adults. I googled skunks and found out that the males have nothing to do with raising the young, but sometimes females will share a den. So, I probably have not one, but two squatter families! I tried to get a picture through the window, using a flash. This was NOT the best idea I have ever had.
I did find out that it scares the adults, who came running back under the porch to protect their young. They did emerge again, about 5 minutes later. I tried to get a picture without the flash, but it didn’t turn out too well either. If you look hard enough between the rails in the middle, you can see a white fuzzy spot that is the tail of a skunk.
Another night, I decided to be adventurous, and actually went out onto the porch to watch them come out, try to count them, and get a picture. I saw only one adult, almost pure white, and six little ones. Mom took them just into the edge of the woods and then back to the porch. She left and went a different way, walking right past where I was standing. (The porch at that point is about 5 feet off of the ground, so I wasn’t at her level.) The babies ventured out into the edge of the woods again, and then ran back to the safety of the porch. It was pretty cute, I have to admit. The only picture I got was of the mom…but, as you can see, it isn’t very good either, even with editing. Phone cameras are not the best for this scenario. The skunk is about a quarter of the way down on the right hand side.
In the meantime, Tippy is being very vigilant about keeping an eye, or nose, on them.
She has also found out that she can get part of the way under the walkway. She gets under there and barks. I know she can’t see them from there, but I’ll bet the smell is a lot stronger, since that is where they come and go. I know in my head that she is probably less likely to get sprayed from there than when she is barking right over the den opening, but, for some reason, it makes me more nervous. If I find out she is there, I make her come out.
Stop yelling at me. I’m coming!
Can you see me now?
Then, I usually make her come in the house to take a break. I don’t think she likes that, but she makes the best of a bad situation.
I plan to continue to try to count how many members of the squatter family (families) there are and hopefully get some better pictures. Stay tuned. Fingers and paws crossed that no one gets sprayed.
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.
She does calm down fairly quickly, but can often be seen guarding against the intruder, either at the walkway or in the garage.
I’ll make sure it stays put.
Don’t worry mom. I won’t let it in the house.
I decided it was time to be brave and see what I could find. I removed some of the boards, very carefully.
Tippy was very helpful with the inspection of the area underneath the walkway.
I’m sure it’s in there somewhere!
Mom, I see a hole. I think that’s where the intruder is living.
I’m telling you mom. It is under here!
In deep thought after the inspection was completed.
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.
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.
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.
Food in the live trap
Both traps are set.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
Mom, I think I see a bird over here.
Ooops. You missed it. It flew over there!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!