Sunday, June 24, 2012

Of Skunks and Gratitude

Let me introduce you to my dog Shadow aka "Barkey" since he has to have a discussion over everything!  For those of you who are not familiar with where I live and how I live, let's just suffice it to say that I live in the country and with that reality comes a certain amount of interaction with Wild Life which can also make life seem quite wild and crazy from time to time!

Over the past three years, Barkey has had a love/hate relationship with (you guessed it) Skunks.  Now friends, I don't know how many of you have been in the path of a full -on Skunk discharge but for those who have never had the experience, it's not a great thing to be in the vicinity of.  It's not a smell that goes away any time soon either.  It lingers.....for days, sometimes depending on it's ferocity, weeks!

Well, last night around 10:30 pm, I had my dog outside by the front of the house and I caught a faint whiff of the little bugger and I called my dog, grabbed his collar, opened the front door and shoved him inside thinking as the full scent developed in the air that I had dodged the bullet this time - whew!  I came inside behind him and the house just reeked of SKUNK.....and for those of you that have never experience it, it hangs in the air inside the house for hours.  Even if the dog didn't get hit.  So, I, in my silly trusting way, Thanked God that he didn't come in with a face dripping yellow like last time.  The smell was so strong in the house that after awhile, I went over and started sniffing the dog.

Now, the dog is looking at me like I am nuts...(why is the crazy woman sniffing me) and I ran my hands over his head (sniff the hands - no skunk) ok - it's just in the air - double whew!  So I proceed to go to bed.  Now, Barkey sleeps on the bed with me.  We jump in - smell not too bad (still just hanging in the air - right?  fingers and toes crossed that this is the case)  All is well, until the dog decided to turn around and face his tail end towards me......Eewe.....!!!  Remember, dog was in retreat when Skunk let loose.  Okay - at this juncture, I am about ready to cry - not again, please not again.  Then what should I hear....the rumble of thunder in the distance...Okay, things really aren't looking too hopeful at this point since my big brave guard dog shakes like a leaf and tries to climb into my lap whenever thunder makes an appearance.  If I am in bed, it gets even worse as he tries to climb between my head and the wall, sprawling his hairy smelliness on my stack of wonderful down pillows.

I leap out of bed - of course scared out of his wits dog follows (I refuse to ruin my wonderful down pillows with that....stench) so I run out into the hall with scared dog right on my heels.  Down the stairs in the dark, flip on the light.....sit in my chair, silence.  I sit there for awhile, still silence.  Dog is laying there looking at me with his head cocked to one side, his lips kind of curled in a rather (sheepish) smirk.  By this time, my patience is wearing a bit thin - after all, now it's like 1:30 am and I have been awake since like, 5:30 am.  At this point, I listen for thunder again - silence.  I look at the dog.  "Well, Butt Head (that's what I call him when my patience has run thin) - You are on your own.....I'm going to bed, alone.  You will just have to deal with it!"  And friends, that's precisely what I did - I put up the baby gate at the top of the stairs,shut the bedroom door & climbed into my bed (after opening the window & removing the bed spread).  I slept the sleep of the weary and fed up - it was heaven.

Okay - how does one find Gratitude in a Skunk attack (actually it was just fall out - not an actual nose on butt interaction) - and that is where I am sincerely GRATEFUL!!!!  This morning, when I got up, the downstairs smelled a lot better - just a faint lingering odor of eau de Skunk.  The dog - well he survived the night without any more undue panic (again MUCH gratitude on my part).  Now comes the fun part, getting rid of the scent - or at least making it more livable.  This is the recipe that a friend gave me a couple of years ago after the very first interaction which was a face to butt encounter of not just one but 2 dogs that actually were dripping yellow.  (We won't go there ever again I hope...)

Skunk Deodorizer solution

1 large bottle Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tsp. Dawn Dish soap  (this cuts the oil in the skunk discharge and helps remove it)

Mix this together in a bucket (it will foam up when mixed)

Using an old rag (you will wish to throw it out) - wash the effected areas of your dog.  Let stand for 10 min. (have fun with that one....a good lead attached to a good post helps - believe me!)
Rinse the solution off the dog.

This is the best solution I have found - far superior to the old "tomato juice" in the shower routine of years past.  (Let me add that there is nothing like having a freshly skunked dog greet you in the outhouse first thing in the morning as had happened when we were first building this place many moons ago....followed closely behind with faces full of porcupine quills - we definitely won't go there!)

As of this writing, a significantly better smelling albeit damp Barkey is laying by my feet as I write down my tale of Gratitude I am off to remove my wet clothes and take my bath.  Have a great Sunday everyone!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

There Is No Place Like Home

Here it is almost the middle of June and I still have plants in the grow room!  Normally I have everything moved out by the first and today, I finally (despite the rainy weather) moved out the first few tomato plants.  I have cucumber plants that are huge with 5 inch cukes on them already still in their pots and the tomato plants have finally taken off in the last week to planting size. Everything started so slowly this year for some reason. I had planned to do all of this last week but you know how that goes...well, life happens and our plans don't always work out the way we think they will!

 Plants in the grow room ready for the greenhouse

Last week I spent with my 4 grandchildren while their mom had to be in the hospital.  All is well with Mom as of this writing, no worries in that regard.  I just have to say here that I know without a shadow of a doubt why we have our kids while we are young.  My mommy muscles are rusty and I don't translate toddler speak as well as I used to.  I also have to admit that being in town 4 days running was very draining as I am so used to my quiet, homestead existence.  I did get to enjoy my grandson's preschool graduation which was fun - complete with construction paper mortarboard hats with curly ribbon tassels.  I must add here though that I absolutely will not miss the sound of children's television programming - ever.

There is nothing like a stint in town to make me relish this place all the more.  I love walking out the front door and having the sheep calling out to me - baa baa (hey you - we wouldn't mind some more hay....) or just listening to the wind blow through the trees or the rain pounding on the metal roof and the clanging of my big wind chime on the upstairs porch as the thunder storms roll through.  Then of course there is the added pleasure of listening to my music while I work in the garden, extra loud due to the outdoor speakers that my kids got me for Christmas a few years ago.  A little Led Zeppelin, some Janis Joplin - summertime music.  The other benefit of living in the sticks.  As Dorothy learned - There is no place like home!!