Wednesday's forecast: Showers with a chance of baths

It's another beautiful day in the Valley; twenty-five degrees Celsius, overcast and a light breeze.

After Laur's morning work was completed, we took a jaunt into town.  After dropping The Boy off at daycamp, we sauntered over to Charlie's feed store and asked him all about bird food.  You see, chickens truly are a "gateway" livestock.  Get a few meaties and you'll want layers. Get a few layers and soon you end up with ducks.  Once the ducks are settled in you will naturally turn to Guineafowl.  Aaaaaand, the list goes on from there.  Hopefully all this will lead to a nice Belgian gelding quite soon...

But I digress.

After a little feed-store education, we came home and set about the business of logging.  Doo (equipped with his bell) and I took a walk to the other end of the property and had a look at a stack of logs which had been left behind. Over 40 eight-foot pieces of ash and beech are left to rot and for the life of me I can't figure how to get them out. I might put them in a pile near the fence and ask our neighbour in the fall if I can access his field to take them out.

Doo and I dragged several logs around, looking for the best place to bring them close.  Of course, as I was moving them around I thought to myself, "Self, it would be much easier to find a good path if you weren't dragging the logs through the forest behind you." But of course, I didn't pay attention to that tiny voice.

I went up and down the hill a few times before I gave up and started to drag a large piece of beech home.  A couple hours later, after all that futile effort, I didn't want to come home empty handed.  But it was a chore dragging it over logs, muddy ruts, stumps, large branches and through grass and rushes taller than me. 

Of course, Doo was my constant companion this entire time - deliriously running about, sniffing, sneezing and doing his doggy thing.

It's almost 900m from the house to the east end of the property and I paid in sweat for every footstep. I was drenched from perspiration alone - never mind that a light shower had started falling.  My boots got sucked into the mud a couple of times. I fell a few times - during which I had visions of my femoral, carotid or brachial arteries (you pick) being penetrated by any number of discarded sticks, branches, twigs or limbs which litter our property in great number.

Eventually I took to counting my steps - for every hundred I took, I'd take a small rest in order that the deer flies could also take a break and have a wee feed on the tender skin behind my ears.   During the homestretch, right before the brook, eyes stinging with sweat, I entertained the notion of jumping in, clothes and all, for a dip in the crisp, refreshing water. 

But I was too thirsty and after dropping the log, I elected to carry on back to the house.  Just for shiggles, I had decided to count my paces from the bridge back to the house. I'd just reached thirty-nine when in front of me, Doo took a flying leap straight into the air.  He danced about and began pushing his face into the dirt, clearly in distress.

I called a few times to him and  he belly-scooted over to me - shoulder dropped, eye closed, dragging his body.

Once he got close enough I saw a yellow liquid on his forehead, over his muzzle and completely down the front. 

Oh fuck.  Skunk.

I got the dip in the creek after all.  Once I convinced Doo to stop rolling around and follow me down, I began rinsing him with creek water to soothe his eye and mouth.   At tremendous sacrifice, I even used my favourite cap to scoop the cold, running water onto his neck, back and face.   For a dog who does not really like the water, he took it all like a champ.

After doing the best I could with just water, we made our way home - I was in front, leading a very sad dog who followed with his head down, closely behind.

"Laur", I said into the basement window by her desk, "Tru is ok, but we've had a mishap."
"You mean you can't smell that?" I asked.
"Oh fuck", came the reply, "skunk."

Having been through this with Petey, she knew the recipe for anti-skunk-stink shampoo and quickly put a batch together.   Here's the recipe if you ever need it:

1/2 bottle peroxide (about 250ml), 2-3 heaping tbsp baking soda, generous squirt of good-quality dish soap (because skunk scent is quite oily).

 Doggy sadness turned to absolute dejection as I began to hose and scrub him down.  Poor ol' Doo!  The skunk had got him all over the side of his head, his chest and shoulder.  It was in his eye, ear and nose.  I'm sure it was painful as eye lids and eye were bright red.  I could even smell it on his breath, which means it got him in the mouth, too.

It really is too bad that you can't smell a picture.

After two soap/rinse cycles, we went out to the meadow and played a few good games of of stick to relieve some stress and dry him out a bit.

I think we got most of it off - the bell and collar didn't seem any worse for wear, my hat and clothes are now in the wash on "sterilize" (so thankful I was wearing an old ripped-up pair of rain pants) and Doo is completely knackered out.  Laur reports that he's now curled up in a tiny ball, sleeping on the cozy by her desk.

I think it was a young skunk - what with his bell and all, it should have had ample warning that something was coming.  It's also unusual for a skunk out during the day - they've been described as "crepuscular" (isn't that a great word?).

I wonder what he'll think the next time he comes across a skunk?


  1. Oh poor guy. That is disgusting but I guess you are right it was bound to happen Mom

    1. I think it's an omen - that means he's a good one.

  2. poor truman.

    so maybe you should take the talkie walkies with you when you traverse the back forty.

  3. So we can talk to the skunk and let it know we're coming?

  4. so you can call for help after the skunk temporarily blinds the dog or you impale yourself on a random stick while dragging logs home

    1. Makes sense. Truthfully I hadn't thought of that. I had the talkie-walkies when I first started logging with the tractor, but have become rather complacent lately.

      Good idear.