Tuesday, October 6, 2015

the stink of it


Sirius wants to tell you that he is very sorry about chasing that skunk last night.  He does not know what he was thinking. He saw what happened last week when his half pint sidekick Millie chased her own stinker.  It was probably the same skunk, come to think of it.  But Pepe le Pew seems to be living under the barn.  And it is kind of driving Sirius crazy, knowing he is under there.  So Sirius is digging holes, and in some canine thought process no human can understand, these holes are adjacent to the barn, but not really attempting to get under it.  As though he is drawing arrows for the humans in his life.  This way.  Skunk downward and near here.  And these holes sometimes need a stolen dishtowel offered as sacrifice.  


Usually, Sirius would have been taking a nap, when he had his run in with Pepe.  Or making like a snail.  The most strenuous act he might engage in is to dig a hole in the middle of a freshly weeded garden bed.  


And lie down in it.  To nap.  So it must have been on his way back to his cozy hole that he came upon Pepe returning home after a visit to the chicken coop.

The path between chicken coop and river and house and barn has been heavily travelled these days.  There is a predator in the backyard.  It opened a door, bungied and blocked with cement blocks one night, and took one of the hens, leaving the remaining five...all a flutter.  It was surprising, this first predator attack in quite some time.  And very sad.  And a good many nice words have been said about that hen in remembrance of her.  

Things have been looking a bit bleak down there ever since, with elaborate trapping systems set and baited each night, latches and weights and secret codes all employed.  And each morning, though no more hens have been lost, traps are sprung, flung, and emptied of all bait...and are empty themselves. 



We have tried all manner of attractions...most of them the most disgustingly smelly things from the compost bin.  Apparently they are delicious.  But only when served pepper shaker style. Because I can't think what else this creature must have been doing except shaking them out the end.  

And also?  It is molting season. And despite our affection for the hens we raised ourselves, they are, right now, kind of hideous. 



I know, right?  Eek.  Does anyone else see a mullet here?

And the dogs and hens are attempting to coexist out there with a common enemy.  Because the dogs stink, as has been mentioned.  And are not allowed in the house.  And while lounging and digging and stinking outside, the canines keep the falcons and hawks away, who are hanging about, swooping and taking notice of the hens.  

Please note.  A certain hen is not at risk of being taken aloft by those comparatively measly birds.  


Jane:  fifteen pounds of fowl.

But there are others...


Well.  Those angry looks might be enough to protect them.

So anyway, likely along the path between coop and barn, is when Sirius and Pepe encountered one other.  And though Sirius did not chase Pepe, because he had recently dug a hole, and was understandably exhausted from such an exertion, he was standing there.  And thusly surprised Pepe on his way to shimmying back under the barn.

It's not entirely Sirius' fault that he was standing right there however, because with the change of weather, from warm to cold in the evenings, animals are on the move around here.  And Sirius was forgotten outside a few moments too long, and was there rather than in his favorite inside place to snooze, in front of the woodstove.  

But forgotten why, you ask.  Because his humans were inside doing some kind of truly bizarre crime scene investigation enactment.  He watched it through the window, perched on the bulkhead door.  


This was so distressing to Sirius to watch that he may, or may not, he will not admit to responsibility here, have chewed on the newly placed bulkhead door waterproofing material.


And that crime scene reenactment?  He heard one human giggle and call the other David Caruso.  


Those rescue cats who act as though they like you one minute and hiss at you the next?  They had been stinking up a rug.  And so his humans were at it to figure out the exact source, the precise spot.  Sirius hears it through the grapevine that Swiper One and Hisser Two are on lock down right now, too.  Sirius kind of misses their playful banter.

As if these adventures weren't enough, while one human was crawling around on his hands and knees in the dark (they look so weird when they do this), the other one was upstairs, collecting cats from beneath beds.  That human walked into Julia's bedroom, a known hang out for the urinating suspects.  And once kneeling down to peer beneath Julia's bed, she smelled it.  A bad smell of a completely different sort.  Decomp, she said to herself, feeling like Scully.  She turned toward the fireplace.  


Yup.  That was the source.  She looked through the fireplace screen and saw no body.  But did see debris.  Lots and lots of debris.  This vertical tunnel to the outside has been implicated in past events of bat entry.  These nights have not gone well.  But tonight, it seemed something had come part way down the chimney and had not left.  A snack of pinecones had been enjoyed.  And then, perhaps, a bat scared it to death.  Or it ate a bad seed.  And there was no way now to encourage it elsewhere.



Serious intervention was made.  And hopes for the best.


Yes.  That is a paint tarp.  Tucked.  And a can of deodorizer.  It was late.  And at the end of tucking and spritzing and hoping, Nicholas arrived on the scene and announced, I smell a skunk.  Are the dogs outside?

Sirius feels especially bad about all this.  For his timing.  For his desire to rub against you to express his love, and the resulting sprints all loved humans have to undertake to keep away from him.  And because he knows how hard you worked on cleaning out the barn this weekend.  And it looked so nice.  

Which is good, because apparently, for the next few nights, until he can be in the presence of others without making their eyes sting, he will be living there when he is not outside.  


It is also a very nice place to take a nap.

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