"If providence did beards devise,
To prove the wearers of them wise,
A fulsome goat would then, by nature,
Excel each other human creature." - Thomas D'Urfey

Sunday, March 8, 2009

An Odious Tail

Two posts in one day? What is the world coming to? That aside, you are probably reading that title and thinking, 'An Odious Tail? Figures. That stupid goat can't spell.' But let me tell you, you are quite mistaken for that is exactly the spelling I intended! And therein lies the tale.

You see, one day not too awfully long ago, the goatmother began to notice a certain, shall we say to be polite, excrement, begin to show up in the barn. Now it was way too large to be one of those stupid mice, and it wouldn't have been so bad except it began to show up atop the bales of hay. Not just a dropping here and there, but A LOT of droppings here and there. This would never do since anyone familiar with goats knows, with abject certainty, just how punctilious we are about what we consume. Since the hay we have has to last us until the time of at least the first cutting, and preferably the second, it soon became obvious that something simply had to be done. This being the case, the goatfather was commandeered into setting traps. Not that the goatmother is normally in favor of such things, but, well, given the nature of the situation...you understand. Anyway, to make a long story short, the rat was caught. Whew, thought the goatmother and then promptly re-commandeered the goatfather into re-setting the traps...just in case the relatives had been invited to stay over.

So all went well until... You see, there are these creatures called skunks. 'Ah, ha!', you say. But, really, you don't quite understand. You see, Washington state has two skunk species. One is the striped skunk and the other is the spotted skunk, otherwise known as a 'civet cat'. Generally, skunks are a good thing, being beneficial because they feed on lots of things we don't normally cotton to such as mice, moles, voles, rats (did I say rats?) grasshoppers, wasps, buzzy bees, crickets and beetles. (Also the occasional garden veggie, but everyone has some little vice. I draw the line at Peanuts, however.) Now a striped skunk ranges from 22 to 32 inches - far too large to get into the barn. But a spotted skunk? Those little guys are only 14 to 18 inches, and can climb like nobody's business (and it isn't anyone's business, thank you very much.) They can go just about anywhere a rat can go. Uh-oh.

This morning the goatmother trudged out to the barn. In. The. Snow. (Okay, the snow wasn't that deep, but like TNT, we know drama...) She opened the door and ..Haysus, Marvin and Geraldine!!! The emanation coming from insdie that barn could've T.K.O.'d a bull elephant ( or Boo) at 50 paces!

Now take a gander at the fellow below. He's cute, right? I ask you, how could anything so cute smell so totally bad?? Just so you know, spotted skunks are rarely ever seen ( meaning the goatmother DID NOT take this picture). They only come out at night (unlike the striped skunk who may be seen in the day occasionally), and abhor the light so much they may not even venture out on a moonlit night. (No romance there. I wonder if that's why there are fewer spotted skunks?) And, spotted skunks spray even less. No really. Stop laughing. It's true. But you see, apparently this little guy went looking for the rat and found the re-set traps instead.

You see, skunks have very poor eyesight. So much so, that it is said they will often approach people (or goats...or fenceposts...) who are standing still. It is recommended that if this happens, move...away........slooow...ly... (No goat berries, little goatie...duh!) So obviously our little Skunkie McGoo bumped the trap, it snapped shut, and startled him so badly he 'let 'er fly'. And fly it did...all over the barn.

The first thing the goatmother did was to re-commandeer the goatfather into taking up those dumb traps. Then she left all the doors open all day. (Freezing my goat-bum off here!) Not to mention that we are in dire trouble because it is also recommended that when there are skunks around one should avoid making loud noises, moving quickly or taking other steps that could be interpreted as a threat. How are we supposed to get Peanut to follow that directive? And what about Ella? Doomed, I say. We are doomed.

You know, I read that the skunk's blessed elixir is oily and only slightly volatile. Therefore it will go away 'on it's own'...veeeery....s-l-o-w.....l-y. It will go away eventually - perhaps two to four months. Oy. So far it looks like maybe we're only going to have to donate 4 bales or so to the compost pile. All I can say is it's a darned good thing the Peanuts were covered. In the meantime, anyone know if Febreze will work???

1 comment:

Lex Houdini Dog said...

Yow! I'm sorry that you have to endure that unpleasantness. Skunk stink is stupid.