Seems like we had an unexpected visitor during the night.

In fact the past couple nights, this visitor has been hanging around.

I’m scared to maneuver around in the dark.  Never know when you might step on this fellow.

And, guaranteed, you do NOT want to step on this black and white furry creature.

You’ve guessed it, I’m sure.  It’s a skunk.  He (or she) has taken to hangin’ rouind, maybe trying to get to know us.  Fortunately or unfortunately, we haven’t spotted him.  So you won’t see a real-live skunk photo to admire the quivering raised tail and alarmed-looking expression. 

Here are some reasons we know it’s a skunk.

Clue #1:  he's been digging up our yard

Clue #1: he's been digging up our yard

In past years, we’ve spotted the waddling fellow pawing his claws in the yard in the wee morning hours.  It may not be our current visitor.  It may be one of our visitor’s grandparents.  But in previous years we’ve witnessed this tell-tale behavior.  And we have seen the waddler headed toward one of the culverts.  Probably his guest house.

Clue #2:  The Big Bobber

Clue #2: The Big Bobber

A clever sleuth examines all the clues.  The next most obvious clue happened Sunday morning, before we were awake.  A loud clanging noise sounded from the front porch. The house’s two sleepers refused to even investigate the racket until full daylight.  At which time, the male householder discovered footprints on his Big Bobber cooler which was sitting leisurely on the porch until the visitor knocked it over and left a perfect paw print for evidence.  (Blog Photographer should have captured image with her camera.  She did not.)  Big Bobber cooler had hosted three dead fish caught in Lake Superior the day before, and male householder had hosed out the smelly cooler before bed.  Our guest was obviously quite enamoured by the fishy aroma.

Clue #3:  nibbled acorn shells

Clue #3: nibbled acorn shells

OK, OK, we really can’t link the acorn shells with the skunk.  It could have been chipmunks or squirrels lunching on the acorns.  But, for your information, here is what skunks eat (from WikiAnswers):  

Skunks are omnivorous, eating both plant and animal material and changing their diet as the seasons change. They eat insects and larvae, earthworms, small rodents, lizards, salamanders, frogs, snakes, birds, moles, and eggs. They also commonly eat berries, roots, leaves, grasses, fungi, and nuts.

In settled areas, skunks also seek human garbage. Less often, skunks may be found acting as scavengers, eating bird and rodent carcasses left by cats or other animals. Pet owners, particularly those of cats, may experience a skunk finding its way into a garage or basement where pet food is kept. Skunks commonly dig holes in lawns in search of grubs and worms.

Skunks are one of the primary predators of the honeybee, relying on their thick fur to protect them from stings. The skunk scratches at the front of the beehive and eats the guard bees that come out to investigate. Mother skunks are known to teach this to their young.

Now we all know more about the skunk.  But here’s the last absolutely definitive clue.  And you won’t get a picture with this one:

When I opened the door this morning there was skunk smell everywhere! 

I headed through the thick-smelling aroma quite rapidly at 6:45 a.m., looking furtively around for our visitor.  What a smell! What an aroma!  We definitively have a not-so-sweet-smelling visitor!

Lupine blooming

Lupine blooming

Perhaps that’s why the lupine is blooming at this time of year–maybe to add some sweet scent to our acreage.  (Just kiddin’, a few odd and eccentric lupines bloom in late August or early September, just to remind us that Anything can Happen in nature.)

Dandelion puffball

Dandelion puffball

Shall we make a wish that the skunk goes away?  No…I don’t think so.  Years ago a Native American friend heard that skunks liked to hang around our property at times.  She nodded slowly, wisely, and said, “Skunk medicine is good medicine. You are lucky.” 

Just so long as we don’t step on one, or run into one in the dark!

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