Monday, March 21, 2005

I Think I’ll Call Him Harvey

Most people buy their compost at the garden store or by the pickup-truck-load. I buy mine at the grocery store. I buy cauliflower and eggplant, kale and cabbage, apples and oranges and lemons. Then I put them in the refrigerator and wait. Sometimes I cook them, put them back in the refrigerator and wait. After the appropriate time has passed, I pull them out of the refrigerator and add them to my compost bucket, which during these winter months sits right in the kitchen. A full bucket prompts a trip up to the compost pile the far side of the garden, and these days I make that trip on snowshoes.

The dogs and I headed up to the compost pile yesterday—it is one of their favorite outings, but then what isn’t? that’s why you gotta love dogs—and found a flurry of tiny tracks around the coffee grounds emerging from the snow. Aha!

In these days of early spring, we have had a visitor, an unusual white skunk, or so it appears to be. Some authoritative sources opine that it is a skunk with such wide white stripes that it only appears to be white. Sometimes he likes the garage, sometimes the barn across the road, but the dogs are mightily offended that he thinks he can hang around here, and they are intent on teaching that intruding critter a lesson, so I am keeping them a little closer to home.

Having done a little research into what one does about visiting skunks, I have chosen to take refuge in fiction and hope. I don’t actually know that this is a boy skunk, but I choose to believe so. I would prefer to believe that it is a boy skunk on his early spring trip through the neighborhood looking for girls rather than a girl skunk about to settle in to have babies in the garage. I have no basis for this belief, but cling to it nevertheless.

People have a lot of theories, ranging from shooting the skunk in the head to trapping it then putting a blanket over the cage, but all of the theories fall apart around the general topic of skunk spray. None of these approaches seems really practical, and I don’t really (yet) have anything against old Harvey, named for his appearance as a harbinger of spring.


Lorianne said...

I saw the first skunk of spring a couple of weeks ago during a stint of warm weather. He was poking along the walkway alongside my house as if he owned the place. I guess spotting the first skunk of spring is a seasonal ritual akin to Groundhog's Day.

Byron said...

Fiction and Hope are wonderful refuges. Good luck with Harvey, or perhaps Harriet. I have no idea on how best to deal with skunks, other than staying upwind. I stumbled across your blog and have enjoyed it. Greetings from a fellow native Georgian who loves Vermont.