Thursday, October 1, 2009

Skunk(s) Again

Now I'm not so sure about my original two skunk hypothesis. There's only one skunk trying to get in the barn right now. Peeking in the screen door, scratching the cat door and generally pawing around. The events of last night are the reason I'm changing my mind on the issue. Michelle woke me up somewhere around 2am to report noises down below. Access through the cat door had been blocked. The screen door was closed. What could it be? Skunk again. So I propped open the door, even though it obviously didn't need a way out, and went back to sleep. I was up early enough to see in the pre-dawn light and solved the mystery. The skunk had come in through a tunnel under the sill of the barn, a tunnel made, quite obviously, by a skunk getting out, not in. There's no way of knowing what happened when. The cats and the skunk don't seem to mind each other, oddly enough. If a strange cat approaches the barn, Ox will fiercely defend his territory. A few minutes ago all three were out front within a several feet of each other. (I trained the flashlight on the skunk and told him to get lost. He left but not in a hurry.) I went around the corner outside and noticed that he had been trying to dig his way back in at the same spot as before. I interrupted this attempted break in by banging on the wall with the pointy end of a broom. Hopefully, he's gone for the night. Given that, according to an entry in Wikipedia, skunks have powerful front legs and long claws that a perfect for digging, there's no way we can stop him from getting in short of digging around the perimeter of the barn and burying some sort of wire mesh. If this had happened at the beginning of the summer, I'd had done that by now. But we've got such a short time left in the barn I don't know that it's worth the effort.

I finally got the wood stove up and running. There's a fire blazing in it right now. I'm not taking any chances that, come tomorrow morning, the last application of joint compound won't be dry. The diversion of heat from the solar hot water system is working beautifully. It was 69F in the house this morning just by turning something we hadn't used into heat for the floor.

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