Posts Tagged ‘skunk’

The sky was a bright baby blue, with dollops of white and grey whipped crème floating over head.

The humidity had abated for the past two days, slightly. The temperatures were in the eighties, with a cooling breeze that edged its ways over cow pastures and corn fields, filling the air with the pungent scent of wet hay, cows and manure.

Uriah was covered in a layer of powdery dirt. He had spent most of this hot, hot summer hiding under the deck, where he had dug himself a hole to keep cool, Uriah’s favorite place to sleep away the summer. He hated coming into the garage.  I assumed he didn’t want to miss the chance to chase a bird, or run in circles after a rabbit, rat, or skunk.

I pulled out the hose, set a bottle of watered down shampoo on the grill and picked up Uriah’s’ leash and harness.  Then, I looked around for the dusty dog.  He had slipped past me and was heading at a trot towards the apple trees.  Head down he never looked up as I tried to call him back.  Trying to drag him back would be a waste of time.  He always won.

I gave up! I turned off the hose and sat down on the steps, and decided to enjoy the day.

The warm breeze rustled the trees sending a spray of dried leaves floating to the ground.

It is still August and Mother Nature is yelling fall.

I already picked one soccer ball size pumpkin and set it inside on the kitchen table, there was another one slowly ripening, it was slightly bigger. A third had grown entangled in the tomato patch that one has been gnawed on for the past month by the rat family. I tried covering it when I first spotted the dark green fruit; I was excited it was actually growing. Then I was surprised by how much of the unripe pumpkin was eaten and it still grew. Now it is a bright orange buffet table, along with half a dozen zucchinis, whose insides were eaten first. They sat elongated and hollow. Mini rodent condos!

Mice and rats must be drawing straws to see who would be the one to forage for food. I wonder if they realize they are on a suicide mission.

The more they poke around the more they are noticed. The last rat, would yell at me when I came outside. She chattered a safe distance away, like a nagging wife/husband.. I haven’t seen her in a week or more.

With that thought, I saw a flash of dark gray fur scurry from the trees to the garden.

 I stood up to check it out, when this little creature hurried over to watch me!

 It poked its head up between the leaves and blinked. It had big cartoon eyes, a tiny body and the biggest roundest ears I ever saw on a rodent.

Uriah ambled over to find out who I was talking to, and then decided to save me and raced into the zucchini plants. The rat ran in the opposite direction and Uriah was left searching for something that was no longer there.

I stood and watched. I took notice that the grass needs to be cut. The door frames should be painted. The deck should have a coat of stain. And there is a nest of hornets or paper wasps that really shouldn’t be hanging near the door. 

All this and more should be added to my, ‘To Do’ list.

Things that I have to do before winter!  Stuff I can only do in the summertime.

Hmmm!  Like eating ice cream!  Once that thought flashed into my head, I put away the shampoo and dug in the freezer for the last ice cream bar. I un-wrapped it, then sat outside, on the steps, mentally adding to my list, ‘Get more ice cream!’

Uriah’s nose immediately zeroed in on the treat.

We shared…

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Hello, everyone!  This has been a very long, tiring month. With Michael unable to drive, I have been doing all the driving. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue, but I have a back injury that makes it hard for me to sit, stand, and walk for even short periods of time.  Before, we were taking turns driving, now it’s all me. With multiple doctor appointments for all of us, including our teenager who will start ninth grade August 16th, I am having trouble even checking my emails. 

Now on to other happenings..

Yesterday Uriah killed, ‘That Rat’!

Where’d he go!

We were standing next to the garden. I was complaining about all the tomatoes that have been eaten in the past week. Thirteen! Thirteen big beautiful tomatoes!

I can’t say for sure it was a rat that ate the tomatoes, it could have been the skunk, a family lives near the barn. Or the opossum, one tried to take up residence in the dog house. Maybe raccoons!  There are plenty of those around. Even coyotes love tomatoes. Do foxes eat tomatoes?

What they looked like, then they were gone!

Anyway, Uriah turned away from me and started nosing around a square drainage tube that was lying at the top end of the garden. Ground squirrels like to hide there. I raised the tube to slide out the animal, and it held on inside tight. I rolled it over, and over until it was pointed at the Bog Willows and the rodent slid out.  A very fat, cute reddish rat ran a zigzagged pattern towards the trees.

Uriah looked up at me, surprised.

“Hey, you go catch that rat!” Ooops! I used the wrong word. Rat sounds like cat, Uriah isn’t supposed to chase a cat, and so he sat and watched it run. I pointed at the rat and yelled.  “Mouse! Get that mouse!”

 Uriah hesitated, then started chasing it through the grass. 

Yes, it squeaked, so do Ground Squirrels and Chipmunks. I almost called Uriah off. Almost..

The chase lasted only a minute or two, with Uriah tossing it into the air, then turning in circles and a giant leap, then silence.  Uriah waited. I praised him and gave him a pork rawhide bone. He happily trotted off, while I moved the body to the burn pile, fully intending to burn the tree branches and that rat, tomorrow. 

We were due at the doctors in an hour and I won’t light a fire if I’m not around. So that was the plan, tomorrow light the fire…

It rained all night. The trees are flooded.  The water line is inching towards the house and overflowing the burn pile. I need another plan…

 Link on Chipmunks and Ground Squirrels:


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This happened two nights ago…

It was only eight o’clock at night. I needed to bring Uriah inside. He was still outside in his kennel.  

A couple hours earlier I tried to coax Uriah in the house. But he wanted to sit outside. With the sun setting, coyotes would be coming closer to the house, so I locked him inside his kennel.

It was time to bring him inside. I flicked on the outside light and without waiting for the light to come on I stepped out the garage door.  I was met by a wall of darkness. I looked down at my hands and could barely see them. A heavy fog had settled in close to the ground, which caused a curtain of blackness to fall over everything. Silence assaulted my senses. For a second I contemplated going back into he house until the lights came on.  I shook off the uneasy feeling and clutched my ski pole.  

I walked forward, then turned to the right and headed around the back of the house towards the dog kennel. I hesitated again! The silence was over powering! I called to Uriah. He didn’t answer.  I looked up at the light; it was taking its time turning on. Maybe the dampness or the cold air was the reason.  Or maybe I was being paranoid!  It takes time for that light to heat up.  I couldn’t hear anything moving around out there in the dark. But something felt wrong.

I laughed off a trickle of fear and called to Uriah. He didn’t make a sound. Something else did in that heavy darkness! An odd, growl and movement, then the sound of a branch breaking came from the direction of the apple trees.

I stopped and peered into the foggy blackness. Silence! A deep heavy silence!  

I told myself, if there was something out there I should be able to hear it again and there wasn’t a sound anywhere around me.

“Hey Uriah! I really think I should have waited for the light to come on.”  He didn’t answer me.  I knew he was alright, I was talking to him through the window earlier; as it got colder I closed the window and watched him as he stared out into the yard.

I shuffled to the kennel door, opened it. Uriah stood there watching me but didn’t make a move to leave.

I stood at the open door and waved at him to leave.  “Come on! You have to come inside!” 

Uriah turned away from me and stared out into the yard towards the apple trees. He was pacing in place.

I turned and looked out over the wall of blackness. A chill ran up my spine and I fought the urge to step into the kennel with Uriah and close the door. Not a smart move! I would be locked outside, not inside the house.

Then I just made a bad mistake!  I allowed fear to creep around me…

Animals can smell fear. Uriah came up to me and leaned against my leg. Great! He was nervous too…

“Ok, here’s the plan. We walk out of here. You pee! We get into the house fast! Just pretend we don’t think anyone is watching us.”

Brave Uriah whimpered and looked out towards the apple trees, again..

I muttered. “That’s not helping!”

 I coaxed Uriah out of the kennel. He stayed as close  to me as he could get -behind me and under my coat.  I didn’t like this situation…

Then I got mad…

“Alright! Whoever is out there, get the hell out of my yard!”  Uriah perked up immediately and walked in front of me and wagged his tail.

Then I heard a clinking sound, similar to tags on a dog collar. I thought I was imagining that sound.  But Uriah’s head turned to the sound as fast as I had. It came from the apple trees…

I yelled out into the darkness and stepped forward. “Uriah are you going to pee now?”  Then I turned towards the driveway and started to walk.

Uriah followed. I stopped, he urinated and we slowly waked back to the garage.

I kept thinking. “I am not afraid!” Still, I could feel that tickle of fear creep up again. Fear is one scent I really didn’t want to send that out into the yard.  Once an animal catches a whiff of fear, he will attack. I was so glad there wasn’t a wind and we were nearly in the house. And I wasn’t sure what type of animal was out there watching..

Uriah pushed past me and was inside before I had the door fully open.

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This morning I stepped outside to sunshine and heavy humid air. Along the western horizon I could see dark clouds moving slowly east. Black birds were pushing aside wet leaves in an attempt to find worms that had felt the warmth and slithered to the surface. I wondered how many they actually found.  Or was my guess of worms wrong and they were eating seeds, or larva.  The ground was still a solid block of ice, later on I will have to crawl around and check out the area myself…

I shuffled over the leaves and the black birds scattered as I passed by.

 The low area of the path had gotten muddier over night. Even now, the ice and snow melted under the glare of warm sunshine.  The thick broken ice became more of an obstacle course than an uncomplicated walk. At least the ice held the sharp sticks as I slipped over them. The mud, black and slippery, allowed the one to two inches of broken and cut sticks and grass, the opportunity to puncture my boots. 

Walking through this area took more time than it had yesterday.  Uriah became impatient and ran on ahead. He had disappeared into the trees by the time I started walking up the slight incline. I moved south, then east, straight into the un-melted snow.

The distinct smell of skunk wafted around the trees, I glanced around and didn’t see him. I decided, that it was a smart idea to leave, while I could still taste and smell.

 The birds were very vocal again today. Their songs intermingled into a sweet sound of spring.  I stood next to a knocked down fence post and closed my eyes and listened.

A train was heading through the town; the wind blew straight at me from the south, bringing every clack-clack and heavy thudding sound clear as a bell into my universe.  I turned on my camera and started the video; I was only able to capture a sixteen second piece of geese flying over head, before the camera flashed low battery and shut off.

Ooops! I forgot to recharge the battery last night. I slipped the camera back into its case and started walking home.  

A breeze kicked up around me, low to the ground. I smiled, and looked up at the tree tops, enjoying the warmer air. Then I started to sneeze, and sneeze and sneeze and sneeze. I’m allergic to mold! When we have a heavy rain that hangs around for a few days or like today, slow melting snow… That’s when mold appears and I start sneezing, eyes watering and I sound very congested.

I stopped my trek to admire some bright green moss I had found yesterday under a tree. (I had taken a picture.)  That tree had mold growing along its trunk… Oh well!

By the time I reached the house the sun had disappeared behind heavy dark grey clouds.

If it was possible it felt like the air had doubled in humidity. At least I stopped sneezing…

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A fog rolled in over night and hung on through the morning, the sky a grayish white that shifted downwards and covered everything. As I walked around the back path, I stopped and listen to the birds. They were heralding in spring.

Rains had started yesterday so the ground had a mushy soft coating like frosting on a cake and ice hard underneath.

I side stepped muskrat holes, coyote and raccoon scat.

 This is a muskrat hole I have been avoiding all winter, still the snow hangs on around it…

As I headed back home I hesitated along the northern section and tried to pull out movement in the underbrush. Two days ago, when I walked this same area I stepped into a cloud of skunk perfume. I gagged and blinked, Uriah who had been right  behind me, slowly backed up and grimaced, then took off on a run, back towards the house.


I really wish I could move that fast.

Luckily the spray didn’t hit me directly so I was able to smell and taste within the hour.

Michael kept coming up to me all night and sniffing, then asking if I smell a skunk….

Today I didn’t see or smell a skunk. But the birds were in full song, especially the Black birds! The cardinals live in the trees near the house. The past few days the geese have been flying low, honking and filling the sky with their V shaped formations. I pulled out my camera and started video taping the birds. I edited them, and added a short poem.

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The thought for the day was two fold. Drain and replace the antifreeze in the tractor before the radiator cracks. The second, walk the driveway and decide whether to snow blow today, or tomorrow.

 I stepped outside and the lack of sound was overpowering.  

 A flurry of compacted flakes blanketed the air as they slowly drifted out of a solid grey sky. Every piece of ground, branch and roof top was outlined and covered in piles of soft, feathery snow.

 Uriah immediately threw himself onto the snow covered driveway and rolled and moaned. Then he jumped up and raced in a circle around me.

 I grabbed the push shovel and cleared a four foot area in front of the garage door.  Then I set the shovel back in the garage and looked around for Uriah.  He had headed out towards the northeast tree line. He had set his nose into the snow, and started running.  The snow piled over his head and back. Within a few seconds he was covered in white and looked like he was tunneling under the snow.

 I glanced towards the barn, and decided the tractor could wait. I needed see how much damage happened between the ice storms, pouring rains and massive snow fall.  While I walked around I could check the driveway.

 I whistled for my dog and headed down the driveway to the west. 

This snow was perfect for cross country skiing, soft and puffy.  Lousy for building a snow man, it won’t hold together.  

This morning, Kenshin, our half Siamese male, complained loudly until I brought in some snow for him. He grabbed the bowl with his front paws and pulled the snow onto the rug and floor. He ran around, sliding in it.  I shook the snow onto his head.  He was so excited; he turned in circles and then jumped up and tried to catch the flakes.

 I had grabbed a handful of Kenshin’s snow, and rolled the snow over and over, in my hands, until it started to melt and formed a ball.  My hands froze!  When it was hard enough, I slid the snowball across the kitchen floor. Kenshin took off down the hallway after the ice ball. When I went to find him he was sitting on the snowball like a chicken on an egg.  With a wide puffy cheeky grin, only he can make. 

Now, I am walked along the east end of the driveway.  The snow at this point, was only up to my ankles. I could see the deeper drifts along the bend.

I had only walked about thirty feet, when tuned towards the house.  The closer I got to the house, the deeper the snow became, until it was knee high.  The bushes, in front of the house, had at least a foot of snow perched on top. I used my ski pole to slide it across each one, cutting apart the snow.

I noticed Uriah nosing around the four, Blue Spruces near the southern fence. I stopped and tried to smell the cold air.  The last time Uriah brought me over here he was bothering a skunk. I wasn’t falling for that again. I hesitated! Nothing, no skunk!  I moved towards the trees.

The silence was heavy.  Not even a bird.

 I walked around the back of the trees.  Uriah came with me. That’s when I saw the snow had accumulated along the southern side of the trees.  I brushed off one of the lower branches, and gave one of the higher branches a little shake.

Then, I stepped back to check out the next tree. Uriah was noising under that one. He was sniffing at some rabbit tracks. Just as I came in close and reached up to shake the snow off a higher branch.  Uriah dove underneath the tree.   His movements vibrated through the trunk, and caused the snow, even higher up to loosen.  An avalanche of snow tumbled down from those higher branches onto us both.

I was a snowwoman! Snow trickled down inside the collar of my coat, onto my bare neck.

Uriah was happy; he pranced and started rolling in the deep snow. 

“I’m full of snow!”  I growled.  

Uriah ran at me and grabbed my pants leg and tried to trip me. When I laughed, he ran around me and tried again. I shook the snow off my hat at him.

I turned and looked up at the trees; the snow was heaver higher up. I decided if the wind picked up tonight all that soft snow will fall.  If it doesn’t, I will come out tomorrow. Without Uriah and shake them off.

“Ok, Uriah! Where to now?”

Uriah barked and ran off towards the back path.

The snow became deeper the further away from the house we got. Uriah ran ahead, anticipating a walk in the far back.  So, he hit the ice and water first. I watched as he stopped and slowly turned to look at me with an, “Ahhhw Shoot!” look on his furry face, just as his weight broke the ice under his paws. He only slipped into water a couple of inches deep, but it must have been cold.

“Come on Uriah, let’s walk this way.” I coaxed him out of the water and off the ice. When he walked up to me, I rubbed his face.  Then I pushed him behind me and I walked forward to check the path. I could see ice under the snow stretching ahead into running water.

Uriah waited for me to whistle at him. Then he raced ahead, kicking up snow as he ran. I walked along the tree line, heading west, back to the house.

I focused my attention inside the trees. The standing water showed up as grey frozen patches, slightly hidden under the snow.  Water flowed out towards the drainage pipe, which ran under the gravel driveway in front of the barn. The ice was grayish-green with pee-yellow streaks caught just under the surface. Frozen in place! The yellow looked like veins in a leaf.

I walked over the top of the drainage pipe, past the barn and in-between the mulberry bush.

The water trickled from the open pipe, on the west end of the barn. It flowed about twenty feet, until it froze solid!  The top of the water had eight puffy, round snow mounds that resembled giant marshmallows.  And three ovate shaped ones, which looked like they were pinched in the middle, then stretched out on the ends. The water was dark and clear; I could see the dark greens and assorted gold colors of the field grass under the water.

Uriah stood behind me, and whimpered he didn’t want his paws wet again.

“What’s wrong?” As I asked him, he turned and ran to the garage door. He had enough of the cold and wet.   

I pulled at my collar and shook some snow out from under my jacket. “Ok, let’s go back in for a biscuit and coffee!”…



Picture is from word clip art

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Yesterday  morning,  I was up with the sun. I opened the window blinds next to the computer, the window that faces east and I watched the sunrise.  A blanket of Altostratus clouds covered half the sky, rippling from the sunset towards the west.

  Along the horizon a narrow strip of pinkish, reddish, sunrise slipped through the break in the clouds and spread upwards, weaving under and over the clouds.  Then peeked out to outline the ripple of clouds in a yellow, white, and pink tinge, all the while the clouds raced, from west to east, along the southern skyline.

Kenshin, my half Siamese male, jumped effortlessly onto the windowsill. He settled his hind legs, with a wiggle, positioning himself on the ledge.  The tip of his tail flipped as he stared outside.

Kenshin’s sister, Tomoe, jumped up next to him in perfect pantomime.  With a flip of her tail she sat beside him. Her shining black fur rolled in irritation.   They both turned, two set of eyes followed my every move, his light blue and her bright gold eyes.   

 Loosing interest in me, they turned back to the window and watched a rat hopping around the outside kennel.  Their mouths quivered.  An odd sound came from both of them. He made a high pitch growling meowing sound. She kept opening and closing her mouth with a smacking sound. They both stared out the window, then back at me, willing me to open the window so they could do what cats do best…  Hunt!

“No, Kenshin! No, Tomoe, I have to trap those rats myself.” 

I don’t know if they understood what I said, or just got tired of wishing after a rat,  when I added, “No outside!” They both jumped down, and Kenshin gave me downward frown.  Tomoe just glared, as she flashed those golden eyes.   They both ran out of the room giving me a backward, scowl. A teenage girl couldn’t have done that look any better.  

One rat, was an irritation, I counted six! They aren’t big. About the size of my hand, but they have to go!  Just figuring out how is the problem.

 I Googled, “How to kill a rat humanely.”

One site said, use poison.  Nope not an option!  I don’t want to kill the Hawks and Owls that hunt around here. Beside the obvious, poison can kill my cat or dog if they eat the dieing rat.

If a poisoned rat gets caught in the walls, Well, that smell will be horrible. I  wondered what would happen if it died, lying on the dirt of my garden and I didn’t see it until spring. Wouldn’t that poison leach into the soil? Big, emphatic, “Yes”  answers that question.

 I found, ‘Rat Zappers.’ on Amazon.  Electrocute the rat starting at forty dollars and up. I checked my purse, no money, on to the next idea.

I found a site, that had the stomp and squish method- it says it all.

There is the bee bee gun method. I looked at the windows and the chain link fence and saw how that could go wrong.

The best, economical rat trap is a cat.  If the rat stays outside, and my cats stay only indoors, they won’t come in direct contact with each other.  But if they ever come inside, they will be used as a squeaky toy. The proximity factor just knocked Kenshin and Tomoe out of the equation. 

I have a live catch trap in the barn. I decided that would be the best first try, for now. Besides I won’t need to pay for the supplies.

I headed for the barn, and dug out the trap and placed it in Uriah’s kennel. I put some of his food on the inside platform, which in theory is suppose to close the door when the rat steps on it.  That’s the plan.

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Go often askew,” ~ Robert Burns’s poem, ‘To a Mouse.’

I had three rats in the cage; they were walking all over that platform. And it never triggered the cage door…

I went back outside and tried to loosen the piece of metal.  Then I placed a board across the platform, with food perched on top.

I went back into the house and watched. Not one of those rats came near the cage. I will leave the trap outside all night.

I just hope I don’t catch a skunk…

I got my 1,000 hit on my site today..Thank you guys! Comment and ask me to add you to my BlogRoll:-)

Jones & Son, The rat trap people
Rat Zapper
Robert Burns World Federation

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December 2nd, 2009. I have had this Blog up one month, today. And I enjoyed writing every post. There aren’t any free downloads to commemorate the occasion, just this new Blog post. Enjoy! I love to hear your comments, or just say, ‘Hi,’ as you pass through.

Be careful don’t step in a muskrat hole! 

Today may be overcast and slightly cooler than yesterday, with the temperatures in the forties.  For some reason it just doesn’t feel cold to me.

As I walked around the back path, I stopped and listened to the small, black and grey, birds they fluttered and chirped angrily at me in the trees. These little guys jump around so fast and keep inside the tree branches it is hard to see specific markings. I will keep guess and searching for their names. Chickadee, maybe, they are in the order of Passeriformes.

Uriah kept his nose to the ground pointing out each new muskrat hole and scat droppings. I called to him and he sat at my side.

I closed my eyes and listened to the wind. That’s when I realized the breeze was moving in low from the Northwest, but along the ground. My coat fluttered and I felt the gentle breeze on my chin, and that’s where it stopped. The low grass rustled, but not the taller, dried beige tops of the Goldenrod. This wind was skimming the ground, sneaking around the base of the trees, chasing pieces of corn husks, and an odd leaf or two.

Sounds were muffled; I opened my eyes and looked up at the grey overcast sky. Today’s cloud cover  pulled in a heavy, thick silence, that precedes a storm, rain or snow.

I heard a motorized buzzing, I looked up and around. From the east, a small helicopter flew towards me, high above the plowed fields.  I watched as it approached, and passed overhead quickly.

When I looked down Uriah was gone. Little bugger! I couldn’t hear him nosing around anywhere and I wasn’t in the mood to start calling for him. I decided to continue on with my walk, he will find me this time.

I took my time walking back and as I hoped, Uriah was nervously waiting for me at the edge of the path. He wiggled into my leg to have his head patted, and nuzzled my coat pocket for a treat.

“Silly dog! Why should I give you a treat when you run off?”

My half hearted attempt at scolding him didn’t work; he just stared at me smiling. I gave him a Liver Snap biscuit.

Uriah tried to get me to look inside a large animals burrow by digging around it and crying.  Stupidly I approached, the subtle smell of a skunk wafted around me, I stopped, then slowly backed away and whistled for him to follow.   

 I walked along the tree line, as we headed back to the house. I saw the old pair of jeans that had been in Uriah’s kennel.  I mentioned them here:  https://gerardinebaugh.wordpress.com/?s=Magical+Gnomes.

They were bunched up against the base of a tree, nearly fifty feet inside the tree line.  I wondered, if  it was the coyotes who moved them around.

 Entering the backyard, we were greeted with the excited clicking of the Northern Cardinal; I saw four males, bright red, hopping from branch to branch in the old apple tree. More answered from deeper in the trees. Only one Sparrow showed his feathered features. I only saw him because I tried to look around the base of the apple tree for the female Cardinals. 

The air was getting heavier, and the cloud cover thickened almost instantly.  Rain is coming…

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Fir0002/Flagstaffotos Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

 Morning: 8 am~

Silence- over cast sky, heavy air pressure but most of all, the silence  it’s settled in like a thick blanket.

A couple of Blue Jays screamed and whistled at me this morning. I wouldn’t have thought twice about the silence if it had been cold, which is not the case; the temperature is around sixty degrees.

I felt something move around me, Mother Nature is waiting for something to happen.  Every living creature has to have a migraine from this air pressure.

Somewhere around 12:00pm~

The ground is holding in the vibrations from the train nearly two miles away. When the air is this still sounds drift around the trees, and illusion can echo eerily in the darkness and fog. In the middle of the day it just feels odd.

Around 1pm~

I stood out on the deck and sneezed five times, painfully irritating. I looked up as the sun peeked out behind the grey clouds.  Blue sky slipped into view along the horizon.

My sneezing disturbed a Blue Jay. He flew out of the old apple tree into a miniature crab apple tree, closer to the deck and to me, then screamed his anger.

About 5pm~

I just remembered to take Uriah for his last walk around the back. It is almost too late. I decided he needs the exercise, and so do I.

It’s nearly dark; that point where the lighter objects glow and the darkness is shadowed in a mist. Above me the clouds in the western sky fanned out towards the east. Pieces of yellow sunset and blue sky shine through the clouds along the horizon.

A heavy musky smell wafts past me. I whistle for Uriah. He is panting as he trots to keep up. We hit the lowest part of the path. I can’t see the mud so I hold tight to my walking stick and slip on towards home.

 Suddenly Uriah starts to growl, a low muffled sound that comes from deep in his throat. He pushes past me.  Then stops directly in front of me, and starts scraping the ground with his back paws and takes a stance of ownership and protection.

“Good, dog, Uriah!” My voice is loud in the darkness, he turns towards me, sneezes then growls back at the trees and tall grass.  I wondered if his sneezing is a warning that a skunk is hiding in the grass?    I wasn’t going to stick my nose anywhere near a skunk. Hmm,  It could be a raccoon another reason to walk faster.

 I moved past Uriah, and called him to follow. We are moving rapidly towards home I could barely see the ground. 

 Fifty feet or so away from the path, Uriah turns back and barks, scraps his back feet kicking up dirt and grass. His hackles are still raised, as we hurry towards the house.

 Raccoons are dangerous for both of us. A few years ago, when I had three dogs I was attacked by a forty pound raccoon. My dogs saved my life.

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