Eau de Skunk

My oldest two girls have started making soap to help support their horse, for which I’m selfishly grateful. For one, I’m allergic to every type of artificial smell there is and I looooove homemade soap, and secondly, I love the fact that on the day they make soap, the house smells like lavendar or lemon or ylang-ylang instead of poopy diapers and spoiled milk.

We’ve had a lot of interesting smells in and around our home over the years… eight kids, a small farm, roughly 6,738 pets including one very large rottweiler with bowl control issues… I’m sure you can imagine.  (Actually no… you probably can’t.  It’s really better that way.)  I think the worst, though, was the time my husband killed a skunk… on our back porch.

I’ve asked him to share the story, in his own words:

We’d just moved the chickens to the new coop when a skunk started eating the eggs.  This went on for weeks and it was obvious the creature wasn’t interested in my attempts to negotiate. Had there been some type of diplomatic approach to the situation, I’d have gladly taken it, but since individual property rights were clearly being violated, another alternative had to be found.

Thus, the hunt began.

I started creeping out to the chicken coop each night with a pistol and a flashlight, waiting for the opportune time to wreak havoc upon my quarry.  But it seemed as soon as I began to hunt the skunk, he stopped coming around. Then one evening, just after Rina had left to go to town (which is the ONLY reason it was possible for ANY of the following events to take place,) one of my daughters pointed to the back porch and said excitedly “Daddy! There’s the skunk!” I ushered the small children to the back bedroom and quickly retrieved my weapon. Leaning out of the bathroom window, I fired one round which found it’s target. In my zeal to remove the egg-stealing marauder, it never occurred to me that executing a skunk on the back porch might not be the best idea. I really should have known better.  As a nurse, I know that smooth muscle relaxes with sudden trauma, but it hadn’t occurred to me to consider how this might affect this particular creature’s anatomy before slaying it so close to our residence. My private celebration over the killing of my prey quickly turned to dread as I noticed copious amounts of liquid stench oozing from the backside of my recently dispatched foe. The odor quickly filled the entire house. I returned to the children’s bedroom to inform them of the news only to find all three of them hiding their entire bodies under their covers, with just their eyes peeking out over the edge. They had only one question: “Daddy… how long is that SMELL going to last?” I gave the most intellectual answer I could think of at the moment: “I don’t know.”

I’ve since learned the answer to that question: Long enough to make me happy to donate a few eggs each night to the local skunk population in order to avoid ever experiencing it again.

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