The Norman Transcript

January 1, 2014

Revenge of the Country Critters


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Things should be looking up. The future appears on the horizon like a shimmering promise of better days ahead.

Then why are we still fighting the same old battles?

In a recent column we chronicled the exasperating encounters with ants in our home and skunks spraying the interior of our garage. They were tales of unpleasant, but in their own way, funny events which have been relegated to the archives of history.

Not so fast. We may have spoken too soon. The day after that column was published, this reporter’s skunk saga continued.

While driving home from work in the early darkness on a December afternoon, a country kitten (also known as a skunk) darted in front of the car a split second before the dreaded thump of its impact with the front tire. L’odeur de moufette permeated the highway, the countryside and the car.

The garage was beginning to lose that overpowering aroma from the last spray job and now the tires were freshly drenched in the stench. Ugh.

When Hubby heard the sad and stinky tale, he chuckled and said, “That must have been your skunk I just saw on the road.”

Then things got worse.

For reasons we did not discover until Christmas, skunks have always frequented the area around our house. The dogs would dutifully chase and sometimes kill them. During those encounters of the odiferous kind, they were sometimes sprayed by the stinky visitors. When a skunk expels its load close to the house, no matter how well insulated the house may be the smell, on occasion, does ooze into the house.

It seems that the critters like to partake of the dog food left outside for, you guessed it, the dogs. Since that discovery, Hubby noticed that the skunks come around nine in the evening and chow down. He takes the Red Ryder BB gun and shoots them, temporarily scaring them off. But they always return.

Aside from learning that skunks like dog food, we also discovered that they are not dumb. With every obstacle Hubby puts up, the skunks figure out a way to escape through, around or under the nearby fence.

O Joy! We have been blessed with the skunk equivalent of Einstein.

Then there are those pesky ants that decided to move into the house before Christmas. After attempting countless DYI methods (including spearmint gum), the exterminator was summoned. He checked out the places we saw the ants and put down little clear boxes that the ants were supposed to stroll through and take to the blasted queen.

Before he left, the guy cautioned that the process may take a few days and we might have to squish the strays until the little box did its thing. Perhaps he should have put up neon signs for the ants because after days of squishing the numerous strays, the ants moved further into the house with no plans to vacate the premises.

They found all kinds of goodies and new places to explore, taste and cover with their little pesky bodies. The invasion has gotten so bad that I woke up during the night dreaming of battling ants. Not conducive to the much needed beauty sleep we humans require.

Usually, this company does a fairly good job of keeping the critters outside, but they use environmentally friendly, blah, blah, blah, and “safe” products. In other words, the ants laughed at the guy.

Time for the ant annihilating bazookas.

Of course, it is possible that the critters living in those once wide open spaces are fighting back, telling the humans to stay out of their territories, or else. In either case, the battle rages on.

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Her third novel, “Sins of the Father” will be available on amazon.com in mid-January. Visit her website: www.elizabethcowan.com.

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