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One never knows how truly adorable a baby skunk is until one has an opportunity to watch it nom away on one's very expensive Blue Buffalo dog food…that one had forgotten during night time shut down.  Yes, that "one" would be me and as I came out armed with a flashlight and very little in the way of a plan to deal with a skunk, the little one looked up at me with shining baby eyes, stood her ground, and threw her head up to crunch away to show me how much she thoroughly enjoyed my offering of dog food.  And she put Flower (Bambi's little skunk friend) to shame in the looks department - did I mention adorable?  I've seen a few skunks around the neighborhood, mostly in the head lights of cars, and none were as beautiful as this little one.  

So Fearless.  She has absolutely no desire to leave when I come out, the waving flashlight and lame "shoo" sounds I was making had no effect.  One thing I KNOW I don't want to do however, and that is make her afraid in any kind of immediate sense.  Nor do I want Jaco to catch wind of another little animal as he strongly desires friendship with all.  I'm not sure the pug's insistence on several minutes of butt sniffing would be well received.  But Jaco and Patrick are safely in slumberland so in that regard we are safe.

In preparation for the Fearless Bus and a much more "outdoorsy" life, I've been working on camp cooking and picnics.  While my practice won't prevent every disaster along the way, it's helped a bit with temperature control and other dos and don'ts.  The critters out here in suburbia have noticed this food and seem to be quite happy to help in any way possible.  Now, I've only seen one raccoon since leaving the city - which surprised me - but the number of skunks that live out here is astonishing.  They are everywhere and always ready for a meal.  And the one raccoon I did see was throwing up his hands and backing away from my baby skunk.  Yes, she as attitude as well as fearlessness.  One would think I'd learned a lesson from meeting my adorable little skunk, right?  

I was meticulous the next evening, no snacks, no dog food, nothing left outside or on the picnic tables at all.  We could see them walking around - now there were two - but they found nothing but water.  And hey, they can have the water.  The next night however, I  left a dry goods cooler near the picnic table with some marshmallows, soup mix, bread, all sealed up tight.  Or so I thought.  Someone knocked the cooler over and pried off the lid - I'm looking at the raccoon for this one.  I heard them having the party but there really was nothing to be done.  They ate my entire bag of marshmallows, never opened.  They ate my last few cookies.  They tasted but mostly discarded the chicken & rice soup mix.  They ate an entire loaf of bread.  They invited the neighborhood black cat to the feast as well.  Patrick and I had a hell of a time getting the little darlings to back off but they finally left after their feast.  And to their credit with only a passing fragrance, no spray.  

Now they are our constant companions, every evening they swing by to see if they are in luck.  First the black cat - who is very cool and quite beautiful.  Then the baby skunks.  And occasionally the raccoons.  I just finished reading James Patterson's "Zoo" in which the apocalypse arrives in the form of animals changing their mind about where we humans fit on the food chain.  I may have been completely wrong about the zombie or asteroid apocalypse.  We'll bring you more on our baby skunk wars soon - plans for victory are being formulated as I type.  Wish us luck.

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