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Wildlife keeps active during a mild winter

I don’t remember a winter like the one we are in. But then maybe my memory is not so good anymore.

We’ve had mild temperatures with not much snow, so it has been good to get around. Let’s not celebrate too much because we have the whole month of March to go yet and March has been known to be a mean month with some heavy snowstorms and low temperatures.

Even though the weather has been mild, we haven’t been out a lot this winter for one reason or another, mostly health related. As a result, we have had a number of visitors at home along with phone calls to and from friends. One friend down in Wayne County has just moved into a new home, and it is exciting to talk with him about their experiences.

We have appreciated the calls and visits from church friends. They are a blessing to us when we are limited a bit in our mobility. Local farmers keep me in touch with what is going on in their operations, many that are quiet this time of the year.

While we enjoyed visitors, we recently had a couple that were just plain not welcome. We have an enclosed back porch built on posts and enclosed tight at the bottom to keep wildlife out.

Unfortunately, a couple of skunks decided to dig down and make a hole to get under the porch. You can guess the results of that. The unpleasant skunk odors permeated the porch and parts of our home. When we had friends stop by and said they smelled the odor of skunk in our home, we were not happy.

So we hired a professional trapper to get them out so we could plug their hole. Along with the skunks, he caught a big, fat possum. Our property backs up to a dense woods and we get our share of wildlife.

We’ve had as many as eight to 10 deer come out and graze on our lawn. We don’t mind that except they tend to eat off some shrubs in the spring and summer.

Back to the skunk odor, we have had a lot of advice on how to get rid of it. One friend brought a bottle of the commercial spray Febreze, that is supposed to eliminate odors. It helped but didn’t completely solve the problem.

Betty boiled some vinegar and that odor tended to help cover up the skunk odor. Freshly ground coffee beans in open containers sitting around the house also helped some.

Time may be what helps most

We also have a lot of squirrels in our yard, some all black and others shades of gray, brown and black, a mixed family. We like to feed the birds, so a few years ago, our family gave us a special feeder. It is about 18 inches tall and 4 inches in diameter with a battery-powered ring at the bottom. If a squirrel gets on the ring and tries to get feed out of the holes, its weight causes the ring to go around and throws it off. After while, they get educated and quit trying to get to the holes where the birds feed.

A few weeks ago we noticed squirrels down on the ring and eating bird feed. That told us the battery was discharged. How the squirrels knew this is a mystery. One of them must have tried it and told the rest it was OK to use.

We brought the feeder in, recharged the battery, refilled it and took it back out. Then we watched to see the squirrels get re-educated. It didn’t take long for the first one to try it. After the ring took him for a ride and threw him off, he tried again. After the second try, that was enough. They all gave up.

So much for living where we have wildlife. After all they were here first. But if you have any good cures for skunk odor, send them along.

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