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For several weeks now, I had been hearing some rustling around in the bushes in the evenings and early mornings. It seemed odd, because it was too noisy for deer, and too big-sounding for a cat. I would look outside and see nothing, so it was way too stealthy for a dog. Finally one day I saw this long black and white tail wiggling around in the ivy, as it's owner apparently grubbed around for something to eat and realized it was making that same rustle-rustle noise. From them on I saw my skunk neighbor many more times in the mornings and the evenings - sometimes just a few feet away from my window or from where I was standing. It did not seem to bother that I was around, just wanted to eat as far as I could tell.

Nonetheless the potential for a stinky disaster worried me, so I called the County Trapper. Trapper John is a busy kind of guy - serving El Dorado and Alpine Counties by himself. He said that he could bring me a trap some day, but warned me that it was probably a nesting mother skunk, and that by trapping it I would be leaving the babies without her. He suggested I try putting mothballs around, because they do not like the smell and they might go elsewhere.

Well, it was another week before I had a chance to get the mothballs, and in the meantime, I kept seeing this skunk every day at least once. She never seemed to do her dirty tricks, and I was starting to actually like her. She reminded me of 'Flower' who is the little skunk that Bambi made friends with in that ancient 1950-60's Disney cartoon.

Eventually, I did the mothball thing -- putting them under my deck, in the woodpile, in the ivy patch, etc. That night I heard a lot of skunk chatter, and I imagined that the chatter was that mom instructing her kids to move elsewhere. That hypothesis seems to be proving correct, as a few days have passed and I have not seen her since.

In an odd way I miss her, so I created my own little pair of skunks sleuthing around in the dark. Flower is a very nice canteen gourd, quite sturdy. You could use it to store your mothballs.

Best to you -

Margie Lopez Read

I would like the money the sale of this gourd to go to the Esperanza Scholarship Fund at Lane Community College. OR, I am also open to having to a different non-profit that you desire, as long as it is for a good cause such as human rights, environmental protection, or public health.