Monthly Archives: September 2010

Follow Up

Some of you already know this, but many of you don’t, so I’ll tell you what happened to the little black and white kitty that got caught in my chipmunk trap (see last part of last e-mail).

After I wrote the last e-mail, I fretted and stewed so much about what to do with the “kitty” that I gave myself a stress headache. I didn’t want to get sprayed by an angry animal that just happened to wander into the wrong place, but most of you know that I’m tender hearted, and couldn’t stand the thought of leaving him/her there to die. At around 7 PM I told Jean I had figured out what I wanted to do, explained it to her, and asked her if she wanted to come out with me to help. Without saying exactly what she said, I’ll paraphrase it to “Heck no!”

I went back out to the cottage alone and stripped down to nothing but a smile. My apologies if that leaves a picture in your head that haunts you for days. Anyway, I put on an old pair of jeans, an old flannel shirt, old socks and old grass stained running shoes. I put on an old hat and got some old gloves from the garage. I have a couple of old undershirts I use as brewing rags, so I tied one around my face, covering my nose, mouth and chin. I didn’t want my glasses to get sprayed, so I went to the basement and got some goggles I use for carving ducks. I wanted to protect the jeans and flannel shirt as much as I could, so I put on a rain poncho that had a rip in it.

Wearing all this garb, I went out on the front porch holding an old towel between me and the beast. I put the towel over the trap, covering it completely, and the skunk didn’t spray, although the odor was definitely prominent. I covered the towel with a black plastic bag so, if he/she did spray, it wouldn’t get through the towel. I lifted the cage, placed it on piece of cardboard (Jean’s job was supposed to be to slide the cardboard under the trap when I lifted it…wasn’t this one of those “worse” times in the “for better or worse vows”?), and carried the whole mess out to the street. My neighbor came out of his garage where he had been working, laughing his xxx off. He said “Skunk?” I said yes, and he replied, “You’re certainly dressed for it.”

I pulled the towel back to expose the door to the cage. I pressed in on the catch, lifted the door, and expected the skunk to scurry out. My plan was to run toward the lake as the skunk ran toward the brush. He didn’t move. So I tunked the end of the trap. Still no movement. I tipped the cage so he/she would know which way to go and shook the cage a little. Still nothing. I tipped up the cage, and he/she rolled out, DEAD! He/she couldn’t have been in the cage for more than 15 hours or so, and was still alive three hours before when I left the lake. I know it wasn’t sunny or overly warm so he/she couldn’t have dehydrated, and he/she had eaten the peanut butter I put in the trap as bait, so couldn’t have starved. I felt awful, but it was too late. I’d like to be able to tell you that I dug him/her a nice grave, and placed a makeshift headstone with Pepe Le Pew carved on it. Not so! Let’s just say, I took him/her to a tree in the tall grass, rolled him/her out of the bag, and gave him/her a chance to wake up, just in case he/she had fallen into hibernation sleep.

I have since washed all the clothes, aired out the cage, and still have the poncho and shoes out in the garage at the lake. The residual odor has settled down, the Jehovah Witness ladies did not come to leave pamphlets, and all is well. I haven’t checked under the tree, but I’m going to assume the critter woke up, bounded away, and will never do that again.

Just (Another Minus To Offset What Few Plusses I have) Jack

Lake Party Report

Most of you don’t know this, but we invited the Trilanders, our all-sports group, out to the lake on Labor Day for an “end to the summer” party. People started arriving at 4 P.M. and, after a shortened boat ride, all were gone by 9. Many of you know about the “cottage rules”. There are only nine of them, and four of them were broken. OK, OK, it’s not the end of the world. And it could have ended badly, but the cottage and I will survive.

Rule number one is “…If you brought food and or drink and it doesn’t get eaten or drank, take it home with you.” Most of the food was gone, but there were several bottles of hard lemonade, Seagram’s coolers, and a couple of bottles of beer. That turned out OK because Jean drinks wine coolers on occasion, the Seagram’s are close to wine coolers so they’re fine, and the beer that was left was Bell’s. As long as beers are highly rated on Rate Beer or Beer Advocate, they can be left. So, no harm done.

Rule number two is “…Don’t leave your cans and bottles behind.” There were several cans and bottles left on the counter, and someone, heaven forbid, put a can in the bag in the closet for plastic bottles, and someone left a plastic bottle in the bag in the closet I use for cans. I switched them before it was too late. Jean, lush that she is, had a huge amount of wine cooler bottles for me to take to the store, so I took the ones that were left along with them, and it all worked out alright. Again, no harm done.

Rule number nine is “…You are welcome to help clean the kitchen and put things in the dishwasher. However, please don’t help me by putting things away.” Today, while I was putting away dishes from the dishwasher, I found a serving fork in the bin where tablespoons are supposed to go. I moved it to where it supposed to be, and things are back to normal. In the knife rack, I did find the serrated knife where the smooth edged knife is supposed to go, and vice-versa, but criticizing that may be a little picky. All is well now.

Rule number six is “…You may be the best barbeque chef around, but show me at your house. Don’t turn my meat, don’t tell me how you would do it, and don’t keep opening the lid of the grill to see how things are coming.” In a fit of remorse, Mike admitted to opening the lid of the grill and turning three pieces of meat while I wasn’t looking.

I commend him for his honesty, and I hope I take the high road and forgive, rather than hold a grudge. I hope I don’t let it smolder until the next time I go to his place at Torch Lake and break one of his two rules. Number one is the one I borrowed about not leaving anything there that you brought. I would hate to be vicious enough to leave something that Mike wouldn’t find until it “ripened”. His second rule is not to lock the cottage doors. It will be best if I’m not the last one out the door when we go to dinner at “The Blue Pelican”.

In an unrelated vein, you may remember me commenting on the “critter wars” with the raccoons in the attic and the moles in the yard. Lately, I’ve seen a chipmunk running between the hose area on the front porch (street side), and the corner where the wrap-around deck starts. Chipmunks are cute little animals, but they can cause water leaks when they burrow down foundation walls. After catching 10 chipmunks in town at the condo, I figured it would be easy to catch him. I set the trap Friday and nothing. I checked it yesterday, and still nothing. I went out to the cottage today and did some housekeeping duties. I decided to come home early and, as I walked out the door, I remembered to check the trap. The good news is that It had been tripped and there was a critter inside. The bad news is that it wasn’t a chipmunk.

I know many of you are religious, as I am. So could you please pray that, number one, it’s a black kitty with white stripes down its back and not a skunk. If that prayer doesn’t work out, please pray that the the Jehovah’s Witness folks don’t use this Sunday to drop off pamphlets at the door, or the Chicago people don’t want to look at the cottage one more time today before they make an offer. The cage is only about four feet from the front door, and I’m guessing the critter isn’t happy with his new home.

You also know that I’m soft hearted and can’t stand to see animals die from dehydration or starvation. So now I have to figure out how to get the cage away from there before anything bad happens (death or spray, take your pick). I’m thinking that carrying it off in my car will make the Jeep unsalable when the time comes for me to replace it. Also, I still haven’t found any clothes I want to throw away, and I’m guessing I’d be arrested if I stripped down to nothing but a smile, and drove home that way after the “drop off”. Anyone have a pick-up truck that doesn’t mind if the bed reeks for a few weeks?

Just (Why Do These Things Always Happen To Me?) Jack