The skunk came back for at least a visit in June 

I mentioned in this blog post that I am quite fond of my skunk. One, or different ones, have taken shelter under my deck for a number of years now, and I accommodate her trips to the back garden year-round by leaving a gap under the fence, with a pile of brush as a welcome mat. The skunk has to pass through two other neighbours – therefore, one other fence – before it can get home; thankfully my immediate neighbours seem to feel the same way, and don’t freak out when their dog gets a little alarmed over the silent black-and-white intruder. There was a minor spray incident in the days surrounding the taking of this photo, on June 15.

I took it early in the morning, around 7:30, when I saw her from my vantage chair by the patio door, trundling in and taking a long, long, looooong drink at the dish there. She then trundled under the deck – yippee! – and then, a minute later, waddled back out – oooh. Was the space already occupied? She was looking rather hour-glass shaped. It seemed to me she had a couple of buns in the oven.

After the smell of skunk spray, I had no further indication my deck’s den was occupied. I had a house party in early July, for which I had to get the decks thoroughly cleaned. I hosed them down, used deck cleaning solution, scrubbed, rinsed, scraped, sanded a bit, and painted. It must have been a terrible ruckus, but I figured the skunk was not around because my activity would have roused any normal being at any time of day. Also, the pond had lilies in it. Relevance? The skunks had always taken them before – as soon as a lily bloomed, it was gone the next day. 

But then, three evenings ago, I heard a rustling in the garden and wondered if I had some late-arriving birds, like grackles or starlings, who sometimes descend for a good public bath in my pond. But no. Instead, I was greeted with this adorable sight:

My garden has a family of four skunk kits, plus Mom! And I would never know it if I hadn’t seen them. That’s how good they are as neighbours. No tearing down my garden wire, just coming and going as silently as thieves to their den under the deck. Now that I know they’re there, and have seen the little ones’ bouncing and scraping, I see more evidence in the garden now. But a garden without a resident creature is impoverished, in my view, and to make up for the meagerness of my vegetable plot, I am rich in hospitality to wildlife.