Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Appalachian glow over Nell's Hill, Warrington Township, York County, Pennsylvania

I suspect the long non-winter is about over, presumably to be replaced with an early spring. This morning Dog found a beautiful and large skunk, and no, I don’t have any stinking stories to report. Fortunately.

Skunks aren’t true hibernators, but they do den up for the winter. The fact that this one was out and about tells me he or she is done with all that for this season. We encountered the skunk, only the third one I’ve actually seen on the mountain, around 6 a.m., when I still needed my headlamp. We were walking through ski resort’s dirt parking lot, along the edge of the woods. Dog was on a long lead, ranging a bit ahead and over to one side. The skunk quickly scurried away from us. Dog tried to give chase, but encountered the far end of the long lead before he encountered the skunk. Fortunately for us all.

I guess it was two years ago that Dog met up with a baby skunk and got close enough for a passing spray. He didn’t take a full shot by any means, but he still spent a week sleeping out on the back deck. Tomato juice baths helped, but not enough to have him in the cabin. Fortunately for him the weather was warm enough then that this was no hardship. After a week the weather turned stormy, and I brought him inside again. I could still get a whiff of that that skunk in damp weather for at least another week after that.

But back to today’s skunk. It’s out. It’s about. So even this non-winter must be at an end. Unfortunately.


Woodswalker said...

Lucky for you both that the dog was on a leash! I was in the woods today and saw the first chipmunk of the year. Maybe he'd emerged from his den to see what had happened to winter. I wonder myself.

Lovely photo of that rosy light on the mountain!

Pablo said...

I've never seen a skunk in my woods even after a decade of stomping about. Of course, my dog Flike is black and white, so maybe he looks like a really big skunk to them and they stay away.

Scott said...

My employees have seen groundhogs and chipmunks running around during the last week--truly harbingers like your skunk.

Carolyn H said...

Woodswalker: yes, I sure was! You've got one up on me. I haven't seen a chimpmunk yet this season

Carolyn H said...

Pablo: I've been here 20 years and this was only my third skunk, so they aren't commonly seen here either. I smell them often enough, though.

Carolyn H said...

Scott: No chipmunks and no groundhogs here yet. I expect the groundhogs, at least, at any moment.