Note: This post was originally published on February 13, and was “sticky” all week. Scroll down for more recent posts.
The recent speech by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is particularly recommended. It is one of the finest speeches of our time.
Also: See Emmet Scott’s latest essay discussing anti-Trump hysteria.
Winter Fundraiser 2017, Day Seven
February 19: Update from Dymphna
Since the Baron has to play most of the innings here it’s always a relief (to me) when I feel well enough to pick up the bat and take my turn.
Oops…an unfortunate phrase, that. Probably due to reading about what playing with bats means now in rural Germany.
Sometimes it hurts simply to read our blog.
We’ve been around more than ten years now, and often the Baron is so busy just keeping on keeping on, we fail to take note of the passing anniversary of our advent here. Or perhaps we have simply decided we’re here for the duration and that’s that.
Which ‘duration’? Heaven knows; we sure don’t. I thought we’d be locking the Gates when old Hildebeest rumbled toward the Oval Office but my fear was misplaced. It feels as though we’ve been granted a reprieve since Trump was elected, but again we grow concerned as the deep state seems to be working in concert to ruin him. Like the rest of the country, we can only watch and wait. And in our case, pray. [I don’t want to argue about whether or not prayer “works”; it gives me something to do whilst waiting to see what happens].
The Baron promised I’d relate our tale of The Skunk Parade, so here goes.
…As ‘problems’ go, it’s relatively mild considering the creature under discussion. And we both think it’s occurring right now (i.e., this past fortnight or so) because of our too-mild winter. Only one snow and that one not very deep. No ice, and only one period of deep freezing — surely not enough to kill off most of the Japanese beetle grubs, darn it.
One reason we let the skunks be is that they clean out grubs when the ground is soft (as it is now) and they especially enjoy going after the underground nests of yellow jackets.
So skunks have their uses, especially when it comes to their enjoyment of yellow jackets. If only skunks weren’t so fragrant, they’d be ideal companion animals for removing the things gardeners don’t like. During this winter I’ve caught several glimpses of them near the side porch at twilight. I wondered if there was a family of them, though it seemed an odd time to be nesting, and they don’t usually come so close to the house. Since the few I’ve seen didn’t see me, all was well. Or so I thought.
All “was” well, that is, until ten days or so just past. Due to the warm weather, we think “our” skunks are in their mating season a month early and the males are obviously doing battle. Perhaps there aren’t enough females? Perhaps they’re polygamous, and only one male to a particular territory, and for some reason their population has enlarged to include two rivals? Could the females have dropped a litter already and are scaring off the possums, dogs, and bears in order to protect their young?
Whatever the problem, it’s nocturnal in nature. We’re beginning to learn that if we don’t have to get out the candles by ten p.m., that whatever the source of the problem, it’s not going to materialize on that particular evening. Fortunately (or not), due to the sometimes uncertain nature of our electric connections, we lose power, usually due to some outage in those big lines coming down the mountains. That means I have quite a candle collection. Thank heavens.
But this isn’t an easy problem to solve. Although they’re obviously not near the house when the battles royal begin, you’d think they were under the windows when the smell permeates the rooms downstairs. The B has looked in all the possible places and there is not a sign of them near our foundation. Nor has he found any other signs out in the various thickets of forsythia and mock orange and lilacs and mountain laurel that mark the edges of what he considers our mowable yard.
The further reaches, past our property line, have been clear-cut by companies that specialize in buying forested land whose taxes have become delinquent, and then harvesting the wood. That clear-cutting has changed the habitat out past our property line. We can barely see those changes, and then only in the winter when the light is stronger through our own trees to the south than it used to be.
That may be the solution to our mystery of “why now?” I plan to call the County Extension Agent and ask him this week. If it’s going to be an unseasonable Winter or an early Spring ritual from now on until the pines grow back, I’ll make sure we have enough candles to see us through.
And those skunks? They’re going to eat those grubs and yellow jackets, or explain why.
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Our donors on Saturday came in from:
Stateside: Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia
Far Abroad: New Zealand and the UK
Australia: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, and Victoria
Today is the final day! The Baron will write a wrap-up tomorrow, but otherwise we’ll be giving it a rest… until spring.
February 18: Update from the Baron
Well, folks, here we are going into the sixth day of our quarterly fundathon, in which we use all the techniques of hip persuasion to induce our readers to hit the tip cup on our sidebar.
Or, to use the shorter version: we beg.
Y’all have been very kind to us this time, and I thank you for your generosity. And the thank-you notes are going out faster than usual; I’ve kept my New Year’s resolution on that so far.
The photo at the top of this post is from the winter of 2009 here at Schloss Bodissey — late winter, actually; it was in March. I include it here because it’s seasonal, but the weather is NOT like that so far this winter. Just one snow, and it didn’t last long. It’s been fairly mild most of the time.
I have a suspicion that the nasty cold isn’t done with us just yet, but I’ll enjoy this while it lasts. And the daffodils have started blooming, those optimists.