I found out who has been eating our cat food.
I knew it wasn't the cats. At our old place, between the owls and hawks, there wasn't much left for the cats, so I'd gone from supplementing the mothers to feeding all of them. Since we moved here (and brought all of the barn cats with us), they've disdained cat food. There are so many rodents around that even the babies are catching them.
I've been faithfully putting out cat food, just in case, but until about a week ago, it didn't get touched until the dog found it. Suddenly it started disappearing - and then the bag in the shed got torn. Strange. When I walked into the shed and saw this little cutie out of the corner of my eye, I've got to admit - I was thrilled. I've never seen one so close up. I froze so as not to activate anything I didn't want to activate, backed out of the shed, shut the door and went to ask Matt what to do about a skunk in the shed. I'm not up on all the country protocol yet.
According to him, this was my chance to redeem myself from my mouse cowardice. You see, skunks don't bother me that much - as long as they don't bother me, if you catch my drift - but they are not to be trusted around chickens, so my husband told me that we'd have to move it. As in catch it and transport it. And this was my chance to redeem myself in his eyes. Crappy excuse to get out of having to catch a skunk, if you ask me.
He said that since it was a young skunk, it would not be producing its trademark smell yet, so I was safe to walk in there with a dog kennel and gloves.
Tell me, would you walk in and pick this cute animal up?
Feisty little thing. I walked into the little shed, shut the door, and shooed it into the dog kennel. Turns out that while baby skunks may not have activated scent glands, adolescent skunks are beginning to activate them just fine. While I didn't get the full-on skunk smell, I got rotten onions mixed with sulfur. Then I loaded it into the back of the truck and asked the girls if they wanted to help me re-home it several miles away. They were game.
When we got to the drop-off point (I found a fantastic hill with lots of downed trees and tall grass for shelter), I set the kennel on the ground and the girls opened it up.
It came out cautiously and danced around for a few minutes.
Then it scurried off into the grass.
And so, according to Matt, I have redeemed myself. So when the mouse ran across my foot tonight as I was in the middle of a late-night baking session and I screamed (like a girl), I resolved not to tell him. That lasted five minutes, then I ran upstairs, woke him up and said that the mouse had run across my foot. I may have questioned the mouse's parentage in my retelling of the story to him. But I caught the skunk - not him.