Sweet Harmony Farm

  (Deerfield, New Hampshire)
Simple joys of the alpaca life ...........
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Skunked!

Spring arrived early this year, followed by an early starting and very hot and humid summer.  We are so very grateful that after several years it’s also been a very dry summer.  Continuing this new trend, it now appears that autumn is arriving early.  That’s fine with us.  We love the cooler days and crisp nights, with the daytime colors of the trees slowly turning to brilliant shades of orange, red, and yellow.  The grass seems to start growing again and turns a deep green.  Against this backdrop is a perfectly bright blue sky.

Wildlife abounds this time of year.  Wildlife is always abounding when you live near a large state park as we do, but we seem to notice them more when the cool weather starts.  Furry and feathered friends are beginning their annual gathering up of their food storage for winter and pass through our property daily.  A local family of red fox took up residence under our woodshed for a couple weeks.  We haven’t seen them in a while; I imagine they grew tired of Stella chasing them out of the yard.  We see the hawks circling the yard again over the treetops, and today I heard at least 3 flocks of Canadian geese fly by overhead.  Soon the bats will be gone.  Acorns and pine cones are starting to fall from the trees, keeping all the squirrels and chipmunks busy.

Lately the alpacas have been amused by a family of wild turkeys that travel through the yard in the mornings.  The turkeys hobble along the path just outside the fencing, hop onto the stone wall along the back of pasture and walk along it, then off into the woods.  The alpacas will at first all stand up straight, ears straight up, necks outstretched.  Then staying close together, they all but tiptoe over to the fence and then will follow the turkeys along the inside of the fence line, never making a sound.  The turkeys do not appear bothered by the sheer size of the alpacas and continue their casual pace.  I sip my coffee and smile.

In the evenings we try to keep a closer eye on Stella, but while we’re in the barn that’s not always too easy.  I was arranging feed bowls one evening and had all 5 alpacas blocking the tack room door, eyes fixated on me intently.  For no particular reason, Coty, who tends to be our most curious alpaca, walked away.  Coty has grown so much this year and is now also our tallest alpaca.  He doesn’t walk; he struts.  He strutted casually around to the back of the barn.  Finding this odd, Dan followed him.  What could be more interesting than getting fed?  In the darkness I suddenly heard Dan holler sharply ‘Stella ~ come!’  Before I could ask why, I could smell why!  Luckily the skunk had bad aim because our little Stella doesn’t smell too badly.

And thankfully none of the alpacas were skunked!

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Comments:

Glad it had bad aim! We've had a time where I couldn't open a window in the house when we trapped one that had been dining on ducklings. The smell lasted for days, and I could catch a whiff for I swear, 2 months, when the chickens would scratch that dirt.

Hopefully you won't need to try it, but a friend later told me the best de-skunking solution isn't soap or tomato juice, but feminine douche. Not sure who figured it out, but I guess one would try anything available to get the smell off...

Posted by Emily on September 16, 2010 at 10:55 AM EDT #

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