The day after thoroughly watering the peach trees, blackberries, fig trees, tomato and banana plants, we awoke at the Polka Farm on Sunday to the sound of rain pouring onto our metal roof. It was a deluge such that two-and-a-half inches of water fell on the place in the space of about two hours. It’s been dry enough at the farm that this event caught us by surprise, and we all went out on the front porch to watch.
Finally the torrent dialed down to more of a constant sprinkle, so we all went out the front walk to see whether Lost Bridge Creek had any water. Lost Bridge Creek is almost always dry but, as the name implies, it can become a big monster on occasion.
We arrived in time to see the first run-off from the hills north of us, which soon rose to a couple of feet or more deep. The water was rapid, but no bridges were threatened, which was good because we really need the hefty concrete and steel bridge remaining on the property.
Excited by all the water, we began crossing that bridge, the better to observe the rain’s effects on the hayfield and woods. Everyone was talking at once as we crossed, but there was something, something else. I asked for quiet, listened, and there it was: A small, squeaky sound coming from the long grass at one corner where bridge and driveway converge.
There were what appeared to be two extremely cute bundles of fur, each possessing a pair of shiny black eyes that would raise up briefly and then press down into the grass for fear of the giant humans. The fur bundles were mostly black – with a white stripe. Skunk kits.
I did about a five-second double take as the realization sunk in. “We gotta get away from here, right now!” I hissed, then herded the kids off the bridge toward the house. Mother skunk was, thankfully, nowhere to be seen, or we would’ve been a very stinky and bedraggled family.
The day before I’d noticed a new hole dug into the concrete at bridge’s edge, and now it was pretty obvious what had happened. The mama skunk had dug herself a home that extended down below the bridge, she’d given birth to her brood, the high water from the normally dry creek had seeped into her new home and the babies had either run up to the surface or she’d dragged them there.
I suspect she was scouting for a new temporary skunk headquarters when we’d happened past the kits. When we packed up for the city later that day, they had disappeared.