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Source of scent brings adventure

From the Farm

August 19, 2011
By Kerry Hoffman (

If you think living in the country is all sunshine and fresh-flowers, you should have been here late Tuesday evening.

I was adrift in an awesome dream when I was aroused by the smell of coffee. Without opening my eyes, I assumed Steve was already awake and brewing a fresh pot of Dark Roast Folgers to brighten my morning.

It was mere seconds later that I realized the two rat terriers, Eddie and Digger, were barking up a barn storm, and sounded like they were directly below my second-floor bedroom window.

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Kerry Hoffman

I snapped out of my half-slumber and was out of bed quicker than our pet snake Stevie ate the baby toad earlier in the evening. (I guess he was pretty hungry.) Glancing at the clock I was disappointed to see it wasn't even midnight. So much for fresh coffee.

I was quickly out of bed when I realized the smell was the farthest scent from coffee.

I crept down the first-flight of stairs and looked out the landing window.

Nope, couldn't see the dogs from that perch. I thought maybe they were near a ginormous hole Joey and I found while digging for worms to feed Stevie earlier in the day.

I creaked down the second flight of 13 stairs what an unlucky number that is for a stair case.

Glancing out the dining room window, again I saw nothing.

I snuck into the living room and looking out the east window, I saw the dogs barking and bounding like jumping beans directly below the windows.

The dogs had cornered the odiferous specie known as Mephitis mephitis literally translated from commoner English as "noxious gas." (Or is it "noxious gas, noxious gas!") Specifically translated to New Ulm Minnesotan verbiage, "It's a striped skunk, Klaus!)

I couldn't see the skunk, but I knew he was there; my eyes and throat were burning from the invisible scent-pollution.

I wasn't going to kill the skunk on my own. I was planning on blasting the skunk to smithereens with a shotgun, but that seemed kind of dangerous, so I woke Joey up for help.

Joey jumped at the chance to kill a varmint. He loaded the .22, stepped out the front door, leaned over the porch rail and shot the sucker from above.

It took five or six dead-on shots for Joey to be satisfied that the skunk had taken its last breath and fired its last odiferous shot. And boy was that last shot of scent a doozy!

We climbed the stairs to return to bed and hopefully my awesome dream.

The dogs started another barking frenzy.

Good god, was there another skunk?

Nope, just two partially incompetent rat terriers barking at a dead skunk lying near the corner of the house and bounding like those darn jelly beans. Lilly, who was wearing the perfume, was crouched over by a large maple tree, butt in the air and head on the ground, like she was ready to "help" out.

Although dead, the skunk smelling up the entire joint and the dogs were preventing me from getting back to my amazing dreams.

I tied an old dishtowel into a mask and ventured to the milk house, which is downwind of the stink, and grabbed a pair of black medium rubber gloves. I took two garbage bags and doubled them up while wishing I would have purchased the box of floral-scented trash bags. I looked like a rogue Annie Oakley.

I walked upwind toward the house, stood on the sidewalk, took a couple of deep breaths and stormed over to the dead specie. After gathering my critter, I deeply inhaled and started walking toward the roadway to get it away from my house.

Upon my return to the house, I found Steve standing in the kitchen.

"What's going on?" he asked.

After I told of our big hunting adventure, Steve added, "I can't smell a thing, my nose is plugged." (Russell slept through the entire event as well.)

Thank goodness I have a good sniffer and Joey can shoot a gun like an expert.

Now if I could just get the stink off the side of my house.

For questions, or comments, I can be e-mailed at



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