Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Tails From the Farm


My near meeting of the giant skunk, certainly wasn’t my first. Only the week before, I was busily mowing the front lawn (we have several lawns) when I just barely caught sight of a vehicle, stopped at the intersection of our gravel roads. This in itself wasn’t all that unusual. People do get lost from time to time, then sit there, trying to figure out how their GPS steered them so wrong. This one was a tad suspicious though. Within minutes of them abruptly racing away, in a shower of loose gravel and dust, I saw the reason for their stop and hasty departure. The largest, fattest skunk I had ever seen was coming through our trees at the front of the lawn, and it was hell-bent for our house! Without giving it a second’s worth of thought, I put the lawn tractor in high gear, and did my best to cut it off.
I don’t know what I was thinking. Skunks are like a man crossed with a cat. Once they have their mind set on something, it’s pretty darn hard, to dissuade them otherwise. That stripey critter, never gave me a single glance, as I ran the tractor almost right beside it. Though inches from the tires and noise, as well as my right foot, it kept loping along, straight for the corner of the house.
That lowbelly, striped stinker carried on, right by the corner of the house, where I couldn’t follow because of trees and the like. Though I raced around the house, and kept my eyes peeled, there wasn’t hide nor hair, never mind stink, of that humongous skunk to be seen. Seemingly, it had disappeared. I searched all over, yet it didn’t appear, and I cursed people who thought it a good idea, to catch a skunk and release it by a farm. No doubt this was a garbage fed skunk from the city, and it had been trapped and relocated. Bad enough we have to deal with multiple cats and the occasional dog. Oh yeah, there are also the squirrels, so so many squirrels that fight with the extremely territorial ones, already living here. After a few days of keeping an eye out for that skunk, I assumed it had carried on, hopefully to parts unknown.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. First there was the episode when I was checking the fenceline, which was just a titch hard on the nerves. Then there was the incident, when I went for a lovely evening ride.
In this area, the land is divided up into mile square blocks, called sections. We often went ‘around the block’ if we wanted to go for a short ride. This consisted of a mile of gravel, then a mile of dirt road, then a mile of gravel before getting to the dirt road that led home. This was a four mile ride, or going around the block. As it was the end of the day, and I didn’t have time for more, I decided to hop on Thow-ra bareback, and go for a bit of a boot. That old horse loved to run, and I have to admit, the wind against my face as we galloped was a joyous thing indeed. We walked the first mile on the soft, loose-gravel, shoulder of the road. Then we enjoyed some galloping on the smooth, dirt road. Hanging a left at the next mile road, it was time for walking and jogging to cool down a bit. As soon as we turned onto the next dirt road and headed home, Thow-ra perked up. She knew that home and her friends were that way, and though she never bolted and ran for home, I could tell, she was eager.
Running home, is a very bad thing to do. It often creates horses that become uncontrollable, horses that bolt for home. Most times, we’ll walk the last half mile home, not only to cool the horse down, but to teach it to have patience as well. If I’m riding a green horse, or one that is known to possess this bad habit. I will dismount to literally walk the horse, the last mile or so. When it came to Thow-ra, we would turn onto the dirt road, then canter the half mile to the traintracks that run behind our property. We stop, pick our way over the tracks, then walk the last half mile to home. It was what we did, our routine, and we enjoyed it. Thow-ra would stride out in that amazing, long walk of hers, and as always when I rode, stresses and worries simply fell away.
Except this time. This time, there was an unexpected variable, waiting on the road ahead. My nemesis the skunk, stood blocking the way. The nearer we got to it, the more obvious it was, that the skunk had no intention of allowing us to pass. I couldn’t have anyway. Thow-ra said no. She wasn’t a horse to refuse, but neither was she a dummy. Well into her thirties, she’d seen and experienced a few things in her life, and skunks were obviously among them.
Where I had to backtrack and skirt way around a couple of days before, this time, I was on a mare that was fleet of foot. Thank goodness the crop had been taken off the adjacent farm field, as that’s where we headed, to avoid Mister Skunk. Even though it was twilight, that grumpy skunk was clearly visible, standing there on the dirt road, keeping a close eye on us.
I’m a ‘live and let live’ sort, but this giant skunk was pushing its luck. Hubby and I, were going to have to talk.

Leave a Reply

About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
All rights reserved. No part of this website or book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic or mechanical – without the prior written permission of the author.


 Oakbank, MB