More Skunks

Just a few hours after re-baiting the trap, we have another skunk in it. This time the poor little thing is out in the rain, but at least there’s a heavy wool blanket (and now, a piece of cardboard) on top of the trap to keep it dry. If I had my own truck, I’d let the thing go somewhere else, but I’m not about to transport it in my Subaru.
Okay, pest removal experts, you can call us back now…

Baby Skunks Are Cute

Today I got my second look at the skunk who has been inhabiting the space below our house since last year. It turns out that “Murray,” as we’ve named him, is actually “Marie,” and she has at least six little babies keeping her company.
We saw six baby skunks today, after we managed to capture one in a trap. After repeated failed attempts by a professional pest control service to capture the skunk, I took a friend’s advice and baited the trap with a leftover zucchini and orange, instead of the cat food the pest controllers had recommended (and used to successfully catch our neighbor’s cat – twice).
This morning, my wife looked out the window and saw that we had indeed caught a skunk. I observed that it looked rather small. Later, she saw that it was small because it’s just a baby, and that two of its siblings had come to attempt to rescue it. This was the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time, as all three worked together to try to find a weakness in the trap.
They were soon joined by momma Skunk (“Marie”), who worked furiously to get her baby out of the trap. Her efforts were hampered by her babies, who crowded around her, and whom she would drag, one at a time, back under the house by their necks.
I went out when the mother was gone and stuck a piece of cardboard over the trap so the baby wouldn’t bake in direct sunlight, and we called the pest controllers.
We went shopping, and returned a few hours later to find the mother still there, working furiously to free her baby. She’d dug holes around the trap, trying to get underneath, and as of a few minutes ago, managed to flip the trap on its side. Of course, since it’s latched shut, she’d not going to get it out, so my wife is convinced me, against my better judgement, to assist her in setting the baby free.
So if you don’t see any new posts in the near future, you’ll know it’s because I am busy bathing myself in baking soda and vinegar. Wish me luck.
As luck would have it, my wife’s ex just showed up to drop her son off. She asked if he knew anything about skunks and, ‘lo and behold, he does! He walked right up to the trap, grabbed it, put it in the back of his pickup, and the skunk sprayed! Luckily it was under a blanket that we don’t care about. Awesome skunk removal timing on his part! I guess I need to buy him a beer or two now.
Update: We gave him four.

The Joys of Rural Internet Access

Since moving back into a rural area, I’ve had to give up my precious high-speed Internet options and settle for what’s left. Downtown, I can choose between Comcast cable (boasting up to 6Mb downloads), Verizon DSL (3Mb downloads), Sovernet SDSL (1.5Mb), or a T1 line in my office building.
Out in the sticks, however, the options are fewer. I am restricted to the wonders of satellite, cellular, and dialup.
We’ve had Wildblue for satellite Internet for the last year, and it’s been pretty terrible. I decided to go with Wildblue after a client of mine had it installed, and it worked extremely well. There was very little latency, and I could run a VPN connection over it. Unfortunately, my experience with the service was not nearly as good, and it turned out to be very slow, and drops several times a day, requiring me to power cycle the modem, and often just going without service for a long time.
I tried using an EVDO card from Verizon Wireless, and also using my Nokia e61 as a cellular modem from my current provider, Unicel. Unfortunately, despite my installing a cellular repeater in my house, the signal is not strong enough to sustain a reliable Internet connection.
So, I’m biting the bullet, and ordering another telephone line. In the year 2007, the best Internet access option I have at my house is dialup. 26.4kbps.