Skunks at her table

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, August 24, 2023

Mother skunk and baby join Kathleen Adamson at her table. Photo by Kathleen Adamson

One of our faithful coffee companions was so inspired by last week’s column on the wisdom of St. Francis in our garden, she just had to respond with her own encounters with some very special guests in her garden – skunks, to be exact.

Kathleen Adamson, formerly of our beautiful Bow Valley and now residing in Ontario, wrote:

“Here our claim to fame is having two families of resident skunks with small babies who all come to our garden and sit on our front step,” Kathleen said. In fact, they sometimes sit by her table, as in the accompanying photo. I was tempted to title this column, “Coffee with Skunks,” but I couldn’t take the risk of implying Kathleen was feeding her furry friends, because in Ontario it’s against the law to feed wildlife.

“They have adapted to us and we to them,” she continued. “So, they amble off if we tell them we are coming through, but remain within three or four feet of us while we go about our gardening.

“Last year I rescued a baby who had fallen into our window well, using a small fish tank net. I scooped him up and put him beside me as mum skunk watched from three feet away, apparently aware that I was trying to save him. You have to do something, as they cannot climb, I think, owing to long flat claws and front shoulder/leg structure, so his human granny had to help out.”

Kathleen just loves her striped visitors, she said, because of how interesting they are to watch. “They come under my bow window when I am having coffee with window open and I chat with them just a couple of feet away. They look at you intently and keep on digging beetles.”

These guests leave more than visual memories, of course. “The only drawback is some days having a slight odour of skunk wafting outside, but we pay no attention. Not sure how many people would come to a garden party if we held one: all the guests might be wearing black and white fur coats!”

When I asked Kathleen for permission to share her response with our other readers, she responded: “Absolutely! Animals are such lovely people, and we can learn so much from them. I do believe one of our biggest societal wrongs that brings nothing good to us is our estrangement from animals and our attitude that we are ‘superior.’”


© 2023 Warren Harbeck

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