Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Last night, I'm coming back up the mountain around 8:30 or so--on my way home from the gym, still half wet and stinking of chlorine from the pool--when this little creature ambles out into the road in front of me. I slow down since my brain registers something like Skunk! Skunk! Don't hit it or you'll be hosing the undercarriage of the jeep off for the next six months!
I manage to avoid hitting it--despite the fact it waddles into the middle of the road, sits on its haunches, smokes a cigarette then turns back the way it came--back in front of the jeep. Since I had a good bit of time to observe it while it was enjoying the cigarette, I noticed it didn't look like the skunks I thought I knew. That's because it was a Eastern Spotted Skunk (Spilogale putorius). He was much smaller than the familiar Striped Skunk and had spots. Most definitely recognizable as a skunk--just not what I was expecting. Anyway, he was absolutely adorable--just not something I wanted to tangle with.
Appalachian terminology note:
Have I told you guys about "weed"? It's the term some of the older women use for mild mastitis. I did find a reference to it as a colloquialism in a 1916 medical journal but it's still in use here--at least by the "old folks".