The ducks had done their part, filling four nests with beautiful eggs.
And now some varmint had raided the nests.
Raccoon. We were sure of it. We knew raccoons darted in and out of the nearby corn fields, waiting for the ears to start to ripen before they ripped them free with those crafty little hands and gorged themselves.
The same mask that makes a raccoon cute to most stuffed-animal connoisseurs signaled something different to us on our hobby farm. We saw them as little thieves.
And now one had dashed our hopes of a crop of ducklings.
“I’m going to get a humane trap,” my husband said, his arms folded over his flannel shirt.
We found one at the local farm supply store and set it up.
On night one, we failed to put any tempting food in the trap. Nothing happened.
On night two, we realized we had set the plate too tight after the critter ate our bait without springing the trap.
We tiptoed into the barn after night four. The trap had been dislodged from its spot and the dirt floor was plowed and furrowed. We couldn’t see the trap, now hidden behind some metal leaned against the wall.
Finally we had scored.
We rushed around the barrier to gloat over our raccoon.
“Whoa,” my husband was leading the pack and he stopped with the gang piling into his back.
“What?” The youngest couldn’t see past the mob and started to push her way forward.
The crowd could have stepped aside but we were all busy rushing away.
All because our raiding raccoon, that detested varmint, turned out to be a raiding skunk instead.
Next week: what to do when a skunk is angry and trapped in your barn.