We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog to bring you this breaking news...

I know I still need to tell the rest of that skunk story. It was getting late and my brain was pretty fried. But I have to tell another one! Last night was one of the rare nights when Frugaldad went to bed before me. I had one load of laundry left to fold so I came to bed about 20 minutes after him (It was a big load of whites!). Shortly after I got into bed, I heard cats yowling. The moon was pretty bright, but I heard a chicken squawk so I got up and got the big flashlight and turned on the back porch and yard lights and aimed the flashlight at the chicken coop. I couldn't see anything other than the chickens just sitting still on the ground, so I figured the cats must have been brawling near the coop and woken the hens up. Just after I got back into bed, I heard the chickens go crazy and it sounded like one was screaming. I hurried and went back to the back door and when I switched the light on, a skunk ran away from the coop. It had been trying to get in through the opening where the water bowl is. I covered up the opening with some chicken wire, my heart racing while I worried the skunk would come back before I finished, and I went back inside. I seriously considered getting up and blogging the story right then because my heart was pounding and there was no way I could sleep. As luck would have it, this sleep-deprived mother of five went to dreamland quickly anyway. And Frugaldad slept through the whole thing despite me whispering "are you awake?" at him.

We haven't ever had a skunk problem like this in the 6 years we've lived here. Our dog marks her scent all over the yard. What else can I try? The raccoons are also a problem, eating the cat food in the dish if/when the skunk leaves any, and knocking over the food box if they can't get the lid off, but the raccoons don't bother me quite as much as the pole cat.

Any one have any great ideas for me?