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Nation of Mike: Protecting home against all foes

July 22, 2017

My successes are the stuff of legend. As has been extensively chronicled, over the past few years I’ve secure our home from attacks by the Ellensburg’s notorious legion of rats.

Many rats have died, well at least a few. I take no pride in this, but they brought the fight to my home. If these rats had bothered to watch any of Liam Neeson’s “Taken” movies they’d known to not threaten my family. I have a particular set of skills and a ready supply of rat traps.

Then this past year I stared down Ellensburg’s apex predator — the raccoon. Technically, in my one early morning encounter with a raccoon standing on its hind legs and hissing at me while I stood there with my standard, “Um, what the … ?” look on my face, an independent observer might have interpreted my running back into the house as “backing down.” But it was really a strategic retreat.

As the higher evolved species, I had options other than responding to the primal urges surging through my blood. What I calculated with my big, fat brain was that I could go in the house, wait a few minutes, come back out and the raccoon, with its limited attention span and hardwired instincts to move to survive, would be gone. I was correct and I was able to go about my day unscathed.

And then I did what man was meant to do, I arrived at my place of work, sat down and had a cup of coffee. I engaged my higher-level reasoning to devise a strategy to rid my home and property of the invader species. After coming up a blank, I searched the internet.

I found tips on soaking tennis balls in ammonia and placing them along the entry paths of the raccoon. Apparently, to the raccoon, ammonia-soaked tennis balls smell like wolf urine. Raccoons are mortally afraid of wolf urine but not of a fully grown American male. Go figure.

I can report it works effectively. I had to resoak the tennis balls a few weeks ago but the instances of raccoons scampering across our roof have been eliminated.

I was feeling good about ability to protect the family home, and rightfully so. I think it’s the King James Bible that says, “pride cometh before the fall,” or in this case “before the skunk.”

After a couple of years without much skunk activity, this past week we’ve had three nightly visits leading to a rapid closing of all windows and doors. That’s the truly insidious nature of the skunk. It does not attack in the winter when the home is sealed tight, but on hot summer nights when aging abodes not equipped with air conditioning are desperately opened to the elements.

Ironically by ridding the property of rats and raccoons I may have freed the field for skunks. The thing about skunks, though, is who knows how close they are to your home? They could be a block away and the Ellensburg wind might disperse the smell to your home.

According to my extensive research and the internet, skunks are also detoured by items soaked in ammonia. I was able to address the raccoon with strategically placed tennis balls along the ingress and egress route (a tree). With skunks I’d need to secure the entire perimeter and even then I’m not sure it would be enough.

The sure-fire solution would be to hire a crop duster to spray all of residential Ellensburg with an ammonia mixture, or, more realistically, modify a drone to deliver an ammonia dosage to my surrounding neighborhood. Dousing a neighbor’s backyard barbecue with shower of ammonia shooting from a drone seems like something that would get me into the blotter, but I think once I explained the purpose people would be understanding. And, if not, I doubt they can be worse than a skunk.

To be honest, I’m a little afraid what my success against skunks will bring. Wolverines are my guess and those things can be nasty.

Contact assistant editor Michael Gallagher at mgallagher@kvnews.com.