er the last few years, I have been friended on Facebook by people that buy my books. They comment on my posts and seem to enjoy what I write. Some of the posts are experiences that wind up in my Nurse Hal Among The Amish series like the problems with my front porch. https://www.amazon.com/Amish-Country-Arson-Nurse-Among/dp/0982459580/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474041376&sr=1-1&keywords=Amish+Country+Arson Nothing happened when we had the old porch that was as old as the house. I liked the ornate carved porch posts and didn't mind that the porch floor sloped down slightly. Building a new floor became a necessity when the black Lab we had decided the best route to getting a rabbit he saw run under the porch was by tearing up the floor. Harold changed his mind when he realized what the noise was, but too late we had to sidestep the hole or fall through to the ground. [caption id="attachment_602" align="alignnone" width="300"] My front porch[/caption] We like the heavy board floor. I'm not so crazy about the large square posts that hold the roof up. The carved originals were much nicer. Harold must have liked them, too. He saved them in the barn loft. First winter, a flock of doves roosted on the porch. I like doves, but not so much sweeping away the droppings. Most of the time that was impossible to do in the frigid temperatures. Each morning I'd open the door and yell at the doves. That not only woke them up but startled them into flying away. Finally, the birds decided they should go back to roosting in the three Colorado Blue Spruces down by the garden. The neighbors weren't so noisy down there. After that, it was cats that wanted to hide from the rest in the barn. They were welcome. Lately, the visitor over night had been an old beat up Tom Cat that needed to get away from the younger competitive Toms. When that old white cat started using one of the porch posts to sharpen his claws, I wasn't too happy about seeing the splinters sticking out. I sandpapered the spot down and tied a plastic sack around the post. The wind blew it off or the cat took it off. I'm not sure which so I mixed up a bottle of red pepper spray and sprayed the post. The cat must have sniffed the post and got a nose full of hot peppers. He stopped scratching. Lately, I find a few of the half grown kittens have joined him on the porch. They all scattered when I go out early to greet the day except the last few days they haven't been on the porch. I noticed, but first thing I do is patrol the porch foundation to see if my barricade is in place. It has been all summer. You see the last two years skunks came and went, digging holes and tearing up my flower bed. I kept posting my problem on Facebook. In 2014, the visitors were a mother skunk and two young ones. I wouldn't have known they were around except one of us goes out at dusk to shut the chicken house door. Just my luck it was my turn. I was walking back from that task and noticed three skunks racing toward the house. I wasn't sure where they were headed. All I knew was I wanted in the back door before they beat me to it. I raced across the yard and succeeded. Curious about what happened to the stinky trio, I looked around the house. The skunks turned along the side of the house and ended up under the front porch. I realized that the next morning when I found the hole and dirt covering my flowers. Those skunks lived there all summer with only one incident. I guess one of the cats tried to join them and got turned down. Four in the morning, we woke to the most choking horrible smell. That aroma lasted for days. In 2015, I found my flower bed a mess that spring. Again dug up and a hole under the porch. Turned out the two young skunks came back again. I worked at barricading the bottom of the porch and had no hope of ever having flowers. One of the friends on Facebook said moth balls work in the south. They keep skunks from denning in the wood piles. So I got a box and threw both sacks under the porch. By the next morning, the skunks had pushed the sacks back out. My mistake. I had to make the moth balls more work for them. I opened the sacks and scattered the balls. Some of them came back out but not all. When the wind is from the south, our basement smells like moth balls. I'm pretty sure there aren't any moths down there. I even set a live trap in front of the hole. The skunks dug a new hole to by pass it. Finally, fall came and the skunks moved on. Yesterday morning, I stepped out to see what the day was like, but I didn't check the foundation. After all, nothing had happened all summer. By mid afternoon, I changed my mind. I looked out to find a ground hog grazing in the lawn. I whispered to Harold to come see. He opened the squeaky screen door. The ground hog raced for the porch and disappeared. Harold found a hole dug under the porch in my flower bed. Here we go again, and I'm think this critter is almost worse than the skunks. Now I understand why the cats haven't been sleeping on the porch. I take a careful look around before I step out on the porch now to greet the day or any other time. That ground hog looks mean.
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