The weather during the past few days has been unbelievably beautiful. Instead of sledding and throwing snowballs, Robby and I have been playing laser tag in the woods and exploring the stream. It feels like spring, and although I still wish we had more time in the snow, we have been soaking up every moment before winter decides to arrive.
It does not take much to convince Robby to go outside to play. He is a stereotypical boy who loves digging in the dirt, climbing in trees, and exploring. Judging by how he looks when we return after an outdoor adventure, I suspect his goal is to become as mud-laden as possible!
As soon as he got home from school yesterday he ditched his school clothes for a pair of hole-riddled jeans, a stained shirt, and his froggy boots. He grabbed his binoculars, meteorite detector, and a shovel. He packed a bag with two Rice Krispie treats, his cowboy gun, and a hammer "just in case we get lost in the wilderness." I grabbed my cell phone and we took off to explore "the deep forest" which, incidentally, is our backyard.
I was warned of the dangers of panthers and bears which, according to Robby the Wilderness Guide, are known to roam the wild. He pointed to tracks in the mud to confirm his suspicions. He was confident that they were from a spotted panther. He refused to entertain the notion that they might have been from the deer who frequently run through the yard and, at that point, I realized the adventure was more fun through his eyes. Upon reflection, they could have been from a rogue panther.
Our afternoon was spent looking for wild animals and meteorites. Tromping through the woods, trying not to get tangled in the dead thorn vines, I was reminded how glad I am that Robby only goes to school for a half day. I wouldn't miss getting covered with briars, trapped by thorn vines, and stalked by wild animals for anything! I happily followed Robby the Wilderness Guide through our yard, loving every moment of watching his active imagination at work.
After schlepping our way through the mud, leaves, and assorted muck, Robby stopped in his tracks and simply pointed to large hole in the bottom of a tree. He whispered, "Look Explorer Momom, I think something lives inside there. Let's take a closer look."
I was confident that Robby had "discovered" nothing more than a hollow tree trunk, but I was happy to oblige his curiosity. We hedged up cautiously, and crunched down to peer inside the hole. Against my better judgment, I grabbed a long stick and poked inside the hole. It turns out that it is never wise to blindly poke sticks into possible animal dens.
We didn't see any animals, but they certainly made their presence known. As soon as the stick entered the hole I began to smell a strong, offensive yet extremely familiar odor. We found a skunk den, and they were not happy to be disturbed.
Robby took one sniff, looked at me and screamed, "I don't like the smell of this. I'm getting out of here." He took off running up the hill back to the house. I tried to follow suit but am not nearly as swift as my child. It took me longer to get up from the ground, and I can't run as quickly.
Thankfully I didn't get sprayed directly. Unfortunately I did run directly through the skunk stink in my ungraceful attempt to deftly escape. Any ideas on how to get skunk stink off a plastic foot shell?