Another Complex System

I’ve written before about complex systems and how messing with them tends to bite one in the butt. So I guess it should come as no surprise that I would experience this first hand.

We are fortunate to have an office that looks out on a nice high desert landscape that is frequented by deer and rabbits. There are also some pretty neat birds here – quail, woodpeckers, jays, and the like, but we had the unfortunate luck of getting some crappy birdseed that seems to only attract doves. Which, while nice enough, are rather boring. (Note to birders: Stay away from birdseed that consists almost entirely of cracked corn – t’aint worth a damn).

Thus, a few days ago I splurged on some”woodpecker seed”. While more expensive, it contains lots of nuts and sunflower seeds, which a) doves don’t like and b) other, cooler, birds do. It is far more substantial than the usual bird fair, and seems to be doing a great job of attracting jays, finches, grossbeaks, and hopefully some flickers in the near future. As it turns out, it also attracts a lot of the little four-footed critters in the area – we’ve been getting a lot more squirrels and chipmunks hanging around, which I’m down with; they’re pretty cute after all.

Now around the time I switched the feed, Roni developed the habit of running to the back door late in the evening and barking like the little idiot she sometimes is. This kind of odd behavior is not unusual for her – she can be a bit of a freak at times – but she hadn’t done it in a while and this has been going on for the last several nights.

Had I been smart I might have connected the two, the new bird seed and Roni’s spaz-attacks. But I wasn’t. Instead, last night, I decided to open the back door to get a nice breeze going through the house. And while I was fixing a little pre-midnight snack, Roni dashed out the back door and I soon heard rustling and snuffling noises as she and… something … tromped around in the bushes. A rather unpleasant odor soon followed.

So I dutifully holler at Roni and flick on the porch lights to discover a tiny baby skunk – this thing couldn’t have been more than a foot long from nose tip to tail – standing it’s ground against our ferocious pit-bull mix. To Roni’s credit she quickly came over and let me inspect her to find that, miracle of miracles, she hadn’t been sprayed(!) Thinking the worst was over I told Roni to go inside, and grabbed my camera so I could snap off a couple pictures.

It is at this point that mere ignorance devlolves into genuine stupidity. I foolishly expected Roni to behave as I went back outside, and so left the back door open. Which is how I came to be standing there snapping away with the camera when Roni came out and, in one swift motion jumped up behind this little mini Pepe Le Pew, in a perfect position to get a face full of skunk juice.

Pepe was more than happy to oblige.

Thus… Trying to attract woodpeckers inadvertanly leads to attracting baby skunk. Baby skunk results in skunky dog, which in turn leaves skunky dog owner no choice but to take a late night shower with said dog to get the smell off them both while, once again, contemplating the beautiful interconnectedness of our universe.

One Reply to “Another Complex System”

  1. In contemplating the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, I believe you have forgotten to consider the effect of neglecting to call close friends. Your skunking may well have been payback for this “stinky” behavior.


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