Scent of Love Spices the Air: Romancing the Skunk

The Wilder Side of Oakland County

img_9477

A skunk captured under a deck in a live trap presents a removal challenge for the homeowner.

Courtship is well underway for Mephitis mephitis, the often maligned striped skunk, and that means the scent of love is in the night air. Romance for the skunk is a simple affair: wander about under the cover of darkness and search for a suitable mate. Yet, during these nocturnal searches, as winter slowly wanes, skunks may encounter other critters of the night: raccoons, coyotes, fox, cats and dogs. If these creatures do not give the hormonal-driven skunk, with a mission of mating on its mind, a wide berth, the skunk will swing into defensive mode. First comes a warning: the front paws pound up and down. Perhaps that message serves to say, “Do you remember me from last time?”

Continue reading

A Tale of Two Trail Systems: Cross-Country Skiing Adventures

The Wilder Side of Oakland County

IMG_3024

Cross-country skiing is perhaps one of the very best ways to embrace the wild and wonderful side of winter, especially with the abundant trails in Oakland County. Nordic skiing is not only great fun and easy to get the knack of, but this low-impact, nature-embracing, sport also relieves stress, increases endorphins and brightens moods. It’s a rare sight to encounter a cross-country skier scowling or frowning. Even after a spill, a smile quickly reappears, especially when enjoying the sport with friends. More likely than not, a cross-country ski adventure will leave you with a feeling of exhilaration and a darn good story to share. However, it is hard to partake in this calorie-burning, smile-inducing workout for all ages and fitness levels when Oakland County snow remains sadly lacking, and that is where this tale of two trail systems kicks off. Continue reading