Wednesday, 24 March 2010


overcast, snowy, temps minus 2

I'm not kidding. We woke up to snow on the ground...not falling and melting, but actually piling up. What a very funny (and not in a good way) week. An 's' week. Stinky, skunky, snowy - and another 's' word comes to mind...

Actually - it's not that bad. In fact, it's quite attractive. Driving into the bank today Michael and I were remembering that it almost always snows later in April too...sometimes even early May. Now, that's a problem...because the leaves are out on trees and it bows and often breaks them.

As we walked into breakfast in Cowansville this morning we laughed with the guy shoveling snow and he said, 'Well, it is the sugar time'.

Quebec is like that. A lovely, often poetic society. Describing early spring, which can often be messy and muddy and unpredictable and often wearisome as the 'sugar time'. When it means is the time when maple sugar is made, when the sap flows.

We had our first flowers blooming by the house. Crocuses. Deep purple and yellow. Now covered in snow, but still visible.

Got home by noon - after stopping at Edwards feed store in West Brome for moth balls. Lise told us that if we spread them around the front porch where the skunk is living it'll leave. Apparently moth balls is their kryptonite. We wanted to spread them before the poor skunk had its babies. Tony says little skunkettes are about as cute as any living thing - unless they're under your front porch.

So, fingers crossed she leaves.

The house is smelling less like skunk. We've also - at Lise's suggestion - lit candles in the mud room - site of the most intense stink. Pat just dropped by and thought we were holding a seance. In the mudroom.

Tragically, the elliptical machine is in there - so I don't think I can exercise until all the smell is gone. We might have to re-consider the mothballs. That skunk has come in handy...

Wrote a couple thousand words today. One scene has ended up being quite unexpectedly complex and problematic. So I've found myself going over and over it, adding lines here and there. But also got about 15-hundred words into chapter 10.

The wonderful Mary Jane Maffini called writing a first draft like having a daily colonoscopy. I thought that was one of the funniest - and most truthful - things I'd heard about writing!

After finishing yesterday I went over the final edits for the novella I wrote for literacy. The final edit had come in, so I read over them and made notes. Then sent it back. The novella's called The Hangman and lots of other Canadian writers are also doing novellas, including the fabulous Maureen Jennings, Gail Bowen, Joy Fielding.

Tomorrow is quiet...just writing. Yay! Except for a call in the evening to a book club in Florida.

And, I have to say, I was beyond thrilled to get a comment on this blog from one of my favorite writers ever - Deborah Crombie. Hi Deb. Now there's a great writer. And a lovely woman. We shared the most fun panel I've ever done...three mystery writers, Deborah, Rhys Bowen and me - at Bouchercon two years ago. No moderator, just us at the front, talking. Wasn't that fun, Deb?

Be well everyone. Talk to you tomorrow.


Lee Ann said...

That panel was a riot! And now I'm reading Deborah Crombie's books (I'd already found Rhys Bowen, and you of course).

Too bad about the elliptical . . .

Lee Ann

whalewatcher said...

Quite a skunk adventure you are having....I've read that mothballs sometimes work and sometimes the skunk just makes a nest out of them. Might try a
humane trap w/food for bait and the skunk can get in, but not out and then they are releasable to the wild....far from your porch. Yes, if she has babies before you can remove her not only will she become more aggressive, but it might draw other predators. If you don't feel comfortable w/that you might try contacting your nearest humane society, or animal shelter etc. and they might assist you.
I'm not trying to be the voice of doom or a know it all.
I grew up on a farm and had some dealings w/this kind of thing and I want to help you if I can.
Good luck.

Diane said...

You're continued sense of humour in the face of skunk adversity appears to be as perennial as our Canadian spring snow. I do hope the mothballs work!

Deborah Crombie and Rhys Bowen, two more of my favourite writers. What a treat your blogs are - dogs, walks, skunks, snow, crocuses, writing, and conversing with like talent - such a delight.


Gayle said...

My skunk story has a happier ending. At the time, we were living in the country in Bedford Co, VA. I happened to look out our back window and saw a mother skunk followed by her 5 babies and our black and white dog - all in single file, strutting along like they were having a parade. They seemed so happy. No worries for them and fortunately no odor for the dog!

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Lee Ann,

Yes, would not be prudent to get too close to that elliptical...

Dear Kathy,

We've used those great humane traps for squirrels and they worked well...we have our favorite squirrell release spot. But didn't think to do it for the skunk. Won't it squirt inside the cage...or in the car (noooo, not the car!) Will consider it. Thanks for the sage advice! Appreciate it.

Hi Diane,

yes, aren't Rhys and Deborah wonderful? Rhys and I are having breakfast, along with the other best novel nominees, at Malice Domestic. So looking forward to it.

Hi Gayle,

GREAT skunk story! I love it. Perfect. Thanks for telling us.

Barb said...

I've read all of Deborah Crombie's books, love them!