A rogue skunk and volcanic applesauce

apples - TheFarmersInTheDell.com

Fall is just around the corner and the trees on the farm are heavy with apples.  A gluten for punishment, I picked 4-5 bushels and got down to canning applesauce.  After chopping and slicing and dicing, I filled a 22 quart pot with apples and began my first batch of sauce.

Making applesauce is quite simple, however, almost constant stirring is needed or the apples will scorch on the bottom of the pot and taint the whole batch.

One hazard of making applesauce…

It bubbles and boils and spews chunks of nuclear heated apples out of the pot with such gusto that you can easily have applesauce half way up the cabinets.  Believe me, I know.  After each sauce making session, it looks like there was an apple massacre in my kitchen.

Armed with this knowledge and several old sauce burns on my hands, I try to be extremely vigilant regarding the cooking process.

My kitchen windows face out onto our farm fields and all sorts of critters and cows come and go all day long, with nary a peep from the dogs.  So when I heard some low rumbles from our oldest Aussie, I figured her nemesis, Beatrice the barn cat, was taunting her.  When the youngest Aussie started throwing a hissy fit, my interest was peaked and I glanced out the back window.

And there it was…

A skunk…

Standing in the driveway about 20 feet from the dogs and only a few feet away from my SUV.

Panic set in as my mind tried to formulate a plan.  With only seconds to spare before one of the dogs became curious about the black and white “kitty cat,” I ran downstairs, out the basement door and around the side of the house with two chicken tenders that I had cooked for dinner.  I figured no mere dog treat was going to distract them from such a peculiar creature.

I sprinted across the lawn in the opposite direction of the skunk, waving the chicken tenders above my head and yelling, “who wants chiiiiiiiiiiccccccccckkkkkkkkeeeeeen!?!?!?!?!?!”

Their ears perked up and I made a beeline toward the barn, flapping the tenders and hoping that the dogs would follow me.

Luckily, their love of chicken trumped their curiosity, and by the time I made it to the barn door, they were right behind me.  I flung the tenders into the barn and closed the door behind the dogs – one catastrophe averted.

I climbed up to the haymow, so I could survey the area for the skunk.  By this time, the stinky guy had sashayed his way across the lawn and I watched with relief as he walked out of sight.

Phew!

“Son of a b*tch!! The applesauce!” I cursed out loud.

As soon as I opened the door, I could smell it – scorched apples.  And because the sauce wasn’t being stirred, it bubbled and simmered and seethed and percolated and convulsed all over the stove.  30 minutes and one entire roll of paper towels later, I had the stove clean as a whistle and ready for round two.

The pigs, on the other hand, DID enjoy the applesauce.

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