Seasonal Scents

S’mores, salty ocean breezes, veggie burgers on the grill, sweaty people on the bus — what’s the smell you associate the most with summer?

Rural areas support large skunk populations. Mostly, they don’t make much trouble. Raiding trash cans and digging up gardens occasionally are usually the limits of their depredations. Unless your dog has an unfortunate encounter, skunks rarely bother us.

Lately though, something is going on in the woods between the skunks and other critters. It’s not our dogs (thank God!), but something is causing them to emit their special perfume. More nights than not, the zephyr breeze carries the delicate scent of skunk to our wrinkling noses.

Garry: “Is that skunk I smell?”

Me: “Yep. Again. Not as close to the house as last time. Somewhere out in the back woods.”


Garry, a passionate believer in room deodorizing spray proceeds to spray the entire area and remarkably, it helps. Of course, almost any other smell is an improvement to “Odeur de Skunk.”

Pepe le Pew would be right at home around here lately. Maybe it’s the coyotes. Or the raccoons or the bobcat. Something is getting the skunks all riled up. I fervently hope they keep the war far from our windows. Because this summer, the scent that dominates, the smell which floats gently on the breeze is absolutely, no missing it, skunk.


It’s always interesting shooting in tandem. You’ve got the same stuff to look at and some of your pictures are likely to be very similar. But the eyes are different.

The cameras have different lenses and no two photographers ever shoot the scene exactly the same way.

This is Garry’s look at Manchaug.


It’s heading toward the middle of June, the heart of baseball’s season. The Red Sox are in last place — I think. The Rays and the Sox have been duking it out for bottom of the Eastern Division all year. Garry would normally be obsessively glued to the television, but it’s a bad year. Very bad, so he has only been watching pieces of games. It’s less painful that way.

The sportscasters were talking about somebody getting stuck with an error because he couldn’t catch a ball on a bad bounce and how hard it is to catch them when they take an unpredictable bounce.

Spalding Hi-Bounce BallWhich got me to thinking about stickball. These guys are paid gazillions to play professional baseball. They have parks with groundskeepers, bases, uniforms, baseballs and even bats! How would they do without all that fancy stuff, huh? We didn’t have any of that. No siree.

We had old broomsticks and pink rubber Spalding balls. The broomsticks were worn out. If it was any good, your mother was using it and it had a broom attached. Try to take that broomstick and she’ll beat you with it. The ball? Half the time, they weren’t even round, just lumps of old pink rubber which had once, long in the past, been balls.

In hometown stickball, assuming you actually hit it (dubious), you had no way to predict where it would go. All bounces were bad. Crazy. The bases were “the red car over there” and “the big maple tree in front of Bobby’s house” and everyone agreed the manhole cover was home because it was more or less in the middle of the road. Third was the drainage grate over the sewer

It left the game wide open for serious disputes about fair versus foul. The team who was most vigorous in pursuing fairness or foulness got the call, especially since we were our own umpires and decisions were voted on (but the bigger team always won).


Photo credit: mattweberphotos.com

If those super highly paid athletes had to play stickball, how well do you think they’d do? I’d just like to see those tough major leaguers playing stickball with a worn-out broomstick and an old pink Spalding ball bouncing all over the place.

That would teach them humility in a hurry.