Who is that good looking woman, you may ask. Well, if you read the header you would know, it's my mother Agnes. That also
explains where Arthur (my son) inherited his looks from :) Anyway, my mother works as a mechanical engineer and is emplyed
by Bently Nevada Corporation as a Lead Scientist. She specializes in vibration
(not vibrators, you silly) and ways to detect rotating machinery problems non-distructively. You may think, that's not
a job for the woman, but her work would contradict you. She can solve Lapunov's equations faster than you blink.
She came to the US over 16 years ago, and adopted herself here very well. She is very active professionally and travels a lot.
You can call her workaholic and perfectionist, she does not take no for the answer (ask her co-workers if you doubt it).
She is also getting more active on the internet, so watch for her WEB presence in the future. You can reach her via e-mail
In the picture above you can find Agnes, Miriam (daughter-in-law), Don Bently (her long-time companion) and Arthur (grandson); I am hiding behind camera.
Agnes likes to write. Here is a sample of her writing. Read it, if you have unwanted skunks/animals in your backyard or a sense of humor.
Skunks -- by Agnes Muszynska
Photo Credit: Wendy Shattil, Bob Rozinski
BTW, how come two people get credit for one skunk picture...
...one takes a picture and another steps on a gas ;)
One summer, a while ago, I took a two week business trip. On returning
home I went to my garden to collect some parsley and dill for dinner. My
garden was usually a mess. A lot of weeds growing high, almost taking over
all the beds of planted vegetables. Thousands of grasshoppers grazed happily
on my vegetables, and jumped out from under my feet as I made my way to the
garden. Ugly and annoying as they were, the grasshoppers were relatively
harmless, and I had learned to tolerate them. On this particular sunny and
warm afternoon as I approached the patch of parsley, I was not surprised to
hear the familiar noises of the grasshoppers, coming from the weeds. I did
not pay much attention to the grasshoppers. It suddenly struck me, however,
that the incoming sounds were not as uniform as usual, but came from one
specific place just in front of me. I took one more step forward, and
literally froze. Three feet away in the weeds, was a skunk! While I was
unable to make a move, and my heart pounded heavily, this small, pretty
animal with handsome white stripe over his black, furry back, slowly crawled
toward the juniper bushes and disappeared from sight. I retreated cautiously
and returned to the house. My thoughts were full on anxiety:
"I have a big problem, what to do?!"
I had known skunks only from books. In Poland there are no skunks!
Usually when something happened, my first step was to ask for help from our
Plant Security people. At least they were available for 24 hours a day! So I
called the Plant and asked for advice. The guard on duty did not have an
immediate answer, but promised to call back shortly. After ten minutes he
called to report a recommendation just received from the Animal Control
Services, to whom he addressed my request. To start with, the guard
reported, Animal Control stated that
"They do not do skunks."
However they did offered an advice:
"Get bread crumbs and scatter them on the lawn, starting from the bush where the skunk disappeared,
to the garden gate, and finally beyond. Leave the gate opened overnight. The skunk will probably
find it’s way out!"
I did as recommended, carefully trying to avoid immediate encounters with the skunk when scattering the bread.
Next morning I went outside to check the effectiveness of the previous day’s
measures. Well…, some crumbs had disappeared. The skunk was not in sight
also. But then my neighbor, a retired lady, came out from her house and
approached the fence which separated our lots.
She started the conversation by saying:
"Do you know that you have skunks in your back yard?"
I was surprised that she knew, and I related to her the story of the previous day’s events.
"The problem is that you do not have a skunk, but you have a of skunks!"
and she revealed the frightening truth. Apparently when I was out
of town, a female skunk gave birth to two babies in my back yard, most
probably under my porch. Since then, the skunk family lived in my yard. The
neighbors watched them playing on my lawn every evening. The skunks looked
cute, but the neighbors were seriously afraid that the skunk family would
cross the fence and invade their yard. My neighbors always silently
disapproved of the messy state of my garden. Now the skunk story was related
to me, also with a tone of disapproval.
I now had a REAL problem. How to get rid of a family of skunks?! By now,
they probably thought of my back yard as their own home!
When I went to work at the Plant I asked my secretary to look for some help.
She was a very energetic and enthusiastic woman, and at once began calling
various pertinent institutions around the county, and beyond. It was not
easy, however, to obtain any information and advise on what to do with the
skunks. By the end of the work day I had received a single advice from the
Animal Control Agency of the neighboring county as a potential solution to
"Buy a wild animal trap-cage, cover it by a black plastic bag (skunks like darkness), and put
inside the cage a fresh, fried chicken (the best is Kentucky fried chicken!). Leave everything overnight."
After reading these instructions I asked:
"And then what?!"
It looked as though the recommended solution was not bad for any wild animal, EXCEPT
skunks. The Animal Control, which does not do skunks, evidently did not
realize how unique a weapon this animal comes equipped with! If trapped, it
is still very dangerous! Furthermore, I did not have just one skunk, but the
The advice was clearly inapplicable. I started calling around, to all
friends and acquaintances, asking them to refer to me anyone who might have
had some experience with skunks.
By the end of the next day a recommendation arrived. It was passed to me by
a forester, and this time it sounded quite reasonable and feasible.
"Skunks are nocturnal animals. They do not like light, they do not like noise, and
are sensitive to smells. In particular they do not like the smell of
camphor. You have to fight them psychologically!"
Shortly thereafter I went to the drug store and purchased four pounds of
moth flakes. The contents of the package were duly spread on and under my
porch, on the lawn, and under the juniper bushes where I had seen the
skunk. A loudly playing radio was installed overnight on the porch. The
porch lights were turned on, and a few more lamps were added around the
yard. All gates to the yard were left widely opened overnight.
Later, my neighbors complained that they had not been able to sleep, as the
music was too loud. However the cure for skunks was miraculously effective!
Nobody has seen a skunk in my back yard since.
Minden, Nevada, April 1996
To learn more about skunks see Skunk and Opossum Page
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