The horrible racket coming from the ducks caught my ear as I leisurely crossed the barnyard. Reaching the half door, I hopped up, cautiously peering inside as one of the ducks, Danny, continued to toss dust in the air with his wings as he fled nowhere in a circle. Danny, the eldest Peking drake, flapping his wings as he walked in circles cried, “What shall we do? What shall we do?” Swirls of dust surrounded the ducks rising above their heads. Darrell, Denise, and Darla were crowding him, trying to comfort him while talking over one another. “Call Stripe! Call Stripe!” (“Was that Darla?” I speculated.) “No, no! Call the Sheriff!” (“That was Denise,” I thought.) The calming tones of Darrell spoke, “It will be fine. It will be fine.” In the midst of this, Danny’s strident call continued, “What shall we do? What shall we do?” Looking around the barn area, I could see no evident threat facing them as I cleared my throat. Opening my mouth to speak, CJ, the rooster, alerted once more causing all the hens to raise loud cackles outside the barn. I looked toward CJ who was standing guard just beyond the ducks. I still did not see anything to cause all this fuss. Just about to speak, I saw a black head with a white stripe poke its nose out of the metal nest box next to the door. OH! NO! Jumping quickly and quietly, I landed on the floor outside the door. Now I was wondering “What to do. What to do? OK, the Sheriff wouldn’t be afraid. The Sheriff would take care of business.” So swallowing a deep breath, I hopped back on the top of the door. Sticking my neck over the edge and hoping for the best, I peered down at the nest box. At that very moment out pops a skunk. The ducks are too involved with their circle of terror to move away from the danger. CJ, like the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace, is frozen in place with not a muscle moving or a peep coming out of his mouth. The skunk continues on his way down the wall toward the back of the barn. His tail held high and at the ready to perfume the area. I wisely keep my mouth shut. Barely breathing, I watch him proceed toward the old truck tire nest at the corner of the back wall. As he disappears, I open the door and motion for the ducks to get out. Still loudly complaining they waddle out single file. CJ has yet to move. I watch him for a moment or two and then follow out after the ducks. Moving to let the goats and donkey out, I say, “Well that was interesting, wasn’t it? Never thought I’d be that close to a skunk and not get sprayed. By-the-way Savannah, thanks for the heads up.” Savannah doesn’t even respond. Instead, she pushes past me asking,”Where’s the Sheriff? I’m hungry.” Coco coming out behind her says, “I’ll go up to Village House and ask Honey for breakfast.” Savannah nods,”Good idea! Let me go with you.” Off they go with all the other goats trailing along behind like nothing was ever wrong. Shaking my head, I think to myself, “Oh, Stripe! What could be wrong? I don’t know, maybe - SKUNK!” The turkeys are loudly demanding to get out of their area. Moseying over to them, I open their gate. Tom, the daddy turkey, is not a nice bird. He will try and flog you if you’re not watching him. I honestly don’t know why the Sheriff and Honey keep him around. Tom grumbles, “About time!” as he struts out into the barnyard. Alice, the usually complaining turkey hen, follows quietly. I check one more time and see that CJ is still on guard duty in the duck area and I nod to him. No response. That rooster can be just plain scary sometimes with how diligent he is guarding the flock. I decide it’s time to bring my first daily report to the Sheriff. We will have to come up with a plan about that skunk.