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GinnyWink#5, A Badger, and Me: Another Ranch Story

GinnyWink#5, A Badger, and Me: Another Ranch Story

September 12, 2023

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

Some of you may remember the snake story.

Ranch Visitors: Blue Racer Snakes

Others of you may remember the skunk stories: First, there was the dead and rotting skunk in our cistern. Below, I am copying/pasting that story from  my July 3, 2003 newsletter.  This was before our interactive blog.

Skunk in the Cistern
We never put water in the cistern without remembering the time a couple of years ago when a skunk got into the cistern and drowned. We slowly began to notice the smell of skunk in the house and guessed that a skunk was passing through the yard during the night. Throughout
the course of the next few days, the smell increased and eventually seemed to permeate the house. Finally, one Saturday evening while Wink was in the shower, he realized what must have happened, as he smelled skunk in the shower water.  We raced outside and could see a slight opening between the concrete lid of the cistern and the rocks surrounding it.

We lifted the lid, and the horrible smell hit us in the face. From here the story goes straight downhill. We put an 8-foot ladder down into the water, but Wink was too big to get through the opening into the cistern.

I went down the ladder next, and tried to shovel that mass of rotting skunk into a bucket, but I just couldn’t stay down there long enough to finish the ugly task.  Eventually, we  brought the tractor over and hooked a chain to the front-end loader.  I slowly lowered Wink into the cistern as  he held onto the chain hooked to the front-end loader. He could squeeze through the opening of the cistern if both arms were held up above his head.  In this way, we got the skunk out, and then we had to disinfect and clean the cistern.

See the original post.

Second there was the mama skunk and 3 babies, which we caught in one trap.

Still  others of you may know my dear friend, GinnyWink#5, the most precious laborador ever; she follows GinnyWink#1, #2, #3, and #4, who were also precious.

However, GinnyWink#5 and I just had a very scary encounter with a badger.  I did not bother to snap a pix during the scary 5 minutes, so the following photo is courtesy of Wikipedia.

I was outside picking up branches under a  tree on a gorgeous fall day about 30 yards from the house.  I suddenly heard hissing and growling under the next tree about 10 yards away, where the badger and Ginny were running around and around the tree, the badger chasing Ginny. The badger was making horrible rasping, grunting, grating sounds.  I was yelling to get Ginny to come.  She tried to come once, and the badger took a little nip.  Off they went in a circle again.  I was about 10 feet away when I suddenly realized I didn’t have anything for protection.  I ran to the porch where  I remembered Wink had left a 3 foot bolt cutter. I have no idea what I was going to do with it.  Fortunately, when I ran for the porch, Ginny came right behind me.  We watched as the badger was forced to slink away in defeat.

I have since learned about a children’s book about a Canadian boy who was lost in the woods when a mama badger befriended him as he took refuge in the badger hole.  Is there a hint of truth in this story? I do not know, but I intend to read the book.

Incident at Hawk’s Hill (Newbery Honor Book)



  • Julie Gorman

    Dear Joan, so glad you & Ginny are fine. What a scary encounter. Hugs.

  • Michelle Hawkins

    Snakes, skunks, and badgers; oh my. Only three of the reasons this suburbs girl could never survive on a ranch! You look fantastic, so nice to see your smile. Hope to see you in Tucson soon!

  • Joe Ward

    You, Dean and sweet GinnyWink#5 had far more courage than I would have had under the circumstances. Badgers are tough critters! Being lowered into a cistern doesn’t sound like much fun either!!

  • Sharon

    You are my heroine—a true professional in all ways!

  • Janet Towell

    Dear Joan,
    I sure do remember that story about the blue racer snakes! I also loved this one about your Ginny #5 and the badger. Your stories are the best!! Love you!
    Janet ❤️

    • Joan Wink

      Janet, it is not lost on me that you are sailing the Mediterranean, while I am fighting a badger.

  • Bill Davidson

    Great story! Can’t wait for the next one!

  • Nancy Bartlett

    Oh my gosh, what adventures you have! A Prairie woman with brains, beauty, dignity, and class. XO

  • Ione Stiles

    I’m relieved you & GinnyWink#5 are ok!
    Thanks for sharing this exciting experience! 🩷

    Way too exciting for me!

  • Denise Wurm

    Joan, you are so brave! I knew that already, but your badger and skunk ordeals? Oh, my! I can’t imagine trying to get that skunk out of your cistern. I’m glad you’re all okay and that you’re still writing.

    • Joan Wink

      I was so shocked to see a badger so close to the house. Skunks and raccoons are pretty normal for ranch life. Hope all is well for you two!!

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