JoannaBY JOANNA SMITH

A few weeks ago I ended a column by asking for advice on how to get the skunk smell out. Shortly after the paper came out, someone left an anonymous voicemail with the directive, “to get skunk smell out, use tomato juice.”

I’m assuming you use the tomato juice as a body wash to get the smell out of your pores, but what about your clothes? Unless you want a red-tinged outfit, perhaps a bit of vinegar in the washing machine would rid the fabric of that sweet perfume, “odeur de mouffette.”

Many years ago I watched a young man load up a washer full of clothes, measure out the soap, and then unscrew the lid of a 2-liter bottle of Coke and pour it into the machine. I’m not suggesting anyone wash their clothes in sugary carbonated syrup, but someone seemed to think it served a purpose. I’m seeing a whole new line of advertising: Coke, it gets the skunk out.

Speaking of stinky smells, the fishermen are wading out in droves along the river. Curious about the dates of open fishing season, I pulled up the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website. Before I found the lowdown on fishing season, I was distracted by this headline, “Spring Arrives Early for Hungry Bears.” In spring I typically look out for mushrooms, crocuses and lilies when apparently I should be looking out for hungry bears.

Remember that crazy first day of spring last week that felt like winter’s stubborn last feat of strength? McFarland Creek reported at least 3.5 inches of snow. After the flurry cleared, I went for a walk with my dogs. Crunching up the side of a steep hill, I decided to cross to the other side of the road. Hidden underneath the new layer of snow was a sheet of solid ice. The minute my boot touched it, my legs went straight up in the air and I slid speedily downhill on my back.

My faithful mutts tried to run after me, but despite having twice as many feet as I, and a set of claws, they too spun out of control and slid on their haunches before jumping on my belly and riding my body like a dog sled to the bottom of the hill. It was so much fun, I decided to never do it again.

I need some traction chains for my boots and some snow-worthy dogs. And maybe a pair of St. Bernards with kegs of adult beverages tied to their collars.

This Thursday (March 28) at 7 p.m., I’ll be at the Methow Valley Community Center in Twisp, sharing photos and stories from our recent foray into Africa. I contacted the Micato Safari company that organized our trip to see if they wanted to send along some brochures – they went above and beyond and sent along some free gifts for me to pass along to you, so please come and enjoy photos and stories, and go home with a free gift from Kenya. Donations go to the Community Center.