Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Woman Vs Wild

The house in which I live is bordered on two side by wetlands.  As such, despite being in the city we get a lot of nature passing through.  Deer have been spotted a few times.  Our last batch of koi (not the current batch) were likely carried off by a heron.  Each spring ducks disturb the sanctity of the back yard in their efforts to perpetuate their species.  They make up for it by bringing the baby ducks by later in the year, baby animals being almost always painfully cute.  In the winter the yard is criss-crossed with tracks leading in and out of the wetlands and often to and from under the wraparound porch.  It's definitely something I very much enjoy about living here.

Well.  Recently things have taken a more antagonistic flavor.  I suppose you could say the heron eating the koi was not nice but, really, it wasn't so bad.  The fish just went from being there to not being there with no drama in between.  This is different.  This is a raccoon.

The first time the raccoon knocked over the garbage can and pulled all the grosser (is that a word?) elements of the garbage out I was fairly sanguine.  I mean, really, the raccoon is a scavenger and the lid wasn't on very tight and I didn't actually know there was a raccoon living nearby so...my bad.

After that I was careful to put the lid on and pop the handles up in order to secure it.  See, I'm human and we humans are smart enough to have invented locking garbage can lids.  Ha!  Go dig in someone else's garbage with your cute masked face and your creepily childlike hands!  It seems that my evolutionary superiority complex was ill-advised.  The raccoon knocked the whole thing over and since the lid didn't go flying off like last time he or she used those dexterous little mitts to painstakingly pull all the gross stuff out through a thin opening that formed between the can and lid when the can settled onto its side.

This is when Huppy the engineer stepped in.  I got a picture message on my phone later that day showing the garbage can augmented with not one, not two, but three bungee cords.  This was war.  To my untrained eye, I would estimate that our garbage can could probably be dropped from a plane without releasing its contents.  I'm happy to say that, despite making it somewhat laborious to actually use the garbage can, it seems to have worked.

While this was a battle won, the war continues.  Thwarted by the web of bungees the raccoon faded back to regroup.  The next sortie happened while I was out of town.  Huppy was asleep dreaming Huppy dreams when she heard what was obviously a zombie with a gammy leg slide-thumping across the porch outside.  OK, was probably not the first thing that popped into her head but based on her description-after-the-fact that's totally what it sounded like.  At any rate, she eventually determined that it was the raccoon dragging the bag of birdseed across the porch.  Apparently the bag was too heavy to be dragged off to Chez Raton Laveur so after dragging the bag some distance Plan B seemed to be to just eat as much birdseed as possible while remaining on the porch.  Huppy was unwilling to actually go outside and shoo the creature away so, satisfied that the house was not being invaded (by zombies or otherwise), she went back to sleep.  The next morning, of course, there was birdseed to be cleaned up and, as an added F-U for the bungee cord thing, a pile of actual raccoon vomit.  Apparently there is such a thing as too much birdseed.

After that things got quiet again.  The closest thing to a skirmish occurred one night when Huppy was out of town.  I went outside after dark because the next day was garbage day and since I was home alone it fell entirely to me to remember to put the cans out at the curb.  If you know me, you know that I had to write a note on my hand.  Anyway, I go outside to kick some remembering garbage day ass and there's a bunch of noise and scrambling just out of sight on the stairs leading to the back yard.  I did not pee myself.  However, I did get a powerful jolt of adrenaline and some practice seeing how fast I can dive back onto my house.  Once my less primitive brain took over again I realized that it was probably just the raccoon snooping around to see if I left the koi food out.  (In addition to bird seed raccoons will also eat koi food- they seem to prefer the $20 bag over the $8 canister).

As of this morning the siege continues.  At 6:00 this morning I discovered that there appears to be raccoon poop near the back door.  While this is disturbing enough I'm additionally disturbed by the fact that a part of me wants to use it to figure out what the raccoon is eating now that my garbage is so effectively on lockdown.  I won't do that but the CSI-watching part of me kind of wants to.

All I know is that this raccoon does not want to bring poop into this.  I have three freakishly large cats in my house.  At any given time I am in possession of about 300 lbs of poop and I am not afraid to use it.

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