Monday, November 12, 2007

Raccoon business

Ok, so today has been really yucky outside... blowing wind, rain, ick ick ick! No one in their right mind wants to venture out today and that means no customers. So it has been really slow here in the shop. I was at a loss for things to include in todays blog. Then I started thinking about weather and animals that like to come in from the cold. This thought sparked some wonderful stories and memories and well I just figured I would talk about those.

First of all comes the raccoons. Raccoons are fascinating characters. They have hands just like us and they use them to pick up bowls of water and food and to catch things. They love cats (very edible you know) and they are curious! Troublesome and can be quite expensive(as my mom found out!) Let me explain that my mom is the original cat woman. She feeds every stray cat that comes visiting and then takes them to the vet for shots and spaying or neutering. She now feeds about 20 cats. She does not house them since many are somewhat feral but they are all taken care in the baby department: spayed and neutered.

Anyway, about three years ago my mom noticed a large raccoon had found the cat food which was kept on top of the picnic table on her back porch. Since the cats were finished eating she thought it would be ok for the coon to eat what was left of the cat food and the next evening she put out extra for the coon to eat. Mom continued this practice for about a week and finally one night when we were on the phone to each other she mentioned that the coon was eating the cat food out on her porch. I told her to make sure that it could not get into the house and that she should stop feeding it so it would go away. I was particularly worried about her cats (each one of whom she has named and grown fond of). Mom replied that she didn't believe that there was anything to worry about.. it was only one coon and she didn't seem harmful or interested in the cats.

So another week goes by and mom calls again. It seems the coon found its way into the garage, and through the garage accessed mom's attic! She now has a coon in the attic and while the coon is quiet, she is concerned for its safety and will have to do something about drawing it out of the attic. A few days later I get a call from mom stating that the "coon" situation is much worse as Mrs. raccoon has now had two baby raccoons. This is causing a lot of consternation since the raccoons are in the attic directly above mom's bedroom. And raccoons talk to their children, loudly, and according to mom, constantly! Mom was now having trouble sleeping because of all the noise. Mom finally got a broom and every time the animals started making noise mom would rap the ceiling of the room.

Mrs. raccoon finally moved her babies to the other side of the house and my mom was fairly pacified. She did mention that she had called the humane society but they said they could not move the babes until the babes were walking. It was probably a week or two later when mom calls again. She has not really had a good sleep since the coon moved in but the other night was the topper.

Mr. Raccoon came looking for his missus, and he was not going to take No for an answer. Nothing would come between him and his gal. Not siding, insulation, roofing, or my mother. The next day my sister Shannon and mom learned about how to trap raccoons. Two days later chilluns and mom were on their way to the mountains. The very next day mom got estimates for raccoon repairs to her home. $10,000. Now there is no sign of any raccoons, and my mom keeps all her doors closed to raccoons and any other creatures looking for a nice nesting place.

Here is another raccoon story that will make you smile.

While we lived in Ohio, we had squirrels in our attic. Actually the squirrels were between the first floor and the second floor. All winter long we would hear them moving around up there. Our cats would stalk along the floor, listening to the squirrels, and flicking their tails. In the fall we would hear them rolling nuts along the ceiling, from one end of the living room to the other. Every once in a while they would roll too far and the nut would fall down between the walls. No fear there, the nut would land in the basement, along with the squirrel who would follow the nut and from the basement it would exit through the holes between the foundation stones. Did I mention this house was over a hundred years old? Any way, I was recently checking out stories about squirrels and I remembered this wonderful story from This American Life. So if you want a great laugh check out this squirrel story. You want act two, starting at 20 minutes into the episode.

So on days like today... just cuddle up around a nice cup of Joe and a warm fireplace, and thank your lucky stars that you aren't one of those wonderful creatures looking for a place to stay for the winter... or even a few nights... and be thankful they aren't looking at your place, too hard!

Raccoons and Squirrels in Whidbey Islands sites.

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