Last week on an evening I was actually home there was a bit of excitement at my house. I was sitting in my office trying to upload pictures to facebook when I heard a horrible growling sound come from the living room. I got up and came out to see what the fuss was. There was Chevy sitting on his cat bench staring out the french door glass at some unseen enemy.
As I looked out the other glass door I could see the problem. There on the deck was a raccoon eating the cat food it had pulled down off the ledge, spilling the food all around. The raccoon was not very old, or should I say not very experienced, because it looked up at me as if to say (read in your best cartoon animal voice), "hey there, what's up? I am just grabbing a snack since all the cats were inside, so don't mind me any cause I am not concerned about that growly cat on the other side of the glass." Yes that is exactly what that raccoon said to me. His face and body language spoke loud and clear.
So I calmly turned away from the french doors and walked across the house to the other side where my trusty 0.22 rifle was leaning against the wall by the other door. I picked it up and walked back to the french door. Now normally, the wiser wild animals would see me coming back and take off. Not this guy. First I walked over and switched the yard light on to illuminate the deck and west side of the house. Next I came back to the french door, took the safety off of my rifle and slowly opened the door. Again the raccoon looked up at me coming out of the door as if to say, "Oh you are back? Look, this was just knocked over and me and my buddy here were passing by and figured if your cats were going to be that careless we could at least help clean up the mess." The next thing he knew I was yelling at him to get off my deck and to stop eating my cat food. The raccoon turned slowly to leave as I raised my gun to shoot it. One shot laid it on the deck where it kicking its feet like it wanted to run but couldn't because his legs were now parallel to the deck. Then I yelled again and told it to get off my deck because I didn't want to have to clean up a bunch of blood. About that time I heard the 2nd raccoon exit stage left rustling the leaves of my pampas grass and taking cover under the deck. When I looked back the raccoon I had shot was gone. I looked beyond the deck and did not see anything dragging itself towards the windbreak so I figured it had gone under the deck to die. Oh great, that is just what I need (I thought).
I got the broom and cleaned up the rest of the spilled cat food. Picked up the dish and took it inside.
Sunday evening when I came home my worst fear that the raccoon had crawled under my deck and died was verified. When I pulled up on that side of the house to unload the car from the weekend I could smell the distinct smell of death. Great, I thought. I took a walk to the gardens to check on them and on my way back I was surprised to discover that the raccoon had not in fact died under my deck but rather beside it. Right there in plain sight. The death beetles were already hard at work on the dead body but I couldn't have that stench right there by the deck where I want to work on my project for the next week or so; and I especially did not want it out where the dogs would easily find it when they got home on Tuesday. So I grabbed a bucket and my shovel and removed the dead body from its resting place. Cremation followed in the morning when the wind had died down and I could burn my trash.
So you see - you never know what is going to happen on the farm. A lot of the time things go on all the time and I am just not there to observe them, but on the rare occasion I get to, I might just have a story to tell.