Posts Tagged ‘raccoon’

Late Night Visitor



I bought this so I could give Harvey a bath in the back yard. He weighs 85# and he hates water. When I say “hates” water, I mean: hates.

The water trough didn’t exactly work because I approached the bath time without adequate tools. That means: I either should have had a leash to wrap around his tail end and drag him -or – best case scenario: I neglected to make my husband take on that part of the chore.

That’s my problem. I always think I can do this by myself.

The result was: undisturbed water in the water tank, but Harvey got a bath.


The wonderful clear water in the tank did make for a very nice Monet – like photo of the sunflowers, however.

That tank has been sitting out there for a week, gathering a little dust and pollen. So it was that when I noticed today that the mud coating the bottom of the tank had been disturbed, I needed to look closer.


Oh. My. Little foot prints?


Those are not Murphy prints. Murphy did play in the water a little, but Murphy has great big paws. Those are not great big prints.


Definitely not a dog’s foot prints.


How cute, I thought, a raccoon came into our back yard and took a swim.

I thought it was a rather sweet thing. Thankful that the silly beast did not come into the yard when the dogs were out (or could be let out), but it slipped into the yard during the late night to play in the water tank.

And then I found this.


Seriously? Every.Single.Grape? I had bird netting over them, they were almost ripe, and my mouth was watering in anticipation of dining on them.

But then – that damn raccoon.

He probably washed my grapes in the water tank before he dined on them all.

I think I hate the raccoon now.

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This is mostly about wildlife in the backyard, but there might be some mechanical devices involved as well.

Today was a good day, mostly pain-free and very lazy. I am considering the comments made on my last post very seriously, but I have other things to do before I go asking a doctor for a dx of fibromyalgia. I do take it seriously: three friends in one week said the same thing after I whined to them about how I was feeling. I just hadn’t seriously considered it before because… well, I never thought my symptoms matched up properly.

But that isn’t what I wanted to write about tonight. We have a backyard full of wild creatures and I would love to share them with you, my small following of friends and family.

Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of everything.

For instance, a couple weeks ago my husband called me at 6:30AM. “Is the opossum still there?”

Um. What opossum would that be?

My husband lets his dog out very early in the morning, like about 4:30AM. And on this particular morning, Murphy proudly carried a dead opossum to the back door. Don chased him down in the yard and made him leave the poor body out in front of the shed. And now, at 6:30AM when it was light out, he wanted me to go out and see if the opossum was truly dead.

I assured him there was no body in the back yard.

Dumb dog! The opossum went into a stupor and “played” dead, and Murphy thought he had a prize. I’m sure it was very relieved to wake up from it’s self-induced coma to find it was still alive, and it made it out of the yard post-haste.

Last Monday, Don let his dog out at 4:30AM. And there was a terrible ruckus in the back corner of the yard, with barking and growling and scuffling. I woke up and held my breath, waiting to hear a cat scream. No cat. Whatever it was, it fought back and held Murphy at bay before it jumped onto the compost bin and over the 6′ bamboo screen, onto the neighbor’s little tin shed.

I moved all the hazelnut mulch bags into the backyard and stacked them onto the back stoop until I can find time to spread the nuts. I did this because something moved the bags around in the driveway and attempted to chew through thee plastic fiber.

Last week, I stepped out the back door in the early morning to discover the bags that were still unopened had been rearranged on the back stoop.

The critter left his mark.

Pretty certain that is the same critter that Murphy tangled with a few mornings earlier. I’d just spread hazelnuts over the flower beds in the back corner. Apparently we have a neighboring raccoon who is fond of filberts.

Darn thing also dug up my freshly planted mums and killed them. Guess it was also hunting grubs??

Today, I lazed around. I pulled out the lawn chair, set my camera on the bench beside me with a glass of ice water for refreshment, and opened the last book in the Cornelia Funke series I have been reading (Inkheart, Inkspell & Inkdeath). I kept one eye on the new birdbath.

I purchased the salad bowl at Goodwill and filled it with water. The stand is one I bought at a yard sale not too long ago. I also added a “bubbler” to make the water move and I have since moved the entire set-up to a different location. It has taken the small birds about a month to discover it, but now that they have – they love it.

But before I spotted any birds in the birdbath, there was a chattering and commotion in the hazelnut tree that my husband has allowed to grow wild along the back fence. It’s in a part of the yard where we have done no landscaping. Neglected, wild, and overgrown. And now there was a squirrel chattering back there, presumably at Harvey as he wandered the perimeter of the yard.

Harvey is hunting cats and doesn’t care about squirrels.

Harvey is not especially bright and he’s on a mission to get out of our yard to hunt cats.

I grabbed my camera and headed to the wild side of the yard.

The squirrel was upset with this large blue bird, not Harvey. The Steller’s Jay was working the hazelnut tree over.

Steller’s Jays are harder to capture than scrubjays. They aren’t as gregarious. But they are one of the most beautiful birds I have ever seen. I think they are prettier than the Eastern Bluejay.

The squirrel is a young Eastern Fox squirrel that only recently started coming over to our bird feeder. It seems he (or she) has also discovered the wild hazelnut in back.

The birdbath didn’t disappoint me. You can see the bubbler in the middle of the bowl there: it’s powered by two “D” batteries and just spins, making the water move. I was worried that it would put off the little birds, but this red-breasted nuthatch doesn’t seem to be bothered by it.

The Black-capped Chickadee was more worried about me and I was sitting 20 feet away.

We live along the Pacific Flyway, the major north-south migration route for thousands of birds annually. Our back yard is also on the flight path for airliners coming from the south, headed for PDX. We are also relatively close to several small airports and since we sit on the bluff over the Willamette River, we have some great thermals overhead. Small aircraft often buzz the house in the summer months.

Today, we were buzzed by three Vintage WWII airplanes. They’re noisy, but they don’t leave large bird droppings like the occasional Turkey Vultures that gets lost on the thermals overhead do.

The chickadee started to warm up to my presence. Or maybe this is a different bird.

The sun was dropping low and the shadows were getting long when I decided it was time to come in and fix dinner for my husband. But I couldn’t resist the squash bug. Pestilence.


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