Sunday, October 10, 2010
On Tuesday raccoons invaded our garden for the grapes on top of the arbor. Just as I was about to brush my teeth, I found out they were there when my 14 pound dog started making the most horrible noise. I ran in my sock feet out to the back patio and made as much horrible noise at the raccoons as I could. I must have looked scary enough that they backed off.
I got the Sophie in the brave into the house and went inside to make sure she was ok. I found one very tiny scratch on her, but she's up to date on rabies so I knew she was fine.
I figured I should go out and make sure it was all gone and try to make its unwelcome visit as unpleasant as possible. I put on boots, got the flashlight and a couple of shovels and went out to inspect. I could see fur when I shined the light up into the arbor. It gave me a startle because it was almost over my head. I stepped back, started making a racket and whacked at the grapes with a shovel. Luckily the raccoon jumped off the opposite side and ran to escape. I chased it yelling and banging shovels together until I saw it go over the fence.
On the way back in I gave the arbor one last whack with the shovel and was surprised to see yet another raccoon jump down and flee. I chased it in the same way until I noticed that the neighbors behind us were outside looking my way with worried expressions. Oops! It must have sounded like someone was getting attacked. I told them I was chasing away raccoons and apologized for worrying them.
I'm not sure if there was two or three raccoons that night. I'm guessing three because I don't think the one that attacked my dog went back up the arbor before running off.
Since then the dog door has been closed and the dogs can only go out with supervision. I am also keeping a shovel and a flashlight by the back door just in case.
Tonight I went out with the dogs and noticed the grape leaves waving just a bit. I thought it was a breeze, but as I walked the dogs in the other direction I realized the air was perfectly still. As I looked back at the arbor I caught a glimpse of a raccoon moving on the top of the arbor! I got the dogs in the house and equipped myself. This time I was much more calm because there had been no attack. I chased it off again, but with out making enough noise to scare the neighbors this time.
Needing a plan we got out the live trap and put some appealing chicken in it and set it up next to the grape arbor. We can only leave it out at night so the dogs don't go in and get trapped. Next on the list is what to do if we actually catch one. I have a friend who takes them out to an undeveloped area near a stream and lets them go. I think that will do.
On other matters, I stayed much closer to my calorie range today, so I'm getting on track with nutrition. And, I'm leashing up the dogs to take them on a nice brisk walk right now. Happy Sparking everyone!
UPDATE: Monday morning
This morning there was a possum in the trap. I let it go. It was terrified and smaller than my dogs so I don't mind if it comes back and eats more grapes, though I doubt it will want to after spending the night in a cage.