Raccoons, those masked marauders who plague my life, have struck again with stealth and intelligence last week.
To carry out his mission, this particular raccoon braved stone steps down into our cellar, pushed open an unlatched door, crossed the room, climbed wooden steps and ate the garbage stored on the landing.
Not satisfied with such meager pickings, he pushed open a door to the dining room. This seems like a strange place to have a doorway from the cellar but considering this door is simply one of seven doorways into our dining room, not so terribly strange. The raccoon then sauntered through the dining room and into the kitchen, opened my fridge and snatched quesadillas.
When I came down in the morning, the fridge was open, the container opened on the floor and crumbs were scattered all through the kitchen and the formal dining room. I was shocked, full of unanswered questions. That was the last time I left the cellar door unlatched.
Of course my husband was not home. My kids and I have a theory Every single time Michael, my husband, attends a conference or leaves for a long weekend, something goes wrong on our hobby farm.
Last year, my husband was gone for two weeks and a total of ten accidents and catastrophes occurred. All my kids are well aware of this pattern of disasters. As I complained dramatically to a friend one afternoon, disbelief flashed across her face. Katie, Rachel and Lucy all chimed in,
“No, really; it is true. Everything goes wrong as soon as my dad leaves!”
Below is an abbreviated mischief list: of just what raccoons have done in my husband<s absence. This list does not include hundreds of other disasters. Raccoons might look adorable, but they are deceptive, sneaky marauders intent on wrecking havoc.
- We removed one small pane of glass in a window six feet above the ground to help ventilate our meat bird barn. One morning we discovered 50 chicks missing and assumed dead with only a few feathers left. Only raccoons, with their sharp claws, can climb that high and carry off chickens.
- Raccoons love to pull down corn stalks, destroying the entire plant, to eat only the largest, sweetest corn cob.
- At night, as raccoons gather to celebrate their corn feast, they make a loud, piercing sound that can only be described as a cross between a crying human infant and a screeching cat.
- These thieves steal eggs, terrorizing the hens who make such a racket that one of the male members of our family runs out with a gun, no matter what the hour.
- They are garbage specialists, opening lids, toppling garbage cans that should protect the green garbage bags from them. Raccoons are not content to simply eat the food waste, they delight in dragging trash all over the shed.
- Mother raccoons hide their young in hay barns. Accidentally stumble upon her and she turns vicious. One huge, enraged mama raccoon chased one of our sons out of the barn, causing him to scream,
“It’s a bear. There’s a huge bear in the hay barn coming after me!”
He was terrified.
- One afternoon, our wonderful guard dog chased three raccoons up a hydro pole. One blew the transformer, electrocuting himself, as he tried to climb down later that night. He died instantly and cut off our electricity. We need power to even use water or flush the toilet because we run our own pumps in three separate wells.
The electrical crew, who had arrived in a long cherry picker, argued whether they really wanted to go up and rescue the remaining two raccoons.
“Do you want to go up there George?”
“Who me? No way. Why don’t you do it Harry?”
They turned to me and stated,
“Tell you what. We’ll turn your power on and just come back tomorrow after they blow the transformer again.”
David, my son, decided to simply open his upstairs bedroom window, aim carefully and take the raccoons out of their misery. The power stayed on.
The only good thing I can say about raccoons is that they did clean our property as they scoured the yard every night for any tidbits of food dropped by our kids.