When I was young, my little brother was always getting into trouble, because that’s what little brothers do. He was often punished, and rightfully so, for the most part.
I remember one particular instance, however, when he was punished for something I did (hogging all the ice cream, the beginning of a long and illustrious career), and I watched silently as he took the blame that was rightfully mine. Because that’s what big sisters do.
This memory was brought back to me when I walked into the coop hallway yesterday. I had hosed down the gazebo, sprayed bits of mildew with with a diluted bleach solution, hosed it again and allowed it to dry in the (overly-abundant) sunshine. It was time to put it away for the next time we have babies, and I needed the matching pink portfolio bag in which to store it.
Which is when I saw these:
I put the brick next to the prints to give an feel for scale. Those are some big ole feet, right there. And those are not groundhog feet.
There’s a reason our groundhog was showing hithertofore undisplayed strength and tenacity; it wasn’t him! These feet, chickeneers, as I’m sure many of you know all too well, belong to a raccoon. A big raccoon.
I’ve lived here four years now, and I’ve yet to see a raccoon, but that means nothing. Now that he’d found abundant, choice food here on more than one occasion, he was going to keep returning.
The Man suggested trapping and relocating, but I’ve heard too many denizens of Backyard Chickens rail against this practice. I believe that, if we could really secure all edibles, reliably and permanently, he’ll get fed up and move on to greener pastures. He hasn’t been here long, after all. I don’t believe that we are his home, just a new stop on his route.
The Man generously offered up a galvanized garbage can he holds in reserve for non-chicken-related priorities (an oxymoron, if I ever heard one). I washed it, let it dry, and filled it with the cracked corn, sunflower seeds, and a small bucket of feed. The lid came off too easily for my comfort, so I asked The Man to come up with a solution. The result:
Not only is the raccoon not going to be able to open the lid, but he won’t be able to tip over or move the bin when it’s emptier and lighter. It seems pretty hard core to me, and there was no evidence of tampering this morning.
The only problem? I need to get an engineering degree to get into it…