Every summer and fall, mostly during the night, a family of raccoons visits our yard, leaving their mischievous tell-tales for me to discover in the morning.
One of our favorite games (the raccoons initiated) involves a milk can that I made into a birdbath. I am quite pleased with my beautiful, makeshift birdbath, and so when these little mischief makers started messing with it, that did not make me very happy.
Milk can bird bath © As you can see, pleasing to the eye.
The game begins.
In the morning, I am somewhat dismayed to find once again muddy paw marks on the sides of the milky white can; the little remaining water, now dark and murky. Many of the decorative glass marbles and shiny rocks therein, I find tossed about in the raspberry bush and lemongrass nearby.
Sometimes I discover a small flower pot or two knocked over. The night prowlers always seem to find my garden froggies, which, I am certain, they toss about with delight. Alas, my garden has become their playground.
I clean up, refresh the birdbath, and all is good once again, until… I fill up a plastic milk jug with water, only to find the water fast escaping from many tiny perforations.
One muggy August night I woke at precisely 3:00 AM. I heard a strange crackling noise. There it was again. The sound was coming from the front yard.
I when to the door and flipped on the porch light.
Now in the spotlight, I saw a big, overstuffed fluffy raccoon, merrily playing with a plastic 2-liter milk jug that I use to water my cucumber plants. He was chewing on it, tossing it in the air, and jumping on it.
Nonplused at the bright lights and my presence, the brazen raccoon merely looked at me with his beady little eyes, all the while continuing to roll on the milk jug with great enthusiasm.
I told him he needed to go, waved my hand, and told him to move along. Then he got silly. He played with the jug, did a few side skips and jumps, then looked at me with those huge black eyes as if to say, “So there.”
Well, you are a sassy one!
My eye caught sight of some branches scattered about, as well as an apple/pear from our tree nearby, laying on the grass. As if he noticed I had noticed, the silly raccoon meandered to the apple/pear, picked it up and looked right at me. He paused for a moment, then dropped it and went over to the branch, doing the same.
I chuckled. His next act of defiance, or was it just plain happiness to have an audience with whom to share his silliness, Raccoon waddled over to a 5-gallon pail of water, climbed in it, then sat there looking at me with his head hung over the edge.
By this time I am laughing, really laughing, totally entertained, and yes, I think we are having a moment.
Refreshed, the little rascal climbed out of his bucket bath, stopped to run his paws over the strawberry leaves in the garden box beside my cucumbers. Finding a berry, he took a moment to enjoy the treat.
Then, he silently slipped away into the darkness. I wasn’t buying it. I was pretty sure he was still up to more mischief. I went to the back door and flipped on the light switch.
Sure enough, there he was… but he was not alone. Mrs. Raccoon and their two kits were having a time of it, messing with the backyard.
This is not my first endearing moment with a raccoon. I can not but marvel at God’s amazing creation – and He delights in sharing it with us.
He was enjoying our little interchange in the middle of a muggy August night, as much Silly Raccon and I.