Monday, May 25, 2009

An early morning visitor.

I think I may have mentioned before that I am a bit of a night owl. At 2.30 a.m. I heard one heck of a racket outside. I was watching a scary movie and my imagination took over - yes I am smiling here. Gregg had long gone to bed. My first thought was that someone was trying to break into the house. I got up with a start and ran to turn the lights on. I couldn't see anything as I peered into the darkness hiding behind the inside wall, and then I saw one of the bird feeders jerking furiously. On top of the bird feeder was a shape I could not make out. I watched as the shape moved at the sudden light but instead of scaring it off, this darling little creature climbed down and squeezed through the rail, gave me a bit of a look, realized I was no danger I suppose and started eating the bird feed on the deck.

It was a racoon! This is only the third time I have seen one in all the years I have lived in the States. The first time was when Gregg was stationed at the Navy Post-Graduate School in Monterey, California. We lived in navy housing and it wasn't long before we realized that we had a family of racoons visiting at night. There was a wood at the back of the house and apparently it was common to feed our racoon family who would climb down the tree right next to our deck. Our neighbor told us to roll raw eggs out, and not knowing all the cons of feeding racoons at the time, this is what we did the whole time we lived in Monterey. We went through a lot of eggs but it was cheap entertainment as there were a lot of kids in the neighborhood who used to end up in our house in the evening and watch the racoons feeding. We had a big old glass sliding door and were all safely tucked behind it. My memories are seeing all these three year olds, including our son, lined up by the door, lying on their tummies with their chins cupped in their hands, silently watching in awe as these wonderful animals delicately bit off the top of the eggs and licked out the contents, often using their paws to scoop out the insides.

The second time I saw a racoon was about eight years ago when visiting friends in Whidbey Island, Washington. Gregg and I were on a road trip from Seattle to British Columbia. A family of racoons ran across their back lawn but were so fast they were out of sight in moments. Our friends bought land overlooking the Puget Sound years and years ago. When they retired from the Navy they built a house on the land and they had the most incredible view. So there was this family of racoons running helter-skelter with that view in the background and with Bald Eagles flying overhead. It is one of the many favorite memories of that trip. Absolutely fantastic!


So here I am with my third contact. I didn't get but a couple of photos that first time and none the second. I have one or two of the kids in front of the back door in Monterey, but I was more interested in getting those cute pictures of the kids rather than the animals themselves. The ones in Whidbey were far too fast, and truth be told the photo 'bug' hadn't gotten a hold of me until we were able to buy a better camera. More than that even, our son had grown up and was moreorless out of the house all the time, and there was more time and thought for taking photos of other things besides our darling son and his friends. These photos are blurry, blurry, blurry but hey, I am thrilled I had this visit with my little friend here, and I was able to capture the moment.....

and when I finally went upstairs and told Gregg we had a visit from a racoon and he rather sleepily said, "That's great hun" and "I don't think that's a good idea" when I also told him I had rolled a couple of raw eggs out. Probably not but I couldn't help myself for an old memory's sake of a very special time. To top the whole experience off, after he had finished eating his egg, he came over to the window where I was lying flat on my tummy with my chin cupped in my hands and we were actually nose to nose. As he pressed his nose and tiny paws to the glass, he looked at me and said "Thank you so very much for giving me those two eggs. They were very tasty. I'll be back." Yes I have a great imagination, but in my world that's what he actually said. He ambled down the steps with the same kind of smile on his face that I had on mine, and was gone into the night.

21 comments:

Cezar and Léia said...

wow Denise! How luck you are!!!!And very clever because I would never think about eggs to keep a little bit this cute friend close and happy!
Great idea!
Lovely post!
Léia

Kilauea Poetry said...

This is a wonderful story..animals I'm convinced demonstrate there appreciation in all sorts of body language..and there isn't any doubt in my mind! Another great post!

Declan said...

Great story and cool capture of your scary monster.

Janie said...

Great story of your racoon experiences, and so cool that you were able to capture this morning's experience on the camera for us!

Tricia said...

You have a way of telling a story - that could be a child's book! I really enjoyed it!

Anil P said...

He will be back now that he knows you understand his language.

Experiencing the trust of an animal is a moment to treasure.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

How lovely Denise. I'd have done something similar I'm sure. And you are probably right - he did come up to say thank you - why wouldn't he? Years ago I used to put out cat food for the hedgehogs in my garden and sit and watch them clear the dish. A x

A Brit in Tennessee said...

A lovely story Denise, and I would bet my lunch money he will be back for more eggs !
I think Racoons are such interesting and cute animals, a little sneaky perhaps, but you've got to love that 'bandit" mask ..
Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures as usual ..

Kay said...

I know we had racoons when we lived in the Midwest but I never saw one in our backyard. What fun! Loved your post.

Patty said...

They are cute aren't they. We had a female visit us several summers ago. She got so she would come out in the daytime. We knew that wasn't too smart but she was looking for food. We discovered she had four babies living under our shed and apparently they were hungry. But one neighbor complained to us, saying how they are dangerous and have fleas and etc. and etc. and made it sound like we had them living in our yard. We didn't place them there, they came because we fed the birds and she would rob the bird feeders at night. We never set any garbage out because raccoons had been known to rip off the trash can lids and pull items from inside. So we called a place about relocating them, found out they would come out and set humane traps, but they did not relocate them, they killed them. And it would cost around $105.00 for each one. So rather then do that, we took off and drove to West Va for a few days, hoping if they didn't find food here, they would go someplace else looking for food and the neighbors behind us wouldn't complain. Also they are the neighbors who had a big wood pile which attracts raccoons. We've never seen one since, although we have found evidence that one has been in our yard, they sort of use one corner by the privacy fence as their own little toilet. Abe did get some really neat photos of the mother and the babies, she apparently felt safe, she would bring them out in the daytime and they would play around in the backyard. If you go to this blog of Abe's,
http://brookvilledailyphoto.blogspot.com and scroll down to the photo of the raccoon on the right side, and double click, you can see some of the photos he was able to get. They were adorable to watch. In fact we have two photos of the mother framed in our family room. The one where she looks like she's peeking over the window ledge and another where she is walking up the walk from the back of the yard to the house. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Patty said...

P.S. The one photo was when she first started out, she was living in a squirrel box Abe had put on a cedar tree, she looked like she almost had to dislocated her one leg to get in and out of the box. Also most of the photos looks like only three babies, that's because the one was always way ahead of the mother and other babies, but you can see where they are climbing the corner post, there are four of them.

Abe Lincoln said...

Oh well, I was going to comment on this post, Denise but I see my wife beat me to it. LOL

storyteller's other blog said...

WOW ... what a nifty story and photo series. I get up early too, but I'm more likely to happen on an opossum than an raccoon.
Hugs and blessings,

Steve B said...

Why that little bandit! : )

MedaM said...

I enjoyed this story and your interesting photos. :-)

Leora said...

A raccoon! Cool that you caught him with your camera. Sounds like you made a friend.

J said...

A great post - and I very much appreciated your photos as I have never seen a racoon before. why is it bad to feed them?

mommanator said...

now I know how you can get so many posts done!

Kathiesbirds said...

Denise, this is a wonderful story and I am glad you gave him the eggs! I am smiling now too!

Arija said...

This is such a darling post, I can just see those toddlers mesmerised by the feeding raccoons and you too.
Do you have Photo-shop, if so you could pump a little light into the darkness with curves. It works very well, sharpening is also a possibility. I have become addicted to snapping since I got my Nikon and have even learned a few helpful thing on Photo-shop,he he,,

Ebie said...

Denise, first of all, may I say that you have a beautiful new header, I noticed. I have also noticed that you have a passion of little creatures. Sure, that little creature indeed enjoyed the eggs. So while you are burning your midnight candle, make sure some pot is cooking some eggs. And true, it is a little bird on top of the tufa.