I think most of us, if not all, have had days when we feel a little unsteady, emotionally speaking, and rage is brewing in our core. Perhaps we’ve had to call Bell Canada or Revenue Canada or maybe we’ve listened to just one too many commercial vehicles backing up and if we listen to one more beep-beep-beep we might just break wide open. I’m hoping you can identify with that feeling, and if you can, hold that thought.
You know how I like to remind myself that we share the outdoors with wildlife and must be ever respectful of their shrinking habitat. It’s an honourable position I credit myself with. Well, my honourable position took a significant hit a few nights ago. Shortly after midnight on the first evening, Gracie took up barking at the door. Gracie doesn’t bark so I knew it had to be something serious. I ran out to the porch and gazed into the face of a large raccoon as he was trying to squeeze through the slats of my screen door after he had successfully ripped off all the screening. I shouted at him, and he retreated. I barricaded the hole with whatever I could find and went back to bed. The next day I repaired the screen door and readied it for winter as we edge closer to porch-closing-in weather. I felt smug, confident. The next night, a ruckus broke out on my porch. I rushed from my bed and turned on the light and there was what science calls a nursery of raccoons, a much too gentle term. It looked more like a drunken brawl to me as two well-fed over-sized raccoons were engaged in a serious rumble, each of them trying to scream louder than the other. Perhaps they were debating their position on the upcoming election and things got physical. My dog wanted at them. I was able to keep her behind me as I shouted obscenities at the raccoons. One escaped through a hole he had obviously created in the screen to get in and the second decided to create a whole new exit strategy, his claws slicing easily through my screening. I barricaded the holes with this and that. It didn’t work. They continued to come in and out of the porch all night long, engaging in discord and spreading their excrement from one end of the porch to the other.
I scrubbed the porch the next day with a bleach solution to erase any possible hint of pet food that might have lingered from who knows when. There is no food or garbage of any kind on my porch so I’m not sure what attracted said raccoons in the first place. A significant amount of their forest has been claimed by the recent development in my area. Perhaps this is the raccoons’ way of getting even. I wouldn’t blame them, but though I understand their plight, I was considering bludgeoning them to death with a shovel.
My next tactic was to board up the lower portion of my porch wall to keep them from getting to the edge of the screen and tearing it up. I left a two-inch space between the boards so the air could continue to flow through. It didn’t work. All I did was create a ladder for them to climb to tear the screen apart even higher up. I wasn’t winning any battles not to mention the war. I removed my recent installation and re-installed the boards with one board abutting against the next, continuing up four feet. Above, I placed a heavy-duty hardware cloth. I call it the Great Wall of Wendi. It kinda looks like a fort of some kind that my ancestors may have erected for survival. I’m not sure the aesthetics of my creation would make Better Homes and Gardens. In fact, I’m quite sure it wouldn’t. But I have had two nights now without raccoons wreaking havoc on my porch.
My porch has a certain cave-like ambiance to it now, but in this moment, I don’t mind. I stuck my tongue out at the eyes peering from the ditch on my walk with Gracie last night and went so far as to say na-na-na-na-na. That may have been bad karma. So far, they haven’t engaged in further incursions, though they may be planning their next offensive. Fingers crossed I have won the war.