Adventures in Farming II:
The Gluten Free Cookie and the Raccoon
Tracks & Evidence
“We’ve got raccoons.”
“In the barn.”
“Oh. Whew – I thought you meant here, at home.”
(Thank God they’re there, not here.)
“How do you know?”
“’Coon Trapper Guy saw tracks.”
“You had a “’coon trapper guy” out at the farm?”
“No, actually, it was the fence guy. He just knows a lot about raccoons.”
“In the loft part? Are they living in the hay?”
The KIDS AND I were up in that very same loft just a few days ago! We were innocently mucking about in and around the barn loft, kicking hay and just plain being noisy and rambunctious. This bad boy was probably thinking: “Shut UP all you noisy freaks! I’m trying to sleep here!”
“How’re you going to get rid of them?”
Option 1: Some sell the hides – they’re apparently worth $10 a piece. (YUK – delete option one. Really? People do this?)
Option 2: Shoot them and let the vultures and Mother Nature take care of the rest. (Not an option.)
Option 3: Do nothing. They’ve lived there for years already. (Nope. Can’t do that either. Kids are now spending time at the farm, no way.)
Option 4: Live traps. (I can live with this option.)
“I’ve looked into live traps, but to do it successfully they need to go at least 10 miles away or they find their way back.”
“Holy crap. Ten miles? They DO? Wow! Where will you take it if you catch one? What if it has family or babies? Wherever they go, they all have to go to the same place, even if you only catch one at a time.”
“I know… I know…” There was some eye rolling, but agreements were made.
The concern for the welfare of the raccoons’ future lives had at this point in the conversation superseded our own.
Two traps were found: one negotiated ½ price off Craig’s List (yay) and the other a larger free borrowed one (yay squared).
Sardines were bought and set in the traps.
We checked the traps.
One was sprung, but nobody was home. Smart little critters didn’t get caught – but they didn’t get the sardines either…
We checked. And waited. Repeatedly.
The Gluten Free Cookie
One day on a whim, Scott spared one of his favorite oreo style gluten free cookies and placed it in the trap so the crinkly foil was just next to the sardines – and not reachable from the side of the cage. You had to go IN to the cage to get it.
The next day there was a giant raccoon inside.
Who knew raccoons liked gluten free cookies?
This raccoon seemed to be part mammal, part bear. It was massive – and sound asleep. Scott checked it out and guessed it weighed more than Ben – or over 50 pounds.
The sleeping bear didn’t stay alseep long enough though, unfortunately. Once it did discover Scott it woke up in a hurry.
And wanted nothing to do with being caught.
Hands were feverishly fumbling about the lock, thrashing at the release lever all the while reaching for nearby sticks to use as weapons. This guy was smart! (Holy Crap.)
Can you imagine going down a rung wall ladder, holding on a ladder with one hand and in the other a 50 pound thrashing animal with fangs and long claws reaching out to slit your skin and get your undivided attention?
This was not an easy task.
When was your last tetanus shot?
Video would be highly entertaining, but alas, and probably luckily for everyone involved, none is available. This time.
Honestly, dropping the thrashing wild beast would have been tempting, to say the least.
Bye, Bye Rocky
Rocky (Uncle Carl named it) was well taken care of, with an entire can of sardines, lovingly deposited, very much alive, in a wooded area 12+ miles away. Probably inadvertently near some one else’s farm. Not ours. Sorry guys.
Traps have been set.
More sardines. More waiting. More cookies might just be in order…
Should we catch anyone else, we know right where to take them: the woods near the hay, 12 miles away.
Next time, though, we’re going to film it.