This is not the first time I have said this recently, but I haven't said it here. Raccoons scare the bejeezus out of me. I have nightmares about raccoons. I don't like going to the barn or near the trashcans after dark because I know they are just waiting for me. If you are one of the mistaken many who think they are furry, adorable, fish eating little bandits, or who felt sorry for the beasts in Where the Red Fern Grows, listen to this. Raccoons are a rabies vector, they have sharp teeth and claws, and when caged or cornered they can hiss like pressurized steam escaping from hell. I would simply prefer to avoid any dealings with them. I don't even want them in stew.
So last night, I didn't make it out to close up the chicken coop until after dark. Can you see where this is going? I'll allay some fears now -- the chickens are fine. I went into the barn, the poorly lit barn, to get a scoop of food for the ladies, lifted the weight off of the chicken food and scooted the lid aside, just enough to get the bucket in. Simultaneously I leaped eight feet in the air, shrieked "Oh damn!" and somehow managed to land about 30 feet away from the barn, hitting the ground at a dead run. But, I didn't poop my pants. There were two adult raccoons curled up together inside the closed chicken food bin. Just taking a cozy nap. They had zero interest in moving (really, if I were napping on a pile of cookies, I probably wouldn't move very fast either). I just stood there, outside the circle of the motion sensor lights, watching, waiting, and preparing to run even faster if necessary, and they very slowly peeked up over the edge, then one took off. Leaving one in the bin. This is when I thought, "Oh crap, there's babies." So I crept back to the barn, dreading the attack that would surely result from angering a mama coon. Fortunately, I was wrong. The second critter dove out and scurried away into the dark recesses of the barn, knocking things over and upsetting the chickens with the racket. The good news is there were no raccoons in the feed today when I checked. The bad news is there is a displaced raccoon lurking in the barn, just waiting for the right time to get back in the bin, and I bet next time she brings the family. Gotta go, it's almost dark and I've got to close up the hen house...
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