Friday, May 31, 2013

Things That Go Bump In the Night

Last night I awoke at about 3:00 am, only to find Bill already awake. "I heard some noises outside, but I couldn't determine where they were coming from," he said.  Always up for a challenge (well, not really, but I was up  - that counts, right?) I decided to go investigate.

First stop - the bathroom. The window overlooks our deck, so it's always a good place to start. I close the door quietly, leave the light off, and gently pull the blinds up. AHA! Smack in the middle of my view is a youngish-looking raccoon, hurriedly rushing across the top of the railing. I don't think he knew he'd been caught yet, because he hopped down on the deck floor and headed towards me and the window.

"Bill - come see this!" I shout excitedly (maybe a little too loud) and he rushes in, iPad in hand (yes, it's still 3 am, by the way). I point to the window, but of course by now the raccoon has slipped from view, and Bill has come precariously close to dropping his iPad into the open toilet bowl. He catches it just in time - crisis averted! Not enough excitement to keep him occupied, however, he heads back to sleep, but not before saying we should do something to scare the raccoon away. 

I take up the gauntlet, head to the back door, and raccoon still milling about, I proceed to rattle the screen door as loudly as possible. This startles the raccoon greatly (and probably all my neighbors within a mile radius too) and it quickly scampers away down the steps and into oblivion.

I turn around and head towards the kitchen window to see if I can catch a fleeting glimpse of it (literally moments later); instead, there now sits our neighbor's cat in the driveway, totally relaxed and looking back at me, right in the path of where the raccoon just scampered! And I always thought that cat was shacking up with the groundhog; now it appears he's hanging out with the raccoons, too!

The scene of the crime the morning after . . .
 A few hours later in bright daylight heading out the door to work, I see the full effect of the night's events. Seems the raccoon had pulled down one of my birdhouses and proceeded to do terrible things (that explains all the ruckus Bill was hearing). So now, one of this weekend's chores will be to hang the birdhouse somewhere less raccoon-accessible.

We should be thankful it was just a raccoon; I had read an article that same night about how bears now number in the hundreds in Connecticut. That's all we need, a bear on the back porch! We've had about everything else, so it's probably only a matter of time. I can just see it now, Monty the Cat riding bareback on some grizzly through my vegetable garden. UGHHHH!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

YAY! The Fence is Done!!!!

The groundhog fence is up . . .
In the last few weeks, we finally finished installing the fence around our vegetable garden, finished adding the mowing strip pavers, and completed the mulch pathways which fill in the interior of the plot. There were a lot of stones encountered along the way; I have them piled up around the edges for now, but I think I may have other plans for them. Plus, installing these pavers was the equivalent of doing four hours' worth of chair-squats, so needless to say, I was walking a bit funny the week after they went in (ouch)!

We now have an awfully nice garden gate too, thanks to my husband Bill's fabulous handiwork. It is lined with chicken wire to keep out our little furry friends:
. . . and the gate is doing it's job!
And if you look closely to the picture above, you can see baby kale and collard plants in the raised bed - our first crop to christen the newly-upgraded garden!

I'm thinking of painting the gate and posts a dark green, mainly because we opted for non pressure-treated posts (due to possible chemical leaching into the ground). Going au naturale will for certain shorten the lifespan of these components. Painting them will afford a bit more protection than leaving them unfinished, and also make them blend in more with the surrounding fence and flora. Or maybe staining them, or maybe painting them a contrasting color . . . as you can see, I'm still on the fence (ha ha) with this decision.

In the end, this was a bigger project than I think either of us thought it would be. But we were fortunate in that we planned fairly well, measuring and buying just enough materials to complete our project (through sheer luck, the wire fence spool was literally the exact amount needed to completely enclose the plot).

And (of course), we haven't seen that groundhog since we first broke ground some weeks back. But I have no doubt that he will return the moment I forget to close the gate. So I suppose it was all worth it in the end . . . and I'm not talking about the chair squats, either!