noideadog: (chimney rabbit)
They caught the raccoon. I guess Julie's squirrel guys came out yesterday, because we got a mail today inviting us to take a look at it before the trappers took it away to (they claim) release it somewhere on Long Island. I'm a little skeptical about this, but it makes me happy to believe that it will have a new life somewhere rural. Where, as someone commented at breakfast, it'll be all culture-shocked by how shops close early, people vote Republican, and there's nowhere to get good espresso. Sorry for the exile, raccoon. (Or sorry for how you just became a hat. Either way.)

The obvious question here is this: are we sure it's the same raccoon? Do they travel in families? We're being paranoid and keeping the cat door locked up for the next few nights.

I'll have more in my life than raccoons soon, I promise. Bear with me.
noideadog: (chimney rabbit)
Raccoon update: it turns out that Julie, our upstairs neighbour, has already hired a trapper to come out next week and deal with "unusually heavy squirrels" stomping around in her ceiling. Raccoon's days may be numbered.

I feel like we're not living perfectly in harmony with nature here. Since we moved in here three years ago, we've had:

* the aforementioned goddamn raccoon

* squirrels. They haven't come into our apartment, but they prance around the garden, kill our plants and terrorise Julie on the top floor. Trappers/roof repair is a regular line item in our co-op's budget. This year we think we've found the hole they use and have been engaging in complex and boring negotiations with our neighbours to fix it or let us on to their roof to do it ourselves. They've finally agreed.

* pigeons. These don't bother us at all, but the upstairs apartments have a running battle with pigeon poop on their windowsills and we have half-assed conversations at yearly intervals about whether we should, like, maybe do something about it? Mostly we don't.

* mice. Some of the other apartments mentioned them, but we didn't see any until we got Alex. He brings us one from time to time, usually dead, but sometimes still wriggling. I tell him he's a good cat when they're already dead, but honestly it would be ok if he left them outside.

* moths. Hey, the previous owner left these nice lacy curtains. We should keep them and use the fabric for something. [time passes]. Ok, bad idea! BAD IDEA!

* termites, maybe. The last time an apartment in here was sold, the surveyor told us there were termites in the boiler room and would we like to hire him (at an unusually good rate!) to remove them. The co-op voted that we would. I still think we got scammed.

* mosquitos. God, they're vicious. The garden was a wilderness when we moved in, and it took months before we'd found all of the pots of manky standing water that the previous owner had apparently set up for mosquito sexy times. It's been better since that first year, but they still get pretty thick in late summer, especially when the figs are falling on the ground and making a little pats of sugar on the ground.

* ants. One invasion in 2010, but we put down some kind of deterrent and they've stayed out since then. There's still a colony in the garden, which is great because ants are great (so long as they stay outside).

* fleas. Oy, that was a rough first summer. We quickly learned about monthly applications of Frontline for outdoor cats in hot weather and it's been fine since then.

* one tick, found dead. I guess the Frontline works.

We've so far been spared rats, roaches, and (fingers crossed, knock on wood, light a candle) bedbugs.

To balance that out, we get tons of little garden birds (mostly sparrows and cardinals), butterflies and bees, and one morning I met an opossum walking down the street, which was pretty cool. And we get fireflies, some years. Fireflies make up for an awful lot.

Joel's folks get skunks, black widow spiders, scorpions, gophers, ground squirrels and rattlesnakes, so I do realise that we get off lightly up here in the soft Northeast :-)
noideadog: (chimney rabbit)
Tanya: "Wauuuughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!"
Joel (from downstairs): "Are you ok?"
Tanya: "THERE'S A RACCOON IN OUR KITCHEN!!!"

Ok, I've now seen a raccoon. It was ENORMOUS and it had NO FEAR WHATSOEVER. Like, I ran at it to make it leave, and it DIDN'T. It turned around and faced me down, and then it left on its own terms. And Joel locked up the cat door just in time for it to change its mind and try to come back in again. When that didn't work, it walked over to the window and started clawing at the window screen with its little hands. We shone a firesword (this is a ridiculously bright flashlight) at it and it wasn't deterred at all; it came back to the cat door and tried hard to break through and get back in. And then -- this is the bit where I just about lost my shit -- it climbed up the fire escape ladder as nimbly as a monkey, presumably to try the windows of the apartment upstairs.

Did I mention that it was enormous? And fearless in a way that animals mostly aren't? We're mildly concerned about rabies and will be keeping the cats in for a while. And we've barricaded and taped closed the cat door, because a little plastic lock is not keeping that thing out.

The other best bit? It wasn't like it had just come in the door: when I met it, it was on its way up the stairs from the bedroom. It must have walked right past where I was coding in the living room, gone through the kitchen, detoured in the bathroom to chew on the toilet paper, then headed downstairs to see what Joel was up to. MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME, RACCOON. DON'T MIND US.

Oh, it's back. It's trying to get in. I'm actually kind of freaked out now.
noideadog: (lucy)
"Here's a funny story", Joel said in my ear, and I was suddenly wide awake and alarmed, because a funny story can mean all manner of things and not all of them are that funny. "No, actually funny", he said, and that helped. "Ok", I said, trying to focus my eyes. "Wha... 7am. Ok."

"The cats were making a lot of noise and in the end I went to put food in their bowls to get them out of the bedroom. So I went upstairs to the kitchen and there was a brown, portly shape with its head in the food bag.".

"The neighbour's cat?"

"It was just a brown blur -- I didn't have my glasses on -- but it looked at me, and it didn't have the face of a cat. So I came back downstairs for my glasses, and when I could see it, it was a raccoon."

"Huh."

"Around twice the size of a cat, but it came and left through the cat door."

"And now it knows that we're where the cat food is?"

"Exactly."

"... That's tricky."

"Yes. I'm going back to sleep now."

"Ok. Me too."

I don't know if I've ever seen a raccoon in real life. Pictures on the internet tell me that they're cute, but they say the same about squirrels and urban squirrels are far from cute. I guess that urban raccoons aren't a thing you want in your kitchen either. It knocked some pillows off the sofa and a bottle of rum off the shelf, so it sounds like it had plenty of time to case the joint before the cats came to tell us about it. Of course I slept through the whole thing, because sleeping through things is one of my most honed skills :-)
noideadog: (links)
If you're on my Google Reader list, you'll notice a theme in what I'm sharing for the next while. This might be what the internet was invented for: a newborn animal blog with pictures of new babies at various zoos and wildlife parks around the world. I've had to force myself to stop reading.

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