Snips and Snails and Raccoon Tails


[ Cleaning up the  mess ]

July 16 – Several weeks ago now we discovered when we got up in the early morning that we had had an intruder locked in our garage overnight. A lot of items on my work bench had been knocked onto the floor, a box of many old worn-out AA batteries was upside down on the floor and the contents strewn all over the place, and I blamed an opossum. But then I noticed that two of the three white plastic window blinds had been shredded and knew that instead it had been a raccoon, trying to find an escape route. So I had a lot of tidying-up to do and had to buy new blinds and install them.

Around the same time we had an issue with our garage door not wanting to close. Pushing the remote-control button in our vehicles would open the door but to close it we had to push the big button in the garage and hold it down until the door was closed. That meant that when we drove away to somewhere, someone had to close the door from inside and then go out the front door and join the vehicle in the driveway. I got out our instruction manual but was not mechanical enough to figure out what to do.

garage door after possum chewed the wire

[ No thanks to the raccoon! ]

I finally phoned our serviceman and told him we needed some help! After we told him our problem, he said that usually such problems indicated that the two little green lights at the base of the door were out of line somehow and that if I could get them back in order I could save a service call. Away I went to check them out, with Chris right behind me. While I checked the far light, Chris was looking at the closer one and noticed that the wire from above seemed to be disconnected from the light. Sure enough, it was, and the wire had been chewed badly in several places. That raccoon must have been desperate!

So out came a number of tools – wire-cutter, pliers, electric light on a cable, insulation tape, knife, and something soft to kneel on. The job was not easy, for that wire was different from most and difficult to remove the insulation from. I struggled for a long time and ended up with barely enough good wire to fill in the gap. Finally things looked good and Chris pushed the door-closer button above – and down came that door just as it used to. Raccoon, may the coyotes chase you up a tree tonight!


[ Visiting turkeys ]

There is a small turkey population around here and some mornings early we have seen a turkey or two in the back yard. We have a friend in Pennsylvania who has befriended a flock of turkeys and they don’t seem much afraid of her anymore. Perhaps I should put out some dry corn kernels next to our bird feeder and see if turkeys will start coming to eat them and maybe stay around a little while. But possibly our resident squirrels will find that tempting and eat it first.

And speaking of bird, I was surprised the other day to find a baby Carolina wren out by our barn, and then another one inside the barn, on the floor. This was the third year we have had them nesting in our barn, which they enter via a gap under the door.


[ Trusty trash barrel ]

Yesterday I had brought out a barrel of trash paper to throw in the burning barrel. When I lifted the lid, I was surprised to see a baby bird flapping around inside, and wondered what it was doing in there. And then another even smaller one started hopping around. More Carolina wrens, which usually seem to come in fours from the nest.

Earlier I had tossed a bundle of grass from the barn into the burning barrel, and now I realized that it was a nest. I got out those two little birds and sent them hopping over the lawn and a parent shortly flew down to inspect them, so I guess they were taken care of, for they had soon disappeared. Lucky for them that I discovered them before dumping in the trash paper to be burned. The call of the Carolina wren is “Teacher, teacher, teacher”, which we have been hearing a lot around here lately.

Well, we shall wait to see what creature shows up next! In the meantime, have a good time, everybody. – DALE

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