The pesky raccoons are still enjoying a nightly snack of cat food, despite the fact that we've rigged a protective wire barrier around the food dish. It slows them down. But the brazen critters have gone so far as to use the water dish to wash their food/paws.
We've been stalking them for what -- two years? Three years? We bring the food in at dark most nights, bringing it back out and allowing the outside kitties a bedtime snack but under our watchful eyes. But if we're gone at dusk or forget, the masked bandit waste no time.
The latest one is smaller and younger than the huge old boar that was frequenting the Maxey diner last winter, and tonight I watched him stand up and look around, clearly unsettled. But his desire for easy chow overcame his caution, and he was behind the wire when Tony came charging out of the door, shotgun in hand.
Oh, he took off then and rounded the corner, Tony right behind him, and then just disappeared. We shined lights into all the nearby trees: nothing. It was breezeless and still; we heard zip. We don't know what happens when he goes around the corner, but if he was in a tree, he was high and hugging tight.
The wire barrier has deterred the deer from coming up on the porch, but not the others. I worry that one of the cats -- probably Weasley, the protector -- will confront a raccoon and get injured, although we have seen Weasley hustle one of them away from the house. Still, they can be so fierce.
I'm sure that in the raccoon den, the old boar tells the youngsters the story of the strange humans, and how funny they look when the man comes charging out of the front door carrying a flashlight and a shotgun. Or how it's a great laugh when the woman flies out of the door, barking like a giant Rottweiler while the man is waiting for a shot on the side stoop, and how the old 'coon foils them all by going around the OTHER side of the house, laughing all the way with a full tummy.
One of these days, Mr. Raccoon. One of these days....