Raccoons in the Barn

Animals are getting up and moving around more now and we definitely have at least one hefty raccoon in our vicinity! Joe has seen/heard it ruffling around in the barn and a few days ago I went into my chicken coop to discover something had knocked open my window.  There was an old broken glass window in there for awhile and last summer I ripped it out and replaced it with just some heavy wire mesh so the chickens could get some airflow but would be protected from animals getting in.  I used a staple gun and stapled it like crazy to the wall thinking that it would hold. It made it all last summer and up until a few days ago when I went in and found something had knocked it down into the chicken coop.  That’s why I imagine our raccoon friend is pretty hefty for him to have done that because I don’t think he reached in and yanked out all the staples one by one.  So I nailed it back up more securely and as far as I can tell (I keep forgetting to count) nobody was injured or taken by the raccoon.   But still, we don’t want to make a habit of letting a raccoon wander around in our chicken coop, or give him the idea that he can wander around whenever he feels like it.  Some places are off limits to raccoons.

So this morning while it was still pretty dark out Cora started barking at something from the sunroom, which faces the chicken coop, but I just got up quick and kicked her out and shut the door because I didn’t want her to wake James up.  His room is the closest to Cora’s sunroom and his door was wide open, but somehow he slept through her barking.  When Cora and I went outside for our walk this morning we found a ton of dirty, muddy raccoon prints all over! Making several trips from the barn, across our driveway, and around the side of the chicken coop…presumably to the back window to check it out!  I was worried when I saw all his prints because I hadn’t even heard the rooster crow yet but when I went to check it out, big shovel and camera in hand, I found the chickens just taking a lazy day and relaxing inside with the window still intact.  So he might have scoped it out a few times but he hasn’t made it inside again.  Apparently he is very persistent though so we’ll see…if I remember I will put my trail cam out, but I keep forgetting!

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A little hard to see in this picture but you can see a path he wore around the side of the building.  The top of the snow is also covered in tons of his muddy little paw prints.

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Proof of his raccoon self walking around.  These are from near the barn though where he took a detour and climbed a big snow bank just for fun.

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The raccoons preferred entry way into the barn…right through the door where he can go upstairs to his house or scuffle through downstairs looking for anything interesting!

Today James got up before 7 and was ready to play, but otherwise we are having kind of a lazy morning.  Now it’s just about 10 and we are all awake but most of us are lounging in the living room.  There is laundry going and James is playing with his jumper.  Joe and I are going to have corned beef hash for breakfast and watch the third Formula One race of the season at 10:30.  James is way overdue for a nap but he fell asleep in my arms at 8:30 and when I laid him down he woke up and was perfectly happy to keep going (going as in playing, not going as in going back to sleep like he was supposed to!)… so I imagine he will be ready for a nap at some point here but for now he is keeping us company!

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James in his jumper.  He has grown so much! He is already on the third notch up! It’s maybe a bit tall for him, but the second notch was getting too short!  J has since had a total outfit change and I paused in my blog writing so he is now taking his nap!

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Above: Pinga and Cora.  Pinga decided last week that she was going to come downstairs on her own for breakfast and she never left!  She has come downstairs on her own maybe twice in the past few years and the other time was because roofers scared her when they were doing our roof last fall.  So it was a big step for her! And she has been using the litter box, going into the living room, kitchen, laundry room, mudroom and basement, standing up to the dog… and enjoying being by us more often.  She is a totally different cat all of a sudden!

Below:  Ocean snoozing on some blankets on our loom. Ocean has always gone up and downstairs, even with Chloe and Cora around, but the past few weeks her chosen spots have been on the loom or on the warm cable box… unless Joe is home and then sometimes she wants to sleep on him.

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And finally Chloe who was the odd one out this morning.  She really likes sleeping on suitcases so she took the opportunity this morning to sleep on Joe’s suitcase that is still out from his trip last week.  Now though she is currently in the kitchen in front of the stove hoping some corned beef hash falls out of the pan so she can eat it 🙂

CSA Share #5/Trail Cam Baby Buck

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Our newest CSA share includes:

  • Tomatoes
  • Radicchio
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Purple striped beans
  • Kohlrabi’
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Onions

(Pineapple not included!)

This evening Joe is actually making us homemade pizza with some of the basil.  I will try to get a photo of that since I’ve been bad about getting pictures but he has been feeding us very well!  A few days ago he made us homemade pork egg rolls and homemade fried rice, and Saturday night he made us boiled potatoes and crab legs (I love crab legs!), and another night we had scallops… which aren’t always my favourite but they were good, even I ate them…and lots of other tasty food in the past few weeks that I haven’t shared.  I think the pizza tonight will be good too… it looks good so far!

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In other news, last week there was some poop outside that we didn’t know where it came from.  I thought it was maybe a bear, but in looking online tonight with Joe…we kind of think it was maybe just raccoon… which is pretty lame.  But I put my trail cam out the other night just in case I got some good pictures and I think I will put it back out tonight in a different spot to see if I get anything different.

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This time all there was was a little young buck with baby size horns on his head wandering around in the grass near Buddy’s grave (the tuft of grass in the middle there) and our fire pit/fire wood pile.  It was actually around 9:15 this morning since my camera is a bit off (I fixed it now so next time it will be good)… not sure what he was doing wandering in the middle of the day but it looks like he had a nice time.

 

Trail Cam Pictures: Crows, Doves, Squirrels, Raccoons, Cats and more!

Well I put the trail cam out a few days ago, brought it in this afternoon, and discovered I had taken roughly 1600 pictures!  I deleted some of the bad ones, and should definitely sort through them even more… but man did we have a lot of activity!

My biggest discovery was that now that spring has arrived animals have either flown back (crows) or woken up from hibernation (racoons) and I am now feeding several varieties of animals from my cat food feeder instead of just the barn cats like I’d prefer!  I don’t mind feeding the other animals, but especially the raccoons… I don’t want to get rid of them, but I don’t necessarily want to encourage them to move into my barn either!

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A nice big crow coming in for a snack of cat food.  Don’t mind the trash.  It’s technically our trash but we didn’t put it there in the barn, we bought it that way and in 4 years have yet to clean out the barn.  I’m much less likely now after realizing there are probably bats, and maybe raccoons living in it! They can have it!

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The crow only stayed to eat for a few minutes.  They also get food from the bird feeder!

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Then there was a slump in activity for a couple days, although my camera did tip over at some point because I had propped against snow that melted so it could have been that time when it was aimed at the ground.

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Here is our fat raccoon friend.  Lovely.  We saw the first photos of him waddling in and he is very large!

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And unfortunately protective of his food spot.  I just hope I never walk the dog when it is out there.  I think it may be about time to stop feeding for the spring although I don’t want to leave our barn cat high and dry until it’s really summer and he can catch lots of mice or squirrels etc.  The raccoon stuck around for several hours snacking and finally left just before 5am.

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Not sure if barn cat was trying to eat earlier and the raccoon scared him off or if he just happened to show up about an hour after the raccoon left. I’d prefer it if the raccoon did not harm (or bite!) my barn cat.  I don’t know if they would do that, but it was showing it’s teeth in a handful of photos. Awesome.

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At least barn cat got some breakfast!  He is also the culprit who keeps tipping over my feeder! At first I thought it was the crow and then the raccoon, but we have proof in pictures of barn cat clumsily walking past it and tipping it over 🙂

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And then an hour later Cora and I were outside, although I do not remember taking her out at 6:53 in the morning so I think the time is an hour off and it was probably 7:53 and still a little bit dark in the barn door so it used the nighttime camera.  I never did change it with the time change, so I’m sure that’s what happened!

Then this morning I took the trail came over to the bird feeder and propped it up over there and we had a steady stream of animals come through all day. Several grey squirrels, a black squirrel, a feisty red squirrel, crows came several times, chickadees and/or sparrows -whatever they are, little red poles and morning doves.  At one point there were probably close to 50 red poles sitting in our lilac bush outside above the camera, I tried to get a photo of them from inside the house but they ended up moving.  I’ve never seen so many little birds in a flock like that outside our window! It was pretty neat!  I need more feeders for next year!

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Most of our photos were of squirrels because it takes a photo every 30 seconds and the squirrels hung around for a long time but we got some nice ones of the other birds etc. too!

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These two come from inside the house.  The little birds got spooked from the lilac bush and some of them swarmed up into the trees up by the power lines.  It’s not nearly as cool as when the huge bunch of them were in the bush but you can see tons of little dots up there that are all the birds.  Below you can see two grey squirrels on the left and a little red squirrel on the right.  The red guy did not want to share and kept chasing the grey’s off.  Finally he gave up, I think he did get some food, but the grey’s didn’t let him eat alone!

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In other news today, it’s still snowing as I type.  Perfect! We may as well just skip spring and summer at this point and go right to next winter!  I’m pretty tired of snow, cold, hats, mittens, boots, long sleeves all the time etc.  It’s getting old.  I know I still have months before we hit summer dresses and pasta salad, but I could be content with middle weather for awhile… like jacket and capri pants, or even chilly but the lilac bush is blooming, or even the trail is muddy, but still walkable weather! Anything… but this.  Tomorrow I will post another weekly update with some new photos from around the house!  Joe cooked us shrimp risotto earlier in the week, and as I type he is in the kitchen cooking us squid risotto…yea.. squid. We’ll see how that tastes, I am skeptical and have already asked for less squid and more risotto… but I will try it! He is not serving the head or tentacles etc. Stay tuned for that tomorrow…