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12:23 p.m. - 2006-07-24

Late night escapades

We’ve been experiencing a bit of a heat wave here on the west coast. Temperatures in Victoria have been around the 30+ (Celsius, or high 90’s F) during the day. Our little house is close to 100 years old, and little to know insulation in the walls. This makes for very warm evenings ‘in’ the house so forget about a restful nights sleep.

In an effort to combat the warm T and I have taken up spending the latter part of the evenings (after 9:30 - 10pm) out on our back deck. There the temperatures are much cooler, and between a exercise mat and a lounge chair, we often try to begin sleeping out there and then move in after 1am.

On Saturday night we took our cool drinks, citronella candles, and magazines outside in attempt to cool down. I could hear some odd ‘chattering’ coming from one of the trees alongside the property, and then a defensive “hiss” presumably from our cat Digit. I looked over the railing to see our local Mr. Raccoon running away from Digit and towards said trees.

As I watched this progressed I realized another error in judgment (see the previous entry). Way up in the tree was two baby raccoons. And it wasn’t Mr. Raccoon, but Mrs. Raccoon who had been our visitor. She had begun her night foraging for food and left the babies up in the tree for safety. The chattering that we had heard was obviously Mama giving her baby’s instructions to stay put. We couldn’t see them, but we knew they were there.

The light was fading and I went into the house to get a flashlight.

With the chatting going on it was easy to find the source. I had been thinking that Mr. now Mrs. Raccoon had been a baby themselves, but in fact she was full grown and her two babies could have fit into the palms of your hands put together. She was obviously somewhat desperate to find food, and so after she got over the fright of coming face to face with Digit, and shushed away by us, she had a long chat to her baby’s and began to descend the safety of the tree again.

During her decent she kept shoulder checking on her kin. The two little ones could have cared less that they were 20 feet up in a tree, but there were definitely aware that momma was not at home. They were playing in the Y of two tree branches. Just like little brothers they where wrestling and playfully biting each other. It was a treat to watch.

Behind our house and to the side is a pre-school playground. In the corner that the two pieces of properties butt up too is a play house. On the veranda of this playhouse are a number of wind chimes that the teachers hung up earlier in the year.

Now, I’m not sure who discovered them first, but the babies didn’t stay up in the tree for very long. Just long enough for momma to be out of earshot then they followed her down. One of these three inquisitive fellows discovered the wind chimes, and beautiful tinkling ensued for a good 15 – 20 minutes. We couldn’t see them, but we could sure hear them. There wasn’t a wisp of air movement, so we knew what was making the chimes fill the air with soft melodious sound. After a while the attraction wore off and momma and babies moved on to other exploits.

All in all it made for relaxing, interesting, enjoyable evening. We haven’t seen any signs of the raccoons since then. In part I hope they’ve moved on, but in part I kind of miss their mischievous ways. Well … except for a torn window screen.

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