Sunday May 18, 2003

Living on the Edge of Civilization

Our development backs into a large Open Space area: watershed, animal/bird refuge, national recreation area. We hear coyotes on the ridge some nights; occasionally deer come down into the development. Mostly we get skunks, raccoons, wood rats, and an occasional possum.

On Wednesday night we came in from the hot tub (a wonderful invention; everyone should have one!) about 1am and sat cooling down in the sunroom. I thought I heard a noise outside... maybe a raccoon? Nope. This time it was a skunk, just outside the windows, snuffling for bugs and sunflower seeds and all in the underbrush under the sage. Bebop and Mezzaluna and I watched.

He was almost impossible to see unless he moved;, as it was fairly dark in the bushes. I could have tried the camera with flash or a flashlight but... this was, after all, a _skunk_. I watched him snuffle around, then waddle off for a drink from the lower bird bath and then away beyond where I could see him. I actually like skunks as long as we maintain a polite distance. We have several near us and have had quite a few close encounters, all of them polite and unsmelly.

Last night we had another visitor; this time a raccoon. I knew he was there when a rain of sunflower seeds came down on the sunroom roof. I grabbed a flashlight (raccoons don't mind flashlights) and shone it up toward the feeder. The raccoon hopped (thud!) onto the sunroom roof and walked around, then sat down where we had a great view through the glass.

"Gee" said the raccoon "Shine that light right here, I have a flea. And then I will wash my tail and my paw... move the light a little bit to the left? Thanks."

Mezzaluna was entranced. After a while the raccoon climbed down from the roof, went and had a nice long drink, washed his paws and ambled away through the garden.

I like living in a semi-rural area.

Living on the Edge of Civilization ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Sun, 18 May, 15:15 Pacific | «e»