With the rain moving off to other areas, the sun came out this last weekend and I knew it was time. Time for the Yearly Lawn Wars to begin. I put on my lawn outfit - Pith Helmet, old tee shirt, jeans and a pair of old tennis shoes covered in duck tape. (Duck Tape, the wonder material!) and threw open the doors to the storage shed!
The first thing I had to do was move a lot of the junk which had accumulated over the winter. So after I chased out a few bees, I started moving boxes, buckets and accumulated junk off the mower and out of the way so I had a clear path to roll the mower out into the sun. While I was doing that, I heard a noise behind me. No big deal, as we have a cat which lives in our backyard and spends a lot of time in the shed. Please, no letters about how much better she would be inside, she just enjoys her outdoors. She's got a house which is kept warm and she's got her own food and water. So, I fully expected to find her climbing out from behind the boxes, headed for the upper shelf where i have a bed for her. What I came face to face with scared the crap out of me.
It was a raccoon. A big Raccoon. Bigger than any raccoon I had ever come face to face with (and that means none.) My mind, of course screamed "Mutant Raccoon!" I reacted like I had sat on a live electric wire and in less than a second I was already moving out the shed's double doors my feet barely touching the ground. (Another good reason to have moved all that junk!)
Raccoons can be quite dangerous. They've got sharp teeth and claws on the end of their paws that are so dexterous they can pick a lock. And they're fast, crazy mad-cat fast. They can rip you up in no time flat. I have to admit as soon as I had begun to run, I laughed loud and long at my own reaction. Most Southern Men would have looked at that critter and thought LUNCH! Me, I was scared. At least I didn't scream. (One of my daughters suggested that I DID scream like a little girl, but to be honest, my throat seized up and I didn't do much but run!)
Once I was out in the open and safe, I could see the raccoon had fled, up and out the vent in the back of the shed. That's not really him in the picture above, but an incredible life-like simulation! The real one didn't seem near as cuddly as my computer enhanced effort. If you look toward the top, you can also see that the raccoon had taken out the vent cover and now there is just a big square hole in the side of the shed; to which, of course I said many words I cannot repeat here. Well, I could repeat them, but I choose not to.
The anticlimax to it all: the mower started on the second pull of the rope. I did the whole yard front and back on easily the coolest of days for mowing. I knew it was going to rain this week and am glad I got in a day of mowing if for no other reason than to keep the neighbors from scowling at my yard as they pass.
The day ended with me putting up some hardware cloth to keep out the forest rodents.
Life in the south is never dull, that is for sure.