Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.



Smoke from California wildfires is back again. This is the sun in the late afternoon.

Hours later, I saw the full moon rise, looking just as red.

I didn’t know whether to open or close the sliding glass door for the night, but decided on a compromise, half open.

Once the moon was gone, the household was asleep in pitch dark. Emma’s sudden sharp barking had me leaping out of bed. After shushing her, I stood by the open deck door, listening. Scritchety-scratch, scrabbling came from the nearby fir trees. I got the flashlight out and discovered the prowlers. Two of them!

They weren’t shy. I know they’ve been here before. This time they were after the hazelnuts that Lincoln hadn’t managed to steal yet. The Captain held the light while I snapped the picture.

In the morning I found new holes dug in the grass. I felt guilty about having accused the rabbits of making those holes a few weeks ago, but maybe they were all guilty of having digging parties. Not sure what they were digging for, but they could get jobs on an open-pit mine site.


Night Prowlers

On the BC coast, if you have trees around, you’ll have raccoons. About three years ago, this fellow and his friends visited our yard and I managed to snap some pictures. It was easy enough to do in the daytime. But it’s the nighttime when these guys are most active. We hear them snapping and snarling and scrambling up and down the trees. Since I don’t have chickens, I don’t mind the raccoons being around too much, as long as they don’t interact with my dogs. I hadn’t seen any raccoons around for a while and had forgotten all about them until a couple of nights ago.


I was in bed, almost asleep at about 11:30 p.m., when the room got a little bit brighter. I got up to find the source of the light. It was outside – the perimeter light on our workshop. Someone or something had walked by near the workshop and made the light come on.  I shone a flashlight around the yard and there he was. He had his mask on and was prowling around the backyard looking for trouble.

I ran for the camera while the Captain held the light on a second bandit who was climbing a tree not far from the back deck. I snapped a picture but it didn’t come out very well. The spotlight was too bright. The gray thing to the left of the raccoon is the utility trailer hitch, messing up the picture even more.

Anyway, we now know what has been causing our light to come on in the yard. I’ll be careful not to let the dogs out at night without a leash. Wouldn’t want them to tangle with one of these guys. They can be quite vicious when cornered.



A Party, You Say?

Yes, wake up Mr.Raccoon. It’s Canada’s 150th birthday party. Imagine! 150 years!

But I’m so cozy up in the crook of this big tree. Will I have to come down to join the party? I saw a dog down there on the ground.

C’mon down, Rocky. We can play party games.

Don’t worry about Emma. She can’t climb. You can watch the celebrations from the safety of your tree. Just enjoy the wonders of living in this great country. Smile, be happy, be grateful.

Well, if you put it that way, of course. I can have my own little party up here in the tree. Plenty of room on this raccoon tree rest. So let’s get the party rolling. Sorry, Emma. I don’t like playing tag with dogs, but would ya bring me a beer, eh? And Happy Canada Day!



Let them eat cake

Is this what they meant by “Little House on the Prairie”? Maybe this house is just a bit too little.


Credit where credit is due, this photo was taken by the Captain with his little Fujipix. Photography is not his number one passion so I was surprised at the sky condition and general composition he captured.

We started to wonder about the little house. It has two windows and a door, so maybe someone, like a farmhand, might have lived in it temporarily. But maybe its main purpose was something else. I’ll never know the answer.

The present owner thinks it might date to around the 1930s. He said the previous owner used to put cake in it. We were a bit confused about that until we asked more about the cake. Apparently cake is what they call the pellets that are used to supplement the cattle feed in the winter.


He said that when he was younger, raccoons used to visit this little house to eat the “cake” and then sleep in the attic. There was a small square cut out of the attic for access and it was a scary moment when the young fellow and his friends dared each other to stick their head up into the attic.

One thing I know for sure about this little house, is that the prevailing wind comes from the west.


They’re Coming out of the Woodwork

The day after the bandidos visited and were treed by our dogs, I thought calm was restored in the neighbourhood, but it was not to be. Emma, the self-appointed yard supervisor, gave a few barks and stopped. I looked out the window and saw nothing. No one that needed barking at was passing by the house. I went back to my work. She barked again. I looked again. She doesn’t bark just for the fun of barking. She knows that’s not allowed. After the fourth time, I went outside to see what was up.

She caught my attention and then ran to the side of the yard and sat by the fence, looking up, as if she had something to show me. (Reminded me of Lassie trying to tell her owners that Timmy fell down the well.)

Ruby, her assistant supervisor, also sat by the fence and looked up. I couldn’t see anything, and they turned to me with a desperate pleading look before pointing their noses back up into the forest above us. So I did a CSI thing. I followed the path of their line of sight and it led me straight to a huge fir tree in the neighbours’ yard. At first I saw nothing, but then a furry creature moved.


They’re ba-a-ack! But only one this time.


This was not one of the two who were up a tree the day before. If you go back to compare this one to the raccoons on the “Bandidos” post, you’ll see that one of the original bandidos had a tattered right ear and a gash on the left side of his lip.His buddy had a milky right eye.  The lone raccoon pictured here has none of those identifying marks. He has a piece missing out of his left ear, and a gash on the right side of his lip. So there are at least three of the critters in the area just now.


It seems that they’re coming out of the woodwork. I’m glad we don’t have chickens.



A couple of nights ago, the perimeter light came on outside our bedroom at 5 a.m. I leaped out of bed and peeked out the window. A raccoon was hurrying across the lawn to the safety of the hedge and climbed the fence. No time for me to get the camera. In about three seconds, the show was over.

But it seems that the masked bandit and his wife have moved into the area and, although they’re mostly nocturnal, they were caught out in broad daylight by the backyard supervisors, Ruby and Emma, who promptly chased the intruders up the nearest tree.002a

“Just come up here and say that,” he taunts Emma. But then things get a little too busy when Anneli comes out with the camera and it’s time to put some distance between himself and the people and their dogs.015a

“What?! You’re still there? Can’t a raccoon have a little privacy?” He looks down to a lower branch. ” Are you okay down there, dear?” he calls to his wife.


“I’m just lying low, pretending I’m not here,” she says.


I have mixed feelings about the raccoons. They look really cute and they eat those beetle larvae that I hate so much, and I don’t care if they dig up the lawn to get at them.

Beetle larvae



But they are also nest robbers, and that breaks my heart.


Sadder still, is the cruelty of nature. The raccoons are often heard screeching and fighting ferociously with each other at this time of year (probably over a girl), and it looks like these two have both had bad luck. If you go back and look more closely you’ll see that they each have injuries. The first one (top of the page) has a gash on the left side of his jaw and a piece of his ear missing, and his wife (I think that’s a female) is blind in the one eye that is visible. I’m hoping the other eye is okay.

I wish I could help them feel better, but it’s not easy for people to interfere in a good way.