I did not take photos. The activities in question wouldn’t be suitable for a general readership blog.
I found out about the party at 9:30 when the noises of festivity in the street reached upstairs where I sat reading. The dogs did not react until I ran downstairs, grabbed a flashlight, and dodged around them to reach the front door, at which time they helpfully began barking to let me know that something interesting was going on. Imagine their misery, especially party guy Miró’s, when I stuffed them back inside as I closed the door after me.
The sounds were a screeching and a skittering, a growling and chattering, accompanied by dogs’ barking from the two houses in the neighborhood where dogs are left outside at all hours and in all weather. You know the word for that: neglect.
Without the unearthly wailing that cats make, the culprits had to be raccoons. My flashlight located them in the driveway next door, just on the other side of the fence and line of trees that border my yard. Suddenly stilled, four golden eyes reflected the light. They had not been fighting. I hadn’t known raccoon jollies were so noisy.
I really, really didn’t like the idea of there being more of these vicious animals in the area, but there was nothing I could do. Returning to my front porch, I heard the noises resume, followed by a crash and clatter that meant they’d overturned the garbage cans, a noise that finally prompted the householders to open their door.
I don’t know how far raccoons travel, if they live in that neighbor’s yard or if they just use the driveway as part of their freeway system, but I’ve seen raccoons on that property several times before. Each time I worry that the raccoons will climb the fence into my yard and get at the chickens or be here when the dogs are out, an equally bad scenario. Like any thief, a determined raccoon will break in; the best you can do is set up deterrents to make them feel that breaking in isn’t worth the bother. Note to self: encourage dogs to pee along the fence line.