Up Late with the Raccoons

I’m awake and it’s late. I’m waiting for them to come back with their little squeaks to each other. I’ll be laying in bed half asleep and hear them with my semi-conscious mind and then I can’t sleep. They’re coming to rip up my plants. They’re raccoons.

They invaded last summer when it got really dry. The condensation exhaust pipe from our air conditioner provided them with some water.  I’d be willing to live and let live, except they didn’t. They ripped up my plants so much that some plants are still recovering.

Then a week or so ago I saw the evidence again. The birdbath on the ground full of greenery had been pawed through and the turtle toppled from all the rooting around, garden markers bent in odd directions, and a few plants trampled:

I’ve tried cayenne pepper. I’ve tried fox and coyote urine granules. I’ve tried guard flamingos. This year I’m trying country music and a dog dish for them to drink from. Nothing seems to keep them from wrecking things. It’s pretty frustrating.

On the plus side, I found a great plan B for the next time I can’t get enough blackberries from Patchwork. I decided that it just wouldn’t be right not to have blackberries in my freezer, so I followed someone’s recommendation and went to Fairview Orchard near Wadesville.

Wow!

Their blackberries were as big as my thumb! And tasty too!

My garden is feeling the heat and is experiencing its annual contraction. It seems like the perennials aren’t as vibrant as they were in June (even factoring out the racoons).

I am getting some pretty produce from the vegetable garden, though. I enjoy the beauty of things I grew myself like these:

With food looking this good, it was a pleasure to fix something nice last weekend. I cut up the multi-colored carrots from my garden, summer squash from Patchwork, two varieties beets from my garden and Patchwork, and onions then roasted it all with rosemary from my garden.

That turned out well but was completely overshadowed by the tasty pasta bake I made up. I took a box of pasta and cooked it, added it to a baking dish, then covered it in:

  • several fresh tomatoes from the farmers market chopped
  • sausage from the River City Food Co-op
  • about 5 cloves of garlic from my garden, onions, and summer squash from Patchwork that were all sauteed with the sausage
  • lots of fresh basil from my garden
  • homemade ricotta cheese that I’d made earlier that day
  • 2 cans of tomato sauce
  • extra shredded Italian cheese on top of it all

We baked it for about 20 minutes until it looked done and it was amazing. The ricotta was particularly wonderful along with all the other freshness. Here it all is while being prepared…

And there are other small bits of beauty in my garden. There are more of the photogenic cucumber curls…

And a little gift from the garden to me. A fern that appeared all on its own growing on the side of one of the bricks piled in my yard.

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3 thoughts on “Up Late with the Raccoons

  1. Wonderful story, beautiful pictures, marvelous food! I can’t believe you made Ricotta cheese!..

    Jean Hess

    • Thanks, Jean. Ricotta’s actually pretty easy. I’ve got a kit that includes citric acid to curdle the milk, but you can also make it with vinegar. My kit also includes instructions for mozzarella, which I haven’t gotten the courage to make yet.

  2. Pingback: Summer Growth | Squirrels and Tomatoes

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