Raccoons are smart aleks and so is my cat

We caught raccoon number 12 last week.

This time, after quite a bit of hemming and hawing, we decided to drive him far away ourselves. We got a truck and drove more than 10 miles away (the distance recommended by the internet) and picked a secluded spot.

John was the designated release person, so he pointed the trap toward a field and started fiddling with the latch mechanism. The raccoon got into position with his head crammed up against the bottom edge of the door.

John’s not a raccoon release pro (yet), so it took him a couple moments to get the door to open. He’s positive that there was a moment when the raccoon looked up at him with a look in his eyes that said, “Dude. I’ve done this before. I know what I’m supposed to do here, and I’m doing it. What’s wrong with you? Do I need to get out of this trap and show you how to do it myself?”

Then the door was open and the raccoon was gone.

I hope that’s it for a while, but the traps are still out and set. Our cat knows when the raccoons are living under our house, but he’s really not helpful and does nothing to alert John and me when the raccoons are present. He knows whether this was a new raccoon or an old one back once more. I’m sure he’s even on a first name basis with them all, but he doesn’t share any of his intel.

Other than the raccoons, things are beautiful in our neighborhood with particularly nice colors in the changing leaves. The giant oaks that are left after all the tree cutting are deep red and the Virginia creeper climbing everything is a brilliant red. The maples are contributing their yellows as well. The cold air we’ve had intermittently (the lowest my back yard thermometer has gotten so far is 39 degrees) is also adding nice color to the cardinal creeper on my shed.

The Saturday before last, the weather was absolutely beautiful and I took advantage of it and got a lot done. I’m terrible at pulling out a plant that’s still alive and fruiting, even if it is time for it to go, but I was strong and determined and cleared out two tomato plants to make room for my garlic.

One was the plant that had the beautiful, tiny tomatoes on it. They were a pain to pick, so I haven’t eaten many all summer. Before I said goodbye, I salvaged the tomatoes that I could and took a few more photos.

I added a bunch of the tomatoes to a fritatta and then froze the rest for later. It was nice to have some plants I was willing to part with for the sake of the garlic. I got my garlic from a different catalog this year, so hopefully it still comes up nicely.

That weekend I also got to work on my iris bed. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but it seems like people are always talking about digging up their irises and dividing the rhizomes. Well, the section of garden where the irises live is the only part of the garden that I have never touched. Everything around them has had huge chunks of concrete removed, new soil added, and new plants.

I’ve had it in mind for a while to work on them, and then a couple weeks ago a friend gave me some new irises to plant. That was the spark I needed. I dug up the entire iris bed, added a bunch of soil so they’ll be even with the rest of the garden, and replanted an assortment of them. I trimmed them up since the leaves were looking really straggly after all my yanking and replanting. Hopefully they all survive.

Elsewhere in my garden, I’ve got a few final tomatillos, tomatoes, beans, and peppers ripening.

The zinnias are beautiful as they open from their buds.

And I’ve been taking advantage of some of the last farmers markets and vegetable stands. I got these photogenic and very tasty apples a couple weeks ago.

And I’ve been loading up on squash while I can still get it. A week ago I made a fantastic squash and broccoli lasagna. It was a whole lot of work, but it was worth it. (If I was a real food blogger, I’d have more attractive dishes whose color would better highlight the beauty of the food.)

And finally on the topic of pumpkins, John and I were honored to have our portraits drawn on pumpkins by one of our employees for Boss’s Day. They are fantastic!

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