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Green Acre #167: Raccoon 10, The Prince 0

This is the way the backyard pond should look: no barriers and brief glimpses of little fishies. / Photo by Stephanie Cavanaugh.

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A CENTURY ago, when my father’s sisters were in their teens and That Time of the Month rolled around, they were said to be “unwell.”

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During this period, you should pardon the expression, they would take to their rooms in the brownstone they lived in, just off New York’s Central Park on West 91st Street. The curtains were drawn, cool towels were draped over their brows, and they sipped blackberry brandy for the duration. 

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How lovely, I’m thinking as I gaze at my garden and wish for someone to cover my face with a cool towel and serve me something to get a buzz on.  

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My Prince has escalated his war on the raccoon and I’m feeling unwell. 

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When we last left this saga, just a few weeks ago, he’d set a milk crate in the pond so the fish could hide from the midnight bandit. Amazingly, this did not work. The clay flue liner that one reader suggested didn’t work either.  

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Either the fish were too stupid (their brains are awfully small) or the raccoon too wily. . . .  The fish were plucked one by one and were gone.  

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The pond, in theory, is a pretty place. Surrounded by plants and stones with curls of greenery poking about. Moss grows on a rock beneath the headless statue of a Greek (I suppose) maiden, dress chiseled into folds, bare toes peeping out from beneath the hem. The statue’s plump white arms hold an urn or ewer. Water pours forth, greening the moss as it flows into the pond. The sound is either like a gentle waterfall or the gush of a busted toilet, depending on my mood.

With a fully extended baby gate over it, to protect the fish from the raccoon, the little pond looks like a trash heap with a fountain. / Photo by Stephanie Cavanaugh.

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From time to time it is a nice spot to sit alongside, drink a little wine and contemplate my Bird of Paradise, now in its second year and 12 feet tall. It’s supposed to have white flowers. It has no flowers at all. Why, I ask you?  

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Yesterday my darling went to Petco or PetSmart—anyway, the place with pets—and bought another dozen feeder fish, which sell 10 for a buck. Used to be 12 for a buck . . . ah, inflation. Whatever they are, they’re cheap and toss off golden glints in the sun. We no longer dare to try koi. 

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As this is the third collection of fish he’s introduced this summer, additional battlements have been engaged. The pond is completely covered by a baby gate, stretched open to full width, with a black plastic palette, I guess you’d call it, covering the remaining space. This construct is weighted down by a stone. The pond is no longer visible. It looks like a trash heap with a fountain.

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“I’ll take it down every day,” he promised. “It’s just for the nights.”  Hah. 

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Inside the house, My Prince has escalated the mouse wars. Added to the mouse “hotels” and postcard-sized glue traps are brand-new glue traps the size of placemats. These are scattered like a lethal game of Twister around the living and dining rooms. I’m tempted to set one on the seat of his chair. 

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Meanwhile my little gray friend scampers about laughing at him, busy with mysterious evening errands that require crossing the dining room as we’re watching something on the tube. My Prince continues to pretend he doesn’t see. 

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Go little mouse! 

—Stephanie Cavanaugh

LittleBird “Stephanie Gardens” loves the little critters that frequent her garden (and house). Maybe not the raccoon.

 

 



2 thoughts on “Green Acre #167: Raccoon 10, The Prince 0

  1. Jacqui Michel says:

    No glue traps, please.

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