I haven’t felt well all week, but by Wednesday, I was so warn out that I couldn’t look at anything to write or read. I had a sinus and stress headache to go with the cold I had gotten. After lying on the couch for several days doing little, I finally feel much better. Earlier today, I was outside watering my orchard and walking around. Since it is the first real movement in several days, I felt weak and didn’t do much at once, but I kept at it and got some distance in. So in the following space, I’ll try to make up for my missed writing.
A dark night critter crossed the road ahead of me; my lights barely reaching it. It had a hunched back and a long tail. I had my suspicion of what it was, but I hadn’t seen one in so long, I was uncertain. Sure enough, as I got closer, my lights shone on its tail, rings. I was seeing the first raccoon in this area for many years. My excitement spiked as my thoughts turned to the raccoons of my youth.
I had seen some raccoon nests in my neighborhood and many road kill, but I can’t remember a live sighting in the area.
I do remember a few little kits on my grandparents’ property in the northern California coastal area. My cousins lived on the property too and found two or three kits with no mother. They gathered them up and took them home to raise. My aunt made them stay outside, but agreed to feed them.
Raccoons clean their food, so they put out a large basin of water near where the kits were fed. My cousins would take out leftovers, food scraps, and dog food. The kits picked up each piece of food and dunked it in the water before eating. They grew quickly and soon found homes for themselves. But they never forgot the free food. They would show up each evening and peer in the window sometimes tapping at it asking to be fed. They reminded me of excited puppies the way they scurried around in anticipation of the food. No matter what was thrown to them, they would wash, and in their excitement, sometimes drop in the water. But they were eager and would fish out anything at the bottom of the pan.
While visiting one summer, my cousins showed us how the coons cleaned themselves and their food. They threw out some scraps when the raccoons appeared at the window. The food was quickly cleaned and gobbled up, but they waited for more dancing around and peering into the window watching us eat our meal. Finally, Damazon got up, got a handful of ice out of the freezer, and threw them to the coons. The ring tailed critters grabbed them up and dunked them in the water. Because the ice becomes slippery in water, the coons dropped them. They tried grabbing the ice with their paws, but the slippery ice stayed out of their grasps. This kept up until the ice disappeared and the coons would grab something else to dunk into the basin.
They were curious too and liked shiny things. Anything left on the porch, the raccoons would pick up, dunk into the water, and taste. If it was shiny or uneatable, the coons would take them back to their dens. Every now and then, we would have to go hunting for a den to see if we could find our missing item.
Fall has been just as fickle as spring was. It is here a day or two, then the temperatures revert back to summer. My poor plants don’t know what to do about this. It has allowed my squash to ripen on the vines, and because I kept that area covered, I have my self seeded spinach coming up. I should have some to eat in the next few weeks.
We are working on insulating the greenhouse, so the plants don’t freeze in there either. Then I will transplant my spinach and plant other vegetables for us to enjoy this winter. I am excited because the winter garden is why I wanted the greenhouse in the first place.
It is nice that I can winter over my herbs and citrus trees. But being able to grow fresh salad vegetables is most exciting to me.
I love that the weather is warm some days and cool the others. It gives me incentive to be outside more. Some days I am doing yard work and some hiking. Other days, I just enjoy the sun coming onto the patio and warm myself by it. But on the windy days, I am inside hiding away.
Last year, I read on Facebook, about a tradition of Norway or someplace like that. The tradition is a Christmas Eve one. People exchange books to read in front of a cozy fire on Christmas Eve. My family is full of readers, so we decided to do our own version. Three of us agreed to try it out. We drew names and bought each other books that were delivered right to the person. This was a really fun experience and everyone got books that they greatly enjoyed.
We have talked about it all year between each other and with other relatives. We got more people interested in trying it out. I have requested names of those interested so we could draw names again. This time we had 11 of us interested. Some close relatives and some not.
We drew names today and made the announcement so everyone knows who they need to buy books for. There are no rules to this book exchange other than the book has to make it to the family member before Christmas Eve. I prefer to find out what genres the person enjoys and make my selection on Amazon so I can have it wrapped and delivered with no extra cost.
We’ll see how this turns out to determine if we will keep building on the tradition and if we will add anyone else. I am looking forward to see what I will be reading this Christmas Eve. I know last year, one person didn’t wait to read and instead opened the book and began the day the book arrived.