Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

August 26, 2016


Recently looking online through Google, searching about Raccoons, I came across a comic panel. Who didn't love Calvin and Hobbes back in the day? Seeing this one panel suddenly got me searching for the story in it's entirety. I remember this story as I have all of the C&H books from when I was, uh, younger.

I got rather nostalgic in the moment, thinking back to those books, the laughs I had from Calvin's adventures. The love and friendship he and Hobbes shared. How I could so relate to all of this, more so now in my adult years, where I am in tune to my feelings and my appreciation to a bond with an animal.

I also think back to those days, the days when places like Toronto Wildlife did not exist. How we dealt with sick or injured wild animals. We cared and wanted to help but with having no idea what was wrong, what to do, where to go, often it was just keeping them until they died. We gave them warmth, comfort and full bellies. Our hearts were full of love and care to these creatures. We always hoped we did what was best for them.

Here is the complete story line (click on the panels to open them up for easier viewing).

How awesome this story was about a Raccoon! If you haven't figured it out already, I have an admiration for these animals. I may have to pull some of my old C&H books out from storage. It's been years since I've read them.

It's also made me have a "moment" of stronger appreciation for wildlife centres as I think about ever getting into a situation like this again. A few years back I trapped an injured Raccoon that had both back legs broken and some major spinal trauma due to a car strike. If TWC did not exist, that night I probably would have just looked at him in the pouring rain, feeding under our bird feeder, pulling himself around by his front legs and just felt nothing but sadness, eventually turning out the lights, saying a prayer for him, the best prayer I could think of being non-religious and try to go to sleep.

Anyone reading this blog is an animal lover. Maybe you will reflect on a creature you tried to help back in the day? Feel free to share in the comments. Maybe you were a fan of Calvin and Hobbes too? Maybe it's time to rediscover an enjoyable piece of the past?

August 23, 2016

The Little Raccoon That Could

As some of you are aware, we have a family of Raccoons living down at the back of our property, just over the fence.

This is a common sight for me, day and night.

For them, they picked a very safe sturdy place to live... as long as they aren't found out by the property owners. They live in the roof of a detached garage just near our shed. The entry is on the back side of the roof and pretty much hangs over the fence line. We are on a crescent and it really can only be seen from our property.

Now don't go thinking I let this go by without trying to tell them. I'm a good neighbour and as much as I love our wildlife, I will inform a fellow human if something is going wrong on their property. Okay, maybe not so much for the human, but for the animals as one day this may come back on them.

3 years ago Squirrels had made a hole in this roof. I saw someone who lives in the house and I tried to explain to them what was going on. The person looked at me like I had 10 heads. Not because of my mop of hair but because they don't speak English. Worst was he didn't even try to figure out what I was saying, like he didn't even want to know, or even get someone else to come and speak with me. There used to be a guy there I spoke with often over the back fence but have no idea what happened to him, the house was never up for sale.

 So, the following year a Raccoon got in and here we are 2 years with Raccoons in this roof. I still see these people almost every weekend since it's summer, BBQ'ing, playing music, they never acknowledge me... well except one time a few weeks ago when a male guest of theirs was checking out my backside. The guy I tried to speak with before told him I was a male. I never turned around, and while this was in Spanish, I knew what was going on.

I worry about the Raccoons in that roof but really there is nothing I can do. I watch over them and hope nothing tragic happens if they get discovered. I will step in that day, language barrier or not.

Another neighbour feeds them most summer nights. She's been doing it for a few years now. They love to watch the "kids" come out and feast on their leftovers. The sad thing is come the first cold nights in the fall, they shut the door to these animals who have gotten used to the free meals. The people never think anything of it.  I tried to discuss this with them in the past.  Then the door opens again the following year when a new bunch of little Raccoons come out.  I know that food offering is not all they eat in a night. They still search the area for food either in compost bins...

Trash bins.  Someone stuck in ours July 24.  Please always check your garbage bins for them.

And of course release them.

They do find natural food as well. I watched one catch moths in the air one night, grabbing them in it's paws and chowing down on them.

I cleaned out our wasp traps one night, they were inches deep in dead wasps and hornets. The traps reeked of fermented sugar water and insects. I dump them in the garden and witnessed the young Raccoons come out and eat up all the insects.

A few people grow grapes and come August, the Raccoons are ready when the grapes are.

So, that's a little back story for you all, now on to what this blog is really about...

With every new family we get, there's always that one kid. The boldest of the bunch. The more curious. The one who really stands out. A couple years ago it was one who often came up, sniffed our shoes or Angie's butt one night. He licked my leg a couple times when I got too relaxed in the deck chair (falling asleep). He was good for helping himself to the peanut bags and bird seed if I filled the feeders at night.

Here he is, like he was watching the show being me.

I'm pretty this is him a little more grown up.

This year we have one but he's not a food whore like that one. This one is quite mischievous, he loves to explore and find things to touch and play with. He's quite fascinated with shiny things. He knows how to get in the shed and has found a bounty of shiny things to play with... screws! I found a couple on the lawn one night last week and wondered what was up with that? A few nights later I busted the culprit.

Do you see the screw he is holding?

Crop job...

The funniest is with me looking at him, mere feet away, he didn't care. We make eye contact and then he just goes back to toying with it. He is very lucky it is our shed he is making his fun house because I know far too many others who would not tolerate such a thing. I'm just glad he's not taking them out of the wall and he's not using our shed as a latrine.

The following night.

Another night. If you look closely at his left paw, you will see he's got another screw. I don't keep that big bag of peanuts in the shed. I once did, in a large metal tin and the Squirrels sniffed them out, chewing a hole in the door to get into the shed and trying to have at the nuts. Once again, they are lucky they did that here because, well, I won't speak of the horrors I know that other people would do.

The shed doors never closed properly since we put it together and a smart Raccoon can easily gain access if he tries. The hole the Squirrels made sure help. A hole big enough for a Squirrel to pass through or a Raccoon to peek out.

I once tried to block the hole up which prompted the Squirrel to try and chew another hole elsewhere. One hole is enough thank you. And peanuts are not left in the shed anymore.

A couple other pics of our friend you might get a laugh out of.

Checking out an old bird house that I cannot part with. I'm hoping to have another one made just like it one day. So many memories from this box and a few Black-capped Chickadee families too.

It's like Christmas for him.  "What's in this box?"

"Squirrel proof feeder, bet it's not Raccoon proof."

"It's thirsty work being an adventurer."

Good thing I have my own drinks, especially on Wednesdays.  LoL!

He decided to bunk in the shed once, making a bed from a tote and a tarp.  Me accidentally disturbing him sent him scurrying off after I went back to the house.  One thing they don't like is being disturbed when trying to sleep.  I doubt he will go and try this again.

There is a part of me that says I shouldn't entertain this, I should not tolerate it and start scaring the hell out of him. But I can't. It's not in my heart especially since it's nothing upsetting to me. He's not shitting in there and if he breaks some stuff, who cares, it's just stuff. No expensive tools or anything at this house. I will admit I enjoy the encounters. Some fun photo ops after dark when I get home from work. It also allows me to keep a better eye on him and our property. Come home and do this or come home and turn on the television? There will be plenty of cold nights coming in a few months for the television.

Maybe if me coming home and it was like a welcoming committee with him charging at me, climbing on me like Pierre the Pigeon does, that would be different.  I believe that since he's seen me from day one when he first looked out into the big wide world from that hole in the roof, he's seen me so often, that I am just a part of the territory.  I'm almost always there, even if for a brief moment.

I love our Raccoon neighbours and I tell people you have to learn to live with them as they aren't going anywhere.  Don't be lazy about your garbage or your property.  Keep a close eye on your house, especially the roof.  We trim the tree branches back around the house so they can't get up there unless they fall out of the tree which did happen one night last summer.  Poor little one up there didn't know how to get back down.  I had to go and get the ladder, lean it up against the back of the house and step away,  He soon figured out that this was the way down and was quite grateful to reunite with his family in the garden.  Good thing I was home and heard the thud when he hit the roof.

It's a wonderful experience for a wildlife enthusiast like myself; and helps with my animal blogs.

I am pro Procyon! Look at that face, what's not to love? Amazing my patience with them and I have so little for a lot people.

August 2, 2016

I Just Want to Help

Saturday afternoon I took notice to an odd looking Pigeon on a neighbour's roof 3 doors over. At first glance, his wings and overall appearance had the pattern of a Snowy Owl. I knew it was not that but definitely a unique looking Pigeon of some sort.

Neighbours next door to where the Pigeon was were outside, saw me looking/taking pics of the bird, and we got chatting. Seems the bird had been hanging around for a couple days now. They knew it was a domestic but didn't know what to do with it, about it, and just fed it bits of white bread.

I asked if I could come over for a closer look at the bird. What a beauty he was! He did not appear to be banded.

We discussed how a wild life is not for such a bird. He's been raised for shows or maybe was someone's pet. Life on his own in the city would be a short life.

They agreed to help me catch him. They'd keep watch and when he came down to their backyard for some bread crumbs or a sip from their kiddy pool, they would either try to catch him or call me over.

In the meantime I went back home, posted a photo of the bird and started asking for help from others on what to do with this bird when we caught him. I guess I should have worded it differently because we never did catch him. He's not been seen since.

The next day I saw this particular cat on the roof of the house where the bird was. The homeowners allow their cats to roam freely which is infuriating. I was told the cat would never harm a bird. Hmmmm? Why did it suddenly end up on the roof of the house? Why was their teenage son climbing up there to retrieve it?

Thanks to my Facebook post, I did find out he's an Oriental Frill.

I also got some great contacts on where he could go to hopefully get a new home, if not, at least a safe temporary one until a permanent one was found.

I've not stopped keeping my eyes open for him. How I wish he would follow the flock of Pigeons to our backyard. Surely their actions led him this far!

It is disappointing how quickly this went from a potential rescue situation to nothing. It's much like the Skunk with the garbage stuck around his neck. Another animal I'm still keeping watch for.

People joke and call me things like "Dr. Doolittle" or some kind of animal whisperer because of my unique moments and interactions with some creatures. Where are these so called powers now?

I'm hoping to spot this beauty soon somewhere around the 'hood this week..

Funny thing is while this was happening here, a friend mere blocks away was encountering a lost Budgie showing up in his backyard. These poor birds.