Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Diversion From The Heat

What is wrong with this picture?  It is May 27, 2018.  It is Memorial Day weekend.  Throughout the area tons of events were planned including a 100 mile bike race.  Usually the temperatures are perfect this time of year, but not today.  It might as well be the middle of winter with extreme blizzard conditions because going outside, (at least for me), is almost impossible.  I don't like feeling hot and sweaty.  It's 95 degrees, and that is not acceptable to me.  As a result, I sit inside just like I do in the middle of winter.  The only difference is that it looks beautiful outside which only makes it worse.  I tried to sit out for a short time, but in addition to the heat the mosquitoes were terrible.  I even found a tick on me.  Welcome to the dog days of summer only three months too early.

As I was sitting feeling sorry for myself, I saw something out the window.  I did a double take, and it was our resident raccoon carrying a baby raccoon across the yard.

I quickly went outside but missed where she was taking it.  This raccoon has been giving me grief for a long time.  Every morning and night she comes to steal the grape jelly I have out for the Baltimore Orioles.  I chase her away when I see her, and I bring the jelly inside for the night.  I had to move my other bird feeders and jelly feeders to a safe place or she would be eating from them too.  When I yell at her to leave, she usually just looks at me and saunters away.

I thought she must be too hot where she was or she wouldn't be moving the babies.  Maybe they were just getting too big for wherever they were living.  I sat and watched for a few more minutes and sure enough, there she was again.  I got a couple of photos but she was quick.  I went outside again.  This time I could hear a crying sound.  At first it sounded like a bird because apparently I don't hear so well.  I am one of the few who heard "Yanny" instead of "Laurel".  Those of you who participated in that recent internet activity will know what I mean.  I listened again and followed the sound.  It was coming from a nearby hollow tree.

I didn't see anything at first and then I saw a little raccoon face peeking out at me.  It was adorable.  It wasn't long before I saw two more.  Those two were out on a branch but then scurried back to the hole in the tree.

I brought a lawn chair over to see what would happen next.  I forgot about the heat and bugs for a while.  Mama came back.  She sat and watched me for a while and then they all disappeared into the tree.

I checked again about a half hour later.  It was probably stifling inside that hollow tree.  All I could see was mama guarding her young ones or what was left in the tree.  I had some things to do, and I didn't see if she brought any more babies to the undisclosed location.

Now, a few hours later,  I am watching to see if mama raccoon makes her evening trip to the grape jelly or if she has her hands full settling into her new home.  UPDATE:  Mama returned to check the jelly at 8:30pm.  I let her eat it.  There was less than a tablespoon left in the dish.  Then I went outside to see where she went, and she climbed back into the hole in the tree.  Now I'm really confused.  I hope the babies I watched her move were alive.  I'll check for any activity in the tree tomorrow.

I do know that it's approaching evening, and it is still hot outside.  Tomorrow isn't supposed to be any cooler.  I have outdoor chores to do so I hope this heat wave doesn't last all summer.  On the other hand, with this heat all my plants will burn up, and I won't have to worry about it.

This thermometer is inside the screened porch, in the shade
at 5:00pm

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