I’m settled in and so are they.

By the time I finally post this it might be a moot point, but we have raccoons.

The second day I was here, I was sitting at the table with my laptop and glanced out the window just as a large raccoon strolled by on the little path around the house. She didn’t seem troubled and wasn’t moving fast. It was the middle of the day and she was just out on a walk beside the garden.

“Oh yeah,” said Seth, my housemate. “That’s Mom.”

It turned out that Mom had been living under the porch for quite some time and nobody was quite sure what to do about it. This was all particularly funny to me because as I drove across the country I had listened to a lot of NPR, including a story about the absolutely insane number of raccoons in Toronto. Here, as soon as I was living in a city (well, “city” compared to Toronto) I had my very own backyard raccoon.

Mom didn’t really bother Seth or the couple living in the yurt in our backyard, so nobody worried too much. Occasionally over the next few days I saw her wandering around. She must have been living off of other people’s garbage, because she left our compost alone. Hmmm.

Then Seth left to go on a climbing trip on Wednesday. The note he left behind, besides asking me to pick up the CSA share, said, “Mom is gone so watch out for the kids.”

What? Seth is gone and nobody else can really answer the question of what happened to Mom, but we guess that it means that she is no more.

In any case, I didn’t see Mom again and then today, suddenly, I saw the kids, or kits to be more precise. There were three of them peeking out from the hole in the porch floor, looking very hungry and sad. And they were so cute! I began to have very mixed feelings. I didn’t want to encourage any more raccoons to stay under our porch, but the thought of them just starving to death was pretty sad. Still, I wasn’t going to feed them or anything. I was in kind of a philosophical crisis about them. And they kept just kind of looking at me and being all cute.

So finally I talked to Elizabeth, the woman who lives in the yurt, and we commiserated about how we didn’t know what to do with te raccoons. She said that last year there had been a litter and she had called someone to trap them. The guy had said they had to kill all of the raccoons they trapped and the fee was $400. She asked if she could have the raccoons back afterwards, and there was a silence. You know, to make hats or something, she said. The man hung up.

Elizabeth wasn’t going to pay $400 to get rid of our raccoons, and neither was I. Luckily, a few hours later, our other neighbor showed up with a live trap and set it up. He’s going to take the kits across the river to a nice forest, where they will probably starve or be eaten, but at least we won’t have to watch them starve and can still imagine them being all cute, growing up, and raiding garbage cans over in Springfield.

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