Saturday, May 14, 2005

Weekend visitor

Zorg is in Eugene for the weekend at a family event; I stayed in town to do some volunteer work for the upcoming Folklife Festival, get my mom's condo ready for her return from Florida next weekend, and get the soaker hoses set out in the garden.

I got back from Folklife and the condo work around 3 and gardened until 8:30 p.m., aided by all the cats and the neighbors' 2-year-old. Then I took a shower and set about preparing a salad for dinner. The arugula has pretty well bolted, so I decided to go out and cut it all down and add it to the salad. Of course, as soon as I stepped out the back door, Betaille dashed for the cedar bench -- her "designated petting place." I sat down with her and, while petting her, admired the garden. It was nearly 9 p.m., but between the bright sky, the quarter moon above the pear tree, and the back porch lights, I could have read a book out there.

I certainly had no trouble noticing the 40-pound raccoon sauntering toward us across the back yard. He looked right at me, and just kept on coming. Betaille glanced at him, then went back to getting petted, which didn't reassure me at all. If they were friends, he might come right over to the bench and say hello to us. Or he might hang a right at the back stairs and go up to see if there were any cat food on the porch. All I could think was: This is a huge raccoon.

"Help!" I squeaked, although there was no one to hear me.

Hearing my voice, the raccoon stopped six feet away. He looked a bit disappointed, as if thinking "I'll have to swing back by here later." He wheeled around and began to stroll back the way he had come, disappearing into the side yard. I jumped up, grabbed the greens, and scurried up the stairs into the kitchen. If Betaille wants to share her dinner with the raccoons, I don't want to know about it.

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