The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

The Raccoon That Wouldn’t Budge!!

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Finally, gorgeous sunny days are upon us. This past week has been perfect and so it was the back walkway has finally begun and is now halfway completed. With uplifted spirits, Nat and I decided to put some fat and juicy chicken wings on the barbecue. We had found a new BBQ sauce we wanted to try, and everything was smelling delicious. Accompanied by some corn-on-the-cob, the wings brushed in that new sauce were terrific and gave your taste buds a bit of a kick near the end. Our day was coming to a good end.

As usual, after cleaning up, Nat went to close down the BBQ and, as usual, he takes a peek under the solar panels lining the roof and our pockets! I was just sitting down to watch the news when Nat comes back inside and explains how he sees a long dark thing between the panels and the roof. Unsure of what it could be, I accompanied him back to the deck and cranked my head so I could see what he’d found. It’s not an easy task cranking your head enough so as to see directly up between the roof and the underbelly of the solar panels. Somehow I finally managed to see that lumpy dark thing, and as Nat was taking a second look, he soon realized it was a raccoon! He could now see a paw with claws and a bit of a the tail. Yep, a raccoon, alright. I could see it, too. The look on Nat’s face was now one of bloody aggravation and despair. How in hell was he going to get that creature out of there. He was worried that the critter was going to start gnawing and chewing his way through our brand new roof and possibly do damage to the wiring connected to the panels. Not one to be undone, he put his thinking cap on and felt the only way to make this formidable enemy leave the premises was to spray the hell out of it with the power washer!! Yep, that’s right, let’s just spray the bugger with high-powered water. Poor Nat, he knew he wouldn’t be able to reach high enough on the ladder, as the raccoon was strategically lying at the top end of the roof, just far enough away that it would be a struggle to reach him.

With a look of determination on his face, Nat leaned the ladder against the eaves trough, climbed to a good height holding the hose of the power washer, squeezed his manly arm between the roof and the panels as far up as he could reach and began to spray. He sprayed and he sprayed. His enemy didn’t budge. The raccoon probably thought it had just begun to rain and would sit it out. Nat gave a small pause and then started up again. The splurge of water wasn’t quite hitting the raccoon as hard as Nat wanted, as he couldn’t quite squeeze his arm up high enough to reach his opponent. Suddenly, the raccoon decided to head for more drier ground and shifted his pudgy little body to the other side of the house. Nat sensed a bit of relief, maybe now he had him on the run. Nat took his ladder and placed it up against the other side of the house over to where the raccoon was now lying. Nat’s hose was doing it’s best to douse the enemy within (or underneath!!). I can only guess the raccoon had figured the rain had started up again and decided to wait it out. So far the raccoon was winning and my dear determined hubby was mad as hell. I kept telling him to give it up, that the raccoon will eventually head back to whence he came. NO, not Nat. Now that he had started he was going to finish the job. The splurge of water started up again as Nat was now spraying from the garage side of the house, when lo and behold, the raccoon started to flee from under the panels, but I could see that he was still hanging on for dear life along the roof edge and the panels. Maybe?? I think NOT. The rascal had managed to hang on enough and crawl back under the panels again. Never let it be said that Nat gives up early, as he now moved the ladder back to the rear of the house and began to douse the raccoon even more, but, alas, to no avail. This little bugger was going to stay put –  so there!!!! The sweat was now pouring off of Nat’s face in droves. From the second-last rung of his ladder, he turned and looked at me watching the goings-on from the patio. His face showed a sign of sheer frustration, sweat and anger. I told him that the creature from hell had managed to save himself and he had to either give it up or die trying and I (in a very firm voice, mind) told him the second option was NOT going to happen if I had any say in the matter. You can only imagine the look on Nat’s face – reluctant submission.

Nat finally came down from his perch, took a deep breath and resigned himself to defeat. I told Nat I would do some research on the internet about getting rid of raccoons and if there was any product out there that would protect our investment somehow and keep small creatures, birds and the like from getting underneath our precious panels. As luck would have it, there was, and it didn’t take me long to find a Canadian supplier. The product “Squirrel Guard”  is sold by a Toronto company, Boreal Solar, and is a wire mesh that is somewhat pliable, is attached by “clips” underneath the panels themselves to secure the perimeter of your entire panel system. It’s quite ingenious and after checking with our Solar panel company, they would be willing to install the Guard for us, as Nat is now unable to get up on the roof. With all of the information at hand we needed, Nat then perused the Squirrel Guard  printout in order to understand the system and determine the cost, etc. We could then discuss the matter and see how to proceed.

This whole little adventure took place last Tuesday. We’ve still been discussing what to do and Nat’s been checking underneath the panels now and again, as he always does, and to date we’ve been clear and free. Remember, however, this is US and nothing goes that cleanly and smoothly. What were the odds that just before supper, as we were finishing up a beautiful relaxing afternoon on the patio doing crosswords and talking, when Nat happened to look UP, AGAIN and what to his surprise, our little buddy was back!!!!! The little guy seemed to be relaxing under the shelter and shade of the solar panels – and in the same damned spot from Tuesday. I looked at Nat – he looked at me – and I just shook my head. I told him to face reality, there was no way we could get rid of this menace tonight. I figured it was our supper time and, after calling a pest control company in Fort Erie, had it confirmed the raccoon would be gone by morning. There was nothing the pest control people could do, except put out a cage trap, that we should trim any trees, etc. overhanging the house and “call him in the morning, if he was still there”. Nat and I now looked at each other and our decision was made. So it was, as we were still talking, I began to order “Squirrel Guard” online and requested an ASAP delivery. I couldn’t believe the efficiency and speed of response from Boreal Solar. As soon as I returned to the office after supper we had received an email, that the product would be sent to us on Monday, for receiving on Tuesday, via CanPar parcel delivery and we could pay through PayPal. Easy, peasy – Nat and I were relieved. Hopefully this will now solve our menacing problem. IF and that’s a huge IF, there’s a next time, I’m buying a pellet gun – I can’t stand by and watch as Nat tries to fight one of Mother Nature’s creature when we all know that Mother Nature gets here way – all the time!!

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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