It was around 7 a.m. Sunday morning. I was walking out past the shed and around the garden to feed The Ladies when I noticed a corn husk on ground. That’s odd, I thought.
Two steps further and I spot an entire corn cob. Two more steps lead me to two more gnawed corn cobs. Uh oh…
I rounded the shed and was greeted with total corn carnage. We only planted three small rows of sweet corn this year and about a quarter of them were ripped, knocked over and pretty much totaled.
I first suspected deer, but when I couldn’t find hoof prints, I knew it was the work of a masked bandit. My suspicions were confirmed when I found a stalk bent just enough for the critter to much off part of an ear of corn that was closer to the ground. It was just about raccoon height, to be exact.
I put a warrant out for his arrest. Dead or alive. Problem was that I had no way of trapping it and I still have issues with shooting things first, asking questions later just because the raccoon happens to like corn.
I stewed about this dilemma all day Sunday. I knew Mr. Bandit would be back that night because once a raccoon finds a food source, you can bet the farm that he’ll be back and bring his buddies to have the best raccoon night of their lives. (I love that Allstate commercial, by the way). On the other hand, I wasn’t about to turn over my garden without a fight.
I decided I’d try some raccoon repellant before getting the gun. I found a recipe for a hot sauce raccoon repellant online, whipped it up and sprayed it on the remaining ears of corn. Sax Guy didn’t think it would work. I was 90 percent sure it wasn’t either, but come hell or high water, the ‘coon is at least going to get heartburn. If it came knocking on my door for Rolaids, I wasn’t sharing.
I woke up this morning to expect total corn annihilation. I dilly-dallied with my coffee and waffles until it was somewhat lighter at 5:15 a.m. because I was dreading what I would find. I threw on my barn jacket, shoved my feet in my barn boots and grabbed the flashlight.
Imagine my glee when my flashlight beam showed only three stalks, and tiny ones at that, knocked over. Victory was mine! I walked among the rows and didn’t see any ears on the ground. Feeling pretty pleased with myself, I fed The Ladies and came back to the garden to bask in my awesomeness for a final time. I did one last swoop with the flashlight when I spotted a furry tail just outside the perimeter of the beam.
I totally didn’t consider the raccoons might still be in the garden in the wee hours of the morning. Fail.
I inched the flashlight a little to the left, fully expecting to find a ferocious and indigestion-suffering raccoon. Nope, it was no raccoon. Try a friendly neighborhood skunk instead. Fuddruckers!
Not wanting to freak out Pepe Le Pew, I backed up slowly. The skunk looked just as surprised to see me as I was to see it, but if it moved, I didn’t hang around to find out.
So the score stands as Raccoon 1, Redhead 1, but it’s only been 24 hours. If I have no corn left standing Tuesday morning, I have a recipe for roast raccoon compliments of the 1972 edition of the “Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook.” It’s on page 106.
Anybody wanna come over for dinner??
If my critter caper tale gave you a good laugh, visit my Chipmunks are the Devil , A rabbit’s Christmas in July and Finding my inner Steve Irwin.