I was blissfully sawing logs thanks to the shot of NyQuil I took at bedtime, when the sound of Maggie growling roused me from my slumber. However, after a few seconds of sensory recovery, I heard it too: chirping, clicking, and mumbling coming from the backyard. Blearily, I stumbled into the living room and found Tim sleeping on the couch after a long night of work. For a second, I thought maybe the sounds came from his laptop, but Maggie lunged towards the patio door, ears pointed all the way up to Red Alert.
I opened the door, and she dashed away into the night towards a bush in the corner of our yard. There were signs of struggle, some yelps, and then I saw them: 1...2...3 raccoons raced up the telephone pole in our yard, terrified of the fox-faced, haggis-shaped creature lunging toward them, despite outweighing her by at least 20 pounds each. She growled at them to stay there, goddammit, if they knew what was good for them. They waved their eerily human-like fists at her and growled back, "Next time, you mangy mutt!"
The two smarter ones jumped into the yard next door, foreclosed on and abandoned a couple months prior. The third stayed up there, whimpering pathetically, not wanting to take the chance to run to safety, in case that corgi knew how to scale walls and climb poles too.
My heart sank when I saw that the chicken coop door was wide open. We stopped closing it months ago, since the hens had shown us they were much happier going in and out as they pleased. But now I was cursing my soft-heartedness, since raccoons are notoriously evil chicken torturers and thieves, imagining the bloody scene awaiting me. By then, Tim stumbled out with a flashlight but no glasses, so he somehow missed the 50-pound creature finally scampering into the neighbor's yard to join his brothers, but despite the fact that he probably thought I made the whole thing up, he nonetheless agreed to check out the coop because I could not bear to see them. He is good-natured and useful in that way.
Thank goodness, the raccoons were on their way TO supper, not on their way out like I had feared. Apparently they were so excited about their meal, they could not shut up about it on the way there, maybe swapping recipes for chicken fricassee. I could see them gesturing with their freaky hands how they would twist our girls' heads off, pluck their feathers out one by one, then sling them behind their shoulders like sacks of loot back to their burrow, where a Dutch oven and a warm fire awaited them. But at least for today, their plans for a feast were thwarted by an iron-hearted corgi with a moderate case of hip dysplasia and a major case of chutzpah.
I couldn't decide how to show my appreciation, since she usually considers herself well above displays of sentimentality and gratuitous affection, so I patted her head and told her she was a good dog. She accepted the compliment with what I can only describe as proper British stoicism, so I think the message got through.
Oh, the neverending adventures of the suburban farm!
I see that it has been a full month since I last blogged. We shall have to remedy this.