Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Sunday, May 09, 2010

An Early Evening Garden Visitor

We are very fortunate to live in a rural area with an abundance of wildlife.  Our house backs onto the water so there is an amazing variety of waterfowl throughout the year.  There are two pairs of Mallard ducks nesting on our property this year and Mute Swans visit daily.  Although some of the wildlife we encounter such as mice are not quite welcomed for the most part the wildlife tends to be mainly an enjoyment mixed with a little pest behaviour at times.

A couple of nights ago just after dinner as dusk was falling my husband spotted a garden visitor.  This friendly little fellow was on the stairwell landing looking straight into our patio doors.  Obviously the smells from dinner had attracted him as he was about 10 feet diagonally from the patio door.   The picture was taken through the patio door.

We knew that there were raccoons (Procyon lotor) in our area.  We've heard their chatter and had seen tracks in our yards.  What surprised me is until this little guy appeared we had not actually seen them.  Isn't he just adorable?  To the right there is Lily of the Valley is now in bloom.

We have a fair amount of experience with raccoons being seasoned campers.  Raccoons can be problematic because they love to raid garbage pails.  It is surprising how they can get into picnic coolers and garbage pails with little effort.  A few days before the raccoon visit I had set a bag of garbage on the patio with the intentions of asking my husband to put it in the garage when he got home.  I forgot so was greeted to the bag being ripped open and a mess to clean up.  I wasn't sure what had got into the bag but from experience even grackles and crows will peck open a bag of garbage.  Now I think it might have been the raccoon and since raccoons are smart little critters he likely came back to see if I forgot again.  Raccoons, skunks, ermines and possums are a bit more problematic for us given the design of our house.

Our house is tucked into a sloped bank with the water edge considerably lower than the street edge.  It is a two level house but in reality three level with upper level above ground, entrance level almost on the ground and lower level mainly below ground.  The kitchen is on the lower level.  Pictured is the kitchen looking in from the great room.  The window is about 4 - inches from the ground.  To the right is the start of the patio door entrance that leads to a covered patio with screen-in sunporch above it.  This presents a problem.

Garden visitors especially larger ones like raccoons can easily get through the window or patio door if determined enough.  There is no way we can get to either window or patio door to shut the glass panes if the visitor is a skunk as I found out last summer.  A skunk was sniffing around the patio screen door.  It was a beautiful night so I was enjoying the fresh air while watching tv when the skunk appeared.  I used an old camping trick of shining a flashlight into his eyes then held my breath as he mosied on without spraying.  We take the precautions of not leaving food out on the counters and cleaning up immediately after meals so as to not encourage the possibility of attracting critters to the window and door.  We also pull the glass panes to where they are open by about 4 inches to let air in but not critters.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


  1. We have racoons that visit the garden too, and they can be quite annoying.

  2. Racoons are alright. But skunks? I would be frightened at the prospect of shooing them out of the house.


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