In our German Village home, we are snug in the middle of an urban area. We’ve got squirrels by the score and lots of birds, but that’s about it on the wildlife scale. The last raccoon probably exited German Village in or about 1920.
In Stonington, on the other hand, we’re much closer to woodlands and other areas where the deer and the raccoons play. And that means we need to start thinking, with laser-like focus, on a key issue: raccoons and garbage. Specifically, how do you keep devilishly clever and creative critters, with very nimble, hand-like paws, from getting into your garbage and spreading every disgusting, smelly, damp, coffee ground-covered item all over your driveway and yard that you then have to pick up and rebag in the morning?
We’ve had to up our game in the trash management department. At first, we just put the lid on our trash can. The raccoons saw this lame attempt and no doubt howled with derision, alerted every other raccoon in the area to join the party, promptly removed the lid, and spread the trash around with reckless abandon. Then we locked the lid using handles. The raccoons again chuckled at our ineptitude, knocked over the trash can to free up the trash again, and had a high time cavorting in the refuse. Then we used a pulled-taut bungee cord to lock down the garbage can lid so tightly that it was difficult for even us to open it. The raccoons paused briefly that night, perhaps briefly applauded our more meaningful attempt with their little paws, and then battered the garbage can around and rolled it across the driveway until the bungee cord was loosened and they could get at that delicious garbage once more.
Picking up gross garbage isn’t much fun. The first time, you might ruefully acknowledge the raccoons’ ingenuity, but by clean-up attempt number four you’re cussing the sight and the smell and vowing to outsmart those little bastards at all costs. So now we’ve moved the trash can, with full bungee cord and locking handle protection, behind the fencing under the deck and locked the gate. This morning I went out with some trepidation to see whether the raccoons had figured out a way to access the trash, but — so far at least — the garbage is secure and the lawn shone with dewy pristineness.
I know those conniving creatures are out there somewhere, plotting their next move in this colossal chess match, with garbage as the ultimate prize. Bring it, raccoons! It’s on!