Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Urban Garden Critter

When one lives in the heart of the city, one can't be too picky about the type of creatures that come to the visit one's garden. Last weekend, I was very lucky to have a blue jay drop by on my back porch to investigate some berry decorations left over from winter. And two cardinals make an appearance every now and then. I consider those bird sightings a real treat, rare as they are.

Read all the garden magazines and they'll tell you that providing food is key to attracting wildlife to the garden. That would explain the regular nightly visits I get from raccoons. Clever creatures. They have discovered my City of Toronto Green Bin and knock it over nightly to feast on my family's scraps. I've tried various things to discourage them: bungee cords to tie the lids down, a brick on top of the bin, and even relocation. But the raccoons have been undeterred.

It's a nuisance to have to clean up the mess they leave. It often leaves me muttering under my breath. When my husband is the one to discover the tipped over bin, I secretly heave a sigh of relief. We've got an unwritten rule in our house regarding our cat: if you find the cat puke, you clean up the cat puke. That rule now applies to the green bin too. But even as we grumble, we have to admit that raccoons are pretty cool.

Last night I heard a crash outside our door. When I went to investigate, I caught one of the green bin tipsters in the act. But my reaction wasn't to try and shoo it away. I didn't get angry. Instead, I called to my husband: "Come quick. Check this out." There we were, two adults, standing on the steps at midnight, watching a raccoon eat garbage. Wonders never cease.

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