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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Coons and Creeks

The Racoon Capture and Release Program is alive and well on our little farm!  This morning we tagged Coon #30 in the trap!

For those new to this blog, here's a quick review of how we got into the racoon business:

Earlier this spring an adorable mama fox had a litter of cubs in the meadow by our pond.

But then she got a little bolder and set up housekeeping at the edge of our backyard, and started drooling over our feathered friends, the peacocks and duck.

Unwilling to take the .22 to our visitor, we decided the more humane option was a live animal trap.  Great idea!  We have now caught...

The Duck

The Cat

And 30 Racoons!

But no Fox.

All in all it has been an entertaining venture...  We take the coons across the county and release them at the Deep Creek Bridge.  It is one of the only creeks (spring-fed) that is still running during this horrendous drought.  As I said, we are nothing if not humane!  Oh, and did I mention the red stripe we spray-paint down their backs?

We want to make sure we aren't re-trapping the same "family" over and over again!  But, they really, really don't like the fashion statement!    So grumpy...

The drive to Deep Creek Bridge is a pretty one.  With the radio up and the window down, I'm reminded why I love it here so much.

And while the creek isn't Deep, the drop from the bridge certainly is!

After releasing the latest coon and watching him/her waddle off into the brush, I wandered down to the creek bed and just sat awhile.

This spot is so off the beaten track that not a single car or truck passed that way while I soaked in the peace. The solitude was complete, with just the gurgling water and the trill of birds.  Not even a breeze to rustle the leaves, just quiet... A perfect place to think, or not think, maybe to just take some time to grapple with life's bombshells.  Like pancreatic cancer.

It is a hateful, insidious, relentless disease.  And I know it will eventually take mom away from us.   Each day is becoming more and more a struggle as she tries to maintain a foothold with her weight and strength.  And I see her slipping away... ounce by ounce, pound by pound.  Her once strong frame is becoming fragile, the bones pronounced in a way that reminds me of the most delicate fine china, breakable, but still heart-hauntingly beautiful.

The creek flows slowly past over pebbles and rocks, and I watch a small leave fall into the current.

It begins a journey that takes it farther and farther from sight, until finally it drifts around the corner. Tears track my cheeks as I wonder what it will be like the moment mom turns that corner and drifts from our sight.

I can only grapple.

And grieve for what's to come.

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