Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Landscape battles!

Or "Crappy decisions we've inherited from our landlord". We moved two weeks ago. To a house. Very exciting, big upgrade in rental status. We feel very accomplished and luxurious. Or we did until we saw this:
Half of our landscape is wild and neglected, the other half was landscaped to within an inch of its life right before we moved in. This is just a section of our ravaged, landscaped yard. Our landlord thought that woodchips over plastic would keep the weeds down and be low maintenance. Um, yes. It would have been true if a) the trees didn't shed worse than a maltese and b) we weren't UNDER ATTACK FROM THE CRITTERS! After letting us sit pretty for our first week here, the local wildlife union has gotten together and declared a strike on our yard due to unfair labor practices, i.e. making them work harder to get the same amount of nuts, roots and worms. Their tactic? Digging up the edges of all the plastic hidden below the woodchips.
Ever wonder if that yardscape plastic/netting is in one big sheet or sections? I know the answer. It's in sections. I know this because every edge has been exposed in our yard. Edges marked with bricks have been thrown in disarray, holes have been dug and generally devastation has been wrought. All of which we can see from our front door.

Now, like many strikes, I agree with their aims. Free nuts/roots/worms for all! And left to our own devices, we wouldn't have put in wood chips because its really stupid to put wood chips in areas surrounded by shedding trees. Seriously, how do you rake that? (This could just be my renter ignorance talking--maybe this madness is shared by all homeowners.)

At first we thought it was squirrels. Oh, the poor squirrels, we thought, they buried their nuts in the summer and now they want to dig them up. Poor things. Then the bricks started to be moved. Then whole sections of plastic were uprooted. Then we thought it was the friend we have staying with us, G. Why G would do something so bizarre, we didn't know. Turns out he didn't do it either. Maybe strangers were sneaking into our yard and digging for oil?

Then, late one night, we saw the Critters. They are not small. They are not cute. They are the grumpy raccoon and skunk clans of Oakland. How they hid themselves until now is a huge question because they are roughly the size of bison. And they are on strike. In our yard. Squirrels we could maybe buy off with bird food, but raccoons? Um, I don’t think so.

G used to live in not-at-all-wooded downtown Boston. He was out doing wind sprints at 1 am one night (of course he was, that's totally normal) and a flippin' deer appeared from nowhere, ran down the street, and bounded past him into the night. Even though he was alone, he did a double take to see if anyone else saw the thing. He said it was the damnedest thing he's ever seen. He's the only one who's seen the skunk and raccoons, and he fully expects deer any minute. Guess we should buy a salt lick. I hear deer like salt. Anyone want to buy some wood chips?


  1. I knew it was the skunks! I love them ... they have full blown skunk highways that they travel every night. Like clockwork they would travel through my backyard in Oakland.

    If I was going to arrive late, I would have to make a lot of noise as I came through the gate and then wait until I could here them making the retreat.

    I have less love for the raccoons ... particularly because they are not into being friends or sharing or anything neighborly.

    When one wanted to move in the landlady and I went to war with the mama raccoon... it was frequently scary and the only way to make her go away was to make the place not a good space for a nest ...

    GOOD LUCK and say hi to the stinky ones for me!!

  2. I think its the claw hands those raccoons have. Makes 'em uppity.

    Thanks for the well wishes. We're debating our tactical responses. Or non-response if we decided to be lazy.


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