As I write this, I’m sitting on a sunny deck, in the shade of an umbrella, any icy drink by my side, a cool breeze blowing and down-tempo beats urging me to put away the keyboard and take a lazy, Sunday afternoon nap. (I will resist temptation, for your sake, dear reader).
It’s been slow in coming, but summer finally arrived in Ottawa on Victoria Day weekend.
Actually, the fact that it dragged its heels a bit this year isn’t a bad thing. I wouldn’t have been ready had it arrived any sooner. I only just made it to the nursery on Friday to pick up this year’s batch of plants, and it wasn’t until Saturday evening that I got them all in place.
In fact, I didn’t even START de-winterize my deck until about two weeks ago – and that was an event in itself.
For the winter, I stack all my patio furniture and cover it with a tarp, pushing it up against the building where it stays relatively snow-free. I’ve been doing that for years now and it has always worked well.
This year, before I unpacked everything, I decided I needed to scrub the deck, and as I was preparing to do so, I moved the stack of patio furniture away from the wall and started to remove the tarp.
Not in a rush, I took the tarp halfway off and turned around to fill the bucket with water and environmentally-friendly cleaning product. As I turned back to the stack of furniture, I heard scratching behind me.
A raccoon was clawing at the PVC fencing, clearly in a panic to escape the enclosed deck space and get away from me. Given the potential for rabies, the feeling was mutual.
It seems he had been using the covered space as his home and, as I disturbed him, he climbed out from the pile of furniture and snuck around behind me.
I grabbed the garden hose and, standing where I could easily lock myself indoors if he charged me, started to spray the critter to encourage him to leave.
It took awhile – raccoons are not the most agile creatures – but eventually I chased him up the tree and out of my space.
He hung around as I continued my cleaning, and he watched as I destroyed his makeshift house. By the time I finished cleaning the deck and rearranging the furniture, it was clear that any hope he had of finding shelter on my patio had been wiped away.
I assume he has found a new home somewhere nearby, but it’s not my concern. What IS my concern is figuring out how to prevent him coming back next winter. I figure moth balls will be involved somehow.
Whatever… He’s gone and I’m focused on the present. My new goal: spend more time on the deck now that it’s pimped out for summer!! Who wants to join me?