I stayed with friends in Woodinville during the six weeks when my balance and dizziness problems were at their worst. Other friends who lived nearby brought meals for me. (Now that I’m back in my Seattle home, one friend is staying with me, and my neighbors are bringing me dinners so that I can have some transition time.) It is wonderful to have the support of so many people.
There are deer in the place I stayed in Woodinville. After I had been there for awhile, I started walking between the house and the front gate. At first, I only made it a third of the way to the gate. On the day before I left, I walked the “round trip” four times in the morning and 2 or 3 times in the evening! And I had cut my time down from 10 minutes per round to 6 minutes.
One day when I was walking, I spotted a deer.
When she saw me, she came closer. She would peek out at me in-between the trees that lined the road. Usually by the time I could get my phone ready to take a photo, she would be looking a different direction. Then she would dart away, only to show up a bit down the road. It felt like a game of peekaboo.
I cropped the photo above two times.
Once the doe reached the part of the road between the front gate and the house where there is no fencing, she ran away. I didn’t see her again that day. But what fun it had been… hopefully for both of us.
The Seattle Parks Department gave our Greenbelt Restoration Project a job box that contains the tools we need to clear the land in our Greenbelt restoration site. That box is chained to one of the large cedar trees on the property.
Several weeks ago, I noticed that an animal was defecating near the base of that tree. Over the week, the pile grew. I wondered if a cat was using that spot for its personal litter box. I thought about cleaning it up but didn’t.
One day, another forest steward noticed the pile and commented. She thought it had been left by something bigger than a cat and wondered if it was droppings from a deer. Earlier in the week, someone had asked me if we had ever seen deer on the site. I said “No.” I loved the idea but wonder if deer could live in the inner city and stay safe.
After this interaction, it occurred to me that not only was the poop pile unsightly, it was also disrespectful to the tree. I cleaned it up and buried the feces. The next morning, there were two more piles. One had an unusual consistency and I wondered if the animal had diarrhea. (The two photos below were taken a day later so the feces were no longer fresh.)
Aside from being irritated that my effort to clean the area hadn’t done any good, I was curious. I wanted to find out what animal was leaving these droppings. It was time to investigate.
I found a Scat ID section on the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management (ICWDM) website. ICWDM is “a non-profit, grant-funded site that provides research-based information on how to handle wildlife damage problems responsibly.” (The next series of photos were used with ICWDM’s permission.)
The description offered by the ICWDM said:
Raccoon (Procyon lotor): Droppings are 2 to 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. You often can identify what a raccoon recently has been eating. Corn kernels or fruit may be visible, for example. Droppings frequently are found in piles, called latrines, on roofs, in attics, in sandboxes, or open areas. Raccoons defecate in the same location.
Ah ha….. I hadn’t noticed anything peculiar about the first droppings but the last set were full of seeds/pits. Since there are big cherry trees on the property, and the cherry’s are ripe and falling, the animal had more than likely been eating cherries. My conclusion was that the pile was probably left by a raccoon, possibly a raccoon with diarrhea from eating too many cherries!
Realizing that the animal may have been a raccoon brought back memories; memories of standing on the land that is now Greenbelt, holding Sreejit as an infant, with a raccoon chasing our dog around and around me; memories of coming out to the tree-house that I had slept in April to October for five years only to find two big raccoons standing on their hind legs between me and it (that was the end of my sleeping in the tree house); memories of four raccoons, which are usually nocturnal, crossing my yard in broad daylight.
I haven’t seen a raccoon in this area for a decade. I like the idea of them, along with other wildlife, returning to the Greenbelt, but I hope that their activity is at night. And I’m glad that this land has mostly been cleared so it is likely they would choose a less visible site to sleep. Regardless, I am clearly being presented with the opportunity to work on my past fear.
Back to the story at hand…. scat, feces, poop, defecation, droppings…
Who would have thought that I would ever be investigating and blogging about “poop.” My life has taken an interesting turn… and I love it!
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”-William Shakespeare