At 10:45 PM, Stubble came up to our room to announce, "Mom, the raccoons are back and they're trying to break into the pond! And THIS time there are SIX of them!"
Of course I
One of them was on the lattice "roof" of the pond enclosure, another was inside having already uprooted the waterlilies. Two youngsters were running about by the back fence. For some unknown reason, the motion sensor lights had not come on. Well, not really an UNKNOWN reason. Somebody had turned them off, leading to the incursion into my territory.
As I found out later, the lights would not have deterred them as the elder raccoon has discovered a path to the pond guaranteed not to trigger the lights - over our neighbor's garden shed, down our fence by the bird bath, along the back of our shed and then up the wrought iron framework of the gazebo and finally into the pond itself...
Our timely entrance into the field of battle disturbed the maruaders and the adults retreated as quickly as they could given the need to stick to the shadows. The two unfortunate youngsters, however, could not scale the stockade fence and fell repeatedly as they tried to climb it in the birdbath area. As the intrepid Stubble closed in, flashlight in hand, they began to scurry back and forth along the fence, chirping for help. Their mother hissed at us from the top of the fence.
Stubble grabbed a plastic parson's table from the patio and placed it so as to assist the littlest raccoons in their escape attempts.
"I'm only trying to help! Don't you growl at me!" muttered Stubble to the mother raccoon who was by this time sitting upright on a cinderblock fence post, expressing her displeasure at the proceedings.
By then our neighbors were alerted to the goings on and offered their encouragement from their well lit back patio, which served to close off several potential escape routes for the furry invaders.
One of the youngsters managed to run to the front of our house and climb the reinforcing structure of the gate from which he fled to the safety of a darkened driveway. The second, having retreated to the narrow passage behind the shed, managed to climb the gazebo wall from which he could reach the top of the fence quite handily.
Today the planning shall begin for a means to repel the nocturnal visitors once and for all!