I guess I should have known that the racoons would eventually figure things out, but who knew they could be so clever?
Life in the cabin in the woods, as I had mentioned previously was quite rustic. Since we had no electricity (which also meant there were no utilities bills to pay) we also had no refrigeration. This gave us quite a challenge to overcome as we lived in the cabin during the summer months of July and August and the nearest store was a 15 minute ride to Barrie.
I rigged up a big “ice-box” kind of contraption just outside the cabin and kept it full of ice. It was here where we stored our fresh produce, meats, and any other perishables.
Paula used a wood-oven stove to cook our meals on. It was Jamie’s job to gather and split the wood to fill the wood-box so Paula could literally keep the home fires burning. She boiled water on the stove to wash the dishes and was even able to bake fresh bread in the oven. I’ll admit it got a little hot in the summer, so we ended up moving the stove outside. I made sure it was well enough under the trees so that if it rained, Paula wouldn’t get too wet. She really didn’t like this idea too much – but it worked and it brought both of us back to our childhood. Paula even used “flat irons” that she heated on the stove to iron my shirts. We were really living in the lap of luxury then.
Anyhow, back to the cooler. One night I awoke to a terrible clatter. There were loud screams and banging that sounded like the clash of pots and pans. I threw on my house coat, got the flashlight and headed out the door to see what was the matter. There – on the cooler – were a set of raccoons staring right at me. I’m not sure who was more stunned – the raccoons or I. I guess they must have figured I was some sort of menace since they eventually took off into the woods.
I told Paula the next day that we would have to pay special attention to that cooler as raccoons were clever and could usually figure out how to get into things. She told me not to worry – just put a heavy rock on the top.
The next night – once again – I awoke to loud clatter. The raccoons had knocked off that heavy rock and were working on the locks of the cooler. I shooed them away once again.
“I’ll fix them, ” I said to myself and I went and bought a lock.
The lock did fix them – after all it is a pretty fool-proof security system for even the best of thieves. They tried to get it open. They tried, and they tried, and they tried. They pounded on the lid, they cried, they jumped all around that tin box until I couldn’t stand the noise anymore. The lock worked, but the noise kept me up all night.
My colleagues were a little worried about me the next morning when I crawled into work looking a little haggered.
“What happened to you?”, they asked.
Wearily I replied, “I was up all night listening to a pair of raccoons trying to break into my cold – storage box.”
They looked at me at little stunned. “What do you mean your cold-storage box?”.
“Where we keep our food.”
I think to this day some of them believe that we must have been flat broke and out of luck – and that must be why we had no refrigeration.
I ended up exchanging the tin cold-storage box for a plastic cold-storage box and that ended the night escapades with those raccoons. They eventually gave up trying to break in to the food. But then, I heard them on the roof trying to get down the stove pipe which was connected to the wonderful smells radiating from the oven.
We never did serve up raccoon soup, but we all appreciated the episodes brought to us courtesy of the night bandits.