Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   raccoon in altercation
Saturday, March 22 2014
This morning while walking the dogs back homeward on the Stick Trail, I carried a firewood load of about 72 pounds over the length of nearly three quarters of a mile (to cover a great circle distance of 0.63 miles) back from a dead & dry six-inch-diameter oak I felled at 41.92232N, 74.10289W. The snowpack today was more soft than slippery, but the unpredictability of how far a footfall would sink into it made the walk much less comfortable than it otherwise would have been. I did the whole walk without resting, but by the end I felt weak and uncomfortable.
I'd got out of bed at around noon, and that late start (coupled with the long dog walk) meant that by the time I thought about making myself a cup of tea it was well into the afternoon. For the past couple weeks, I've been trying to go a whole day without caffeine, and today it seemed like a good one to finally pull it off. Strangely, the caffeine withdrawal wasn't as bad as I expected. I think it was negated somewhat by the alcohol hangover from overindulging last night. Also: it helped to take a bath.
Gretchen returned from the City in the afternoon, and after sharing various leftover gourmet restaurant leftovers with me, headed off to a shift at the bookstore.

At some time between midnight and 1:00am, Gretchen was in bed reading and I had my head under a pillow to block out the light and any sound. Suddenly there was a commotion downstairs (it sounded like creatures running into walls). Ramona immediately ran downstairs, as did Gretchen. So I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs, passing Eleanor as she ran up the stairs. She was panting and looked as though she'd a ghost. By this point Gretchen was out in front of the house shouting at Ramona, "No!" What the hell?
Somehow Gretchen pulled Ramona into the house and we barricaded the pet door as Gretchen explained what had happened. The altercation had involved a raccoon, and by the time she'd come upon the scene, the raccoon in question was on its back out in front of the house with Ramona attacking it from above. But every indication suggested that this all began when that same raccoon had come in through the pet door and Eleanor challenged it. Evidently the raccoon had successfully rebuffed Eleanor, but Ramona had succeeded in pursuing him out the pet door.
Gretchen and I went outside and could hear the raccoon under the front entranceway to the house, where there's a small crawlspace accessible from the outside. He was chortling occasionally in what I took to be a somewhat threatening way. I had no desire to root him out of there, so we went back in the house and left the pet door latched for the night, making sure first that Clarence the Cat was inside.
So what had happened? My guess is that we were dealing with a raccoon that knows how to operate pet doors and perhaps has had luck stealing cat food from other houses (perhaps even ours). The presence of dogs might have surprised him, though it's hard to imagine he was completely unaware that dogs live in our house. The fact that he'd somehow managed to fight off Eleanor implied that he wasn't all that frightened of dogs. Another interpretation is that he was rabid. It's a good thing that our dogs have had their rabies shots!

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