As Bob and I were sitting on the couch and I was playing on the computer, I started hearing this HUGE ruckus that I assumed was coming from the library. It sounded like the cats were dismembering something made out of cellophane, with occasional interludes of knocking things down. After some period of time I finally said "WHAT are they DOING in there?" and got up to investigate.
As I walked past the open front door, it became apparent that the noise in question was coming from *outside,* and was getting louder and possibly closer. Once that realization dawned, it was immediately obvious that the cellophane noise was something large crashing around in the leaves, and the thumps were it impacting trees - or maybe the neighbor's bit of fence next to their trash cans. Now, when you look out my front door, what you see are trees. Right there. Face full of evergreen. Woods right up to the door. I'm going to guess that the drip line of the hemlocks (which are likely going to die from the wooly adelgid infestation) is probably ten or fifteen feet from the front door. I snapped "Bob! Flashlight!" and stood looking out into the dark.
There I am, standing behind nothing more than a piece of aluminum holding a full-length screen, listening to the rustling and crashing, and thinking "Bear! BearbearbearBearBEARBEARBEAR!!!" and waiting to slam the door shut as it bursts out of the trees.
This would be a downside of a house in the trees.
Bob brought me a flashlight, and obviously all I could see with it were better lit hemlocks. Then I saw something move. It moved really fast, and VERY strangely, but it was way too small to be a bear. Then it came out into the light - just before it ran into a tree, the front steps, and the side of the house.
I have never felt sorry for a raccoon before.
It was a good sized raccoon, and it had clearly gotten into the neighbor's garbage shortly after he put it out. In that garbage was a plastic Miracle Whip jar, and the poor coon had gotten his head wedged into it and could not get it off. In a panic, he was crashing around and intermittently stopping to claw at the jar. Bob and I both wanted to go out and help, but luckily we both knew that was *way* too dangerous.
Just as we got to the point where I was thinking about the big cat carrier, boots, and shovels, our little scavenger caught the lip of the jar on just the right projection of rock on our front walk, and managed to pull it off his head. At that point he backed up a couple of feet and just stood there breathing hard.
Eventually he moved away from the house into my hosta garden, and at that point stopped and settled in to stare longingly at the jar. I swear that little walnut-brain was thinking "Okay, getting stuck sucked, but there was some really yummy stuff in there. Maybe if I try it from a different angle..." When he moved further off and went up a tree, Bob went out to retrieve the jar and threw it away in our trash - which stays inside the garage. I don't like having it in there, but I like having bear E-9 on our porch less.
This reinforced for me that I put all lids back on after they've been rinsed but before they go in the recycling bin. That was terrible to watch.