Raccoons: 1, Lori: 0

We noticed, a little while ago, that there were holes in the lawn.

Actually, first we noticed some dead grass and concluded the gardeners just hadn’t quite raked all of it up.

Despite never having done that before.

Then we noticed that the dead grass was really clumps of grass, roots and all.

We concluded that the gardeners had done some aerating.

Despite never having done that before.

Also, this piece of rationalizing required we believe that aerating a lawn is accomplished by ripping clumps of it out by the roots.

Please don’t ask how many years of post-secondary education Himself and I have. It makes this story even more embarrassing.

So this past week, the gardeners came. (Because money is lean, we only get to have the gardeners once a month. In the meantime, we have to take full responsibility for ignoring the yard without them.)

On the bill was a note: “There are raccoons tearing up the lawn. If this keep happening call us and we’ll put something out to drive them away.”


Raccoons are destroying my lawn? Noooo….

But a few days later, the damage was more pronounced than ever. These little suckers are doing some serious damage to the suburban glory that is my lawn. I can’t live here and not have a lawn. All the other moms will friggin’ laugh me outta my Sketchers. And I already have the damn Pumpkin War to fight.

I surveyed the damage to the back yard. It was pretty serious. This was not the work of casual raccoon mischief. There was intent here, there was purpose. There was clearly a plan, and possibly even a map. Something wasn’t just being dug up, something was being buried.

That’s when I figured it out.

Pirate raccoons.

I’m only 12 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean as the crow flies (or as the pirate raccoon sails), so I put this well within the realm of possibility.

It all makes sense. Pirate raccoons, desperate to hide their booty from the Imperial Coast Guard Dragoons, search high and low for a safe place to…



I knew it.

Pirate raccoons are burying their treasure in my yard.

Now all I need is a shovel and prescription for Prozac.

Because when I look at the Swiss cheese that is now my back lawn, I turn into this:

Raccoon perm.

Like it?

PS – Special thanks to Mommy Pants for the post that inspired the comment that inspired this…oh, let’s just go ahead and say “masterpiece.”


  1. That final picture should really be put up in a museum somewhere. And, who knew that raccoons wore earrings? This is why I love the internet.

    Best of luck with your lawn. FYI — dirt yards can be quite lovely.

  2. When I still lived at home we had a raccoon problem – they were eating our HOUSE. Just thinking about those little vermin gnawing on our home all Hansel and Gretel style is enough to give me an attack of the vapors.

      1. I’m pretty sure that house chomping is worth like negative a million Martha Points. Can I get the expert to weigh in on this?

        Just thinking about those house eating bandits is enough to give me another attack of the vapors.

        Someone please pass the smelling salts.

  3. Where you had to hide in the closet to snap the shot of the phantom lightbulbs, where are you going to hide to get the shot of the gold burying racoons. Lori, you better have himself crush up some no-doz to put in that foo foo coffee drink of yours because you may never sleep again.

    1. I think a military style bivouac in the space where the hot-tub used to be oughtta do it, don’t you think?

      And I’m so damned sensitive to caffeine that really all I need is my foo drink after dinner.

      I will then greet the sun.

      Can’t even drink a bloody pepsi after noon.

  4. Just watch out for the Raccoon equivalent of Captain Jack Sparrow…he’ll be the slightly drunken one with the English accent that makes him sound like Keith Richards….

  5. When we have a raccoon problem DH sits out in the dark for an evening and shoots at them with my .357. Sometimes he even hits them, but mostly I think he scares them away.
    We have friends who trap them in small animal traps, but then you have a trapped raccoon & the county animal management people won’t take it & they claim you can’t legally take it anywhere, plus in the city there is a law against discharging firearms so you can’t shoot it. So they ended up gassing them with exhaust from an old car.
    Then there are the people who toss Juicyfruit gum in the holes on the theory that the raccoons eat it but can’t process it and it gums up their intestines and eventually kills them that way.
    Just making some suggestions

    1. I don’t really want them dead…I just want them to NOT RIP UP MY LAWN.

      Actually it does sort of make me wonder what the hell they’ve decided they want now.

      I mean, the raccoons have been here for a while, we’ve been here with our lawn for a while…what magic thing changed that made our lawn a tasty snack?

      1. Grubs usually are the cause of birds and raccoons and other animals digging up the lawn. But is sounds like they were trying hide buried treasure alright!

        We had an infestation last year and I spent hours killing the bastards so we wouldn’t get nocturnal visitors other than the cat that sends Zuul into murderous insanity.

        Grubs also kill the lawn by munching on the sweetest tender roots of your grass at the surface causing whole handfuls to come up.

      2. I think you’re right, I think it is grubs.

        Which is probably what the gardeners are going to really get rid of, since I’m not sure what repels raccoons.

        Although when we had the skunk two years ago, we got rid of it by putting out bags of coyote poop.

        Not kidding.

        You can buy it.

        $25 a bag.

  6. I love it! Classic artwork – at it’s best. I found your blog 2 days ago – linked over from Crunchy Betty – and have done absolutely nothing at work the last two days. I must get some work done or I will find myself out on my ear and no viable home-business opportunity unless you are in a position to hire someone from Montana?? :) Love your blog – I have laughed until I cried. However, I must go be responsible now – there are Martha points for responsibility are there not?!?!

    1. Welcome!

      Pull up a…umm…I think there’s an ottoman under here somewhere…

      And yes, maintaining dutiful and gainful employment and earning Le Paycheck earns points.

      Cause otherwise how else could you afford the materials to make your hand-woven corn-husk potholders??

      1. Well there ya go. I knew there was a reason I wasted my life behind this desk. Corn-husk potholders are all the rage now!

      2. In subtle jewel tones.

        You know, plumb, dark orange, gold…

        You can’t actually USE them, owing to the combustable-ness, but damn do they look good!

  7. This? Is classic. Those are some solid Paint drawings, my friend. and of COURSE they weren’t just regular raccoons. Regular raccoons would just piss me off, but pirate raccoons you just have to respect a little.

    1. They’re pretty damn crafty, as I really have NO idea where the treasure chest is actually hidden.

      It’s not a BIG lawn, but it’s going to take some effort to find anything worthwhile.

      I plan on making the kids do it.

  8. We used to battle the pirate raccoons here as well. Except at my house, they go around systematically digging up all of the plants and bulbs I plant. Last year, they dug up all of my newly planted daffodil bulbs, and I was irate.

    I’ve been to lazy to plant anything this year, so they seem to have moved on to someone else’s yard. Or perhaps they’ve migrated to your house. If you see daffodils springing up in your lawn next spring, my suspicions will be confirmed.

    1. So far, no daffodils.

      Although it did not occur to me that perhaps the holes were being dug for later planting.

      I kinda like the buried treasure idea better.

      Although daffodils are nice.

  9. I’m suspicious of the diagnosis. Pirate raccoons?

    I’m not Marlin Perkins of WildKingdom fame, but me thinks you might have a BillMurrayGopher problem, a la Caddyshack, that will require Rodney Dangerfield and some explosives to remediate.

    “In the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, ‘Au revoir, gopher’. “

    1. Plus, you know, the extra benefit of getting to blast Kenny Loggins tunes.

      Cause those opportunities just don’t come up as often as they should.

  10. Lori, have you ever thought about going into graphic design for extra money?

    There’s a HUGE need for cartoon raccoons with earrings these days.

    Also, this reminds me of a story my dad tells every 10 minutes: When he was in college and visiting his mom’s house, she complained about the raccoons getting in the trash. So he staked out the trash one night with a BB gun, and then shot at them when they came around.

    You could do that.

    Just don’t shoot up your mom’s car by accident, like he did.

    1. My mother used to perch herself at her screen and shoot the bluejays and cats because they ate and/or terrorized the smaller birds.

      I do not recall her ever accidentally shooting her own car.

      But she probably wouldn’t tell me if she did.

      1. I wisely moved my car out of the line of fire. I did once hit my father’s garage with a pump-action pellet rifle, and he took away my gun. I was 45 at the time.

  11. Dear Ms. Lori,
    It is about time you called in an expert. Fortunately, Mother Hen is here to save the day.
    Pirate racoons, her tushie!
    You have grubs (fortunately only in your lawn). Chickens like to eat grubs. By rights, all grubs should belong to us, since racoons have many more dietary options.
    There are some little organism-thingies from the garden nursery store that you can put on your lawn that kill grubs. However, where Mother Hen lives apparently that can only be done in the summer.
    MH is flabbergasted that your gardiners didn’t come up with this, but then, no one is as much of an expert as Mother!
    Smugly yours,
    Mother Hen

    1. You know, I kinda figured it was something like that because, really, why on earth would raccoons just all of a sudden start digging up my lawn?

      And it’s possible that an anti-grub thing is what the gardeners have in mind, their phrasing wasn’t all that clear.

      But if the gardeners seem confused I will certainly refer them to you in the future, wise Mother Hen.

  12. I had no idea racoons would tear up a yard! I just thought they went for the garbage! I’m sure you will come out on top in the long run! Go fight those bandits!

    1. They are turning into quite the menace.

      Also, when our next door neighbor goes on vacation, we have to man her cat-door every day.

      If the cat door is left unlocked and the house is empty for more than one night, they will sneak in and eat all the cat food.

      Crafty little buggers.

    1. I’m gonna need the treasure to pay for the replacement lawn!

      Those damned critters are doing some serious damage!

      Plus, Himself turned the garage door into an accordian. The door is going to need to be replaced. The door we bought LAST YEAR now needs to be replaced.

      Treasure would come in REAL handy right about now.

  13. I admit I’m a little disappointed there wasn’t a parrot perched on a little raccoon shoulder. Plus if you also found parrot poop in your back yard the diagnosis could be confirmed. Maybe you could put a camera out there at night like that creepy movie where the guy filmed their bedroom so they could see when the ghost was coming in, not that I saw the movie but I saw the commercials and these days that’s enough to fully have the movie experience. Especially because I only see movies with animated figures. Although I think I would go see a movie about pirate raccoons.

    1. Sorry about the parrot. I got kinda worn out with the treasure chest. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get the perspective on a treasure chest right in PAINT?

      I think I should be int the Guggenheim for that one.

      And I would totally go see a movie about raccoons. I just came from a movie about warrior owls, why not?

  14. I take your raccoon if you take my gopher. Oh, wait, I already have the raccoon. That little pirate is on BOTH sides of the fence whereas the gopher only throws soil up on my side. Shall I send him over for the balance?

    1. The gopher is actually messing up the gravel patio we put in last year, so apparently he’s happy to spread the joy around.

      But the raccoons are doing a serious number on the lawn.

      I am having a hard time finding the wildlife charming at the moment.

  15. Happy sighs.

    I was here yesterday to admire your raccoon drawings. Love your artwork! And here I am again, all swoony over the pirated pests.

    We don’t have pirates. Or raccoons.

    We have moles.

    Every morning I go out and stomp down the small roadmap of pushed-up grass that marks the paths of their tunnels. And every night, the moles come through and shove the ceilings of their hallways upward again.

    We have agreed to disagree, the moles and I.

    1. I am really waiting for SOMEONE to say, “My god, woman! Look at the amazing perspective on that treasure chest! How do you do it? In Paint no less!”

      Cause to date no one has appreciated that in a way that I find appropriate.

      And I am laughing at you arguing design features with the moles.

      With your foot.

      “You do NOT need vaulted ceilings! That is so last season!” STOMP STOMP.

  16. We don’t get raccoons here, but we do have our share of deer, squirrels and birds. Oh and snakes. And mischief minded kids. It’s that last one that does the most damage.

    1. I know, and the season on mischief minded kids is so darned short!

      You have to be content with tagging them and monitoring their migratory habits.

      And the deer here snack on my roses.

      Which causes me to stand in my front yard in my robe and fuzzy slippers saying words that would make Bambi blush.

  17. Damn raccoons. And pirates, at that! See, I was with you on that whole aerating the lawn thing…but leave it to the gardeners to know best.

    Makes me feel guilty for dressing as a raccoon at school. Sorry. Will not send pictures, as you may have flashbacks and nightmares.

    Did you hear the size of the winning pumpkin in Half Moon Bay??! At least it wasn’t the lady with the pumpkins on her roof. Ha!

    1. You dressed as a raccoon?

      But I want to see pictures of you dressed as a raccoon!

      Were you a pirate raccoon? Cause that would have been too funny a coincidence.

      But please don’t dig up anyone’s lawn, ok?

  18. I love your official names. I’ve been that home-ownerus hystericus before too. But our rogue animals are rabbits that squeeze through the fence and eat EVERYTHING!

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