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I never really grasp how blessed we are to live here in the Ozarks until I get home from traveling.  Yes, there are some beautiful places across this country, but the Ozarks is truly the end of the rainbow in my opinion.  Here we have the most glorious landscape of forests, farmland, lakes and streams.  We are blessed with a great variety of wild game and native fruit and nut trees.  Our weather allows us to have a long enough growing season to grow everything we need.  These are the things I think of when traveling.  I’m always comparing it seems.

This week we traveled up north through Wisconsin and into northern Minnesota before coming home.  Lake Superior is surely a sight to behold and the north woods, with all its pine trees, is beautiful too.  My parent’s family comes from northern Minnesota, so we had lots of family to visit.  If you can imagine, there were two days where we had to wear our coats.  Coats, in late July.  It was a good trip; however, it was even better to come home.  Home to the roosters crowing, the coyotes howling, the cicadas singing, and the tomatoes hanging heavy on the vine.  Up north, their tomatoes aren’t even knee high yet.

We also came home to more sweet little chicks hatching.  Our daughter had to help a little guinea keet out of its shell so we took a video of the procedure and started a YouTube channel to share these experiences with others.  We also came home to discover we were being visited by a coon.  No damage was done, but we set the trap out with a few eggs in it.

If you have ever tried to trap a coon, you are well aware of how tricky they can be, so you have to keep one step ahead of them.  Coons don’t like to enter a trap if they don’t have to, so they will reach in through the wire to get the bait if they can reach it.  If they can’t reach it, they will turn the trap over to move the bait within their reach if possible.  We have learned to wire the trap in two different places so they can’t move it.  Once the trap is wired in place, we take a miniature bread pan and place a few fresh eggs in it.  They cannot refuse a few fresh eggs.  Once we had the trap set, we settled in for the evening.  In the wee hours of the morning, I woke up and decided to take a peek at the trap through the window with the flashlight.  There were two coons investigating the trap.  There was a very large one and a medium sized one.  I’m guessing it was a mama and half grown baby.  At first, the mama was trying to reach into the wired end of the trap.  If they can reach the eggs through the wire, they will break them open and then eat as much of it as they can, then leave.  She didn’t seem to be successful with that so she walked around by the door of the trap and without stepping into the trap, she reached into it as far as she could, trying to get the eggs.  That didn’t work so she walked around the trap a few times before I finally decided to go back to bed fully satisfied that she would be in the trap come morning.  She was not in the trap come morning.  The baby was in the trap.  I say baby, but it was as big as a medium sized cat.  Yes it was adorable and still is, don’t worry.

The next night I was even more determined to catch the big coon.  We carefully wired it to both trees, placed four large, fresh eggs in the pan and set the door very lightly so it would spring easily.  This time I didn’t peek at the trap all night.  The next morning, there she was.  She was not as friendly as her baby.  Coons have a growl to them that will set your teeth on edge.  They also have a smell to them that will make you hold your breath, and the flies ….. anyway, you get the idea.  For supposedly being so clean with their food, they sure need to learn how to take a bath.

Now I know all of the suggestions people have for dealing with coons.  To each his own.  None of the ones we get are ever hurt.  That’s just not something we do.  I am tempted at times, especially now that I have found them in the garden eating our ripe tomatoes before I can get to them, however, that is just part of living out here and we dearly love living here in the Ozarks.

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