The wild animals of the forest

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I’m told the term “co-ed” is archaic, sexist and offensive. So I apologize to anyone who is offended. I just like to use it because it’s so short and terse and only 4-letters.

My campsite in the Berkeley hills is pretty secluded. And people rarely come up there. Especially during the late-night/early-morning hours that I occupy it. But every now and then I’ll run into somebody. Like this one unfortunate interaction I had with this young Berkeley co-ed this one time.

I woke up one morning and I noticed somebody had left these dinner plates on the ground near where I sleep. And the plates had a layer of white powder on them. I just figured somebody had had a picnic lunch there the day before and hadn’t bothered to clean up their mess. So I tossed the plates in a garbage can down the road. And didn’t think anything more about it. Until:

A couple hours later when I was approached by this UC cop, and this young Berkeley co-ed who appeared somewhat distraught.

“Did you happen to notice two dinner plates that were lying on the ground here?” asked the cop.

‘Yeah,” I said. “I thought they were litter so I tossed them in the garbage can.”

It turned out the plates were part of a science project the co-ed was doing for her science class. She was trying to determine what kind of wild animals lived in the deep, dark woods, by seeing what kind of foot-prints were left in the wild powder, and then matching the foot-prints to the particular animals. And now I had done destroyed her darn science project. So that was fucked.

I went down and retrieved her plates from the garbage can. And then packed up all my camping stuff and left, because the cop told me I couldnt camp there anymore (camped somewhere else for a couple days and then moved right back).

But I always thought the co-ed should have written that all up in her project report. Because she had indeed discovered a wild animal that was living I the woods thanks to her plates. Me.

Dealing with wild animals. And being dealt with.

The raccoons are driving me nuts again.

I like to feed my feral cats when I get up to my campsite at night.  But lately this pack of raccoons have been waiting for me.   They hide in the bushes at the foot of the trail leading to my campsite.  I can’t see them in the darkness, except for their glowing white eyes.   With a little spook.  Usually there’s 5 or 6 of the hairy beasts.  About 30, 40 pounds each.  When they spot me, they follow me as I head up the trail.  It’s like having an entourage or something.

So now I can’t win.  If I put out the cat food, the raccoons immediately pounce on it and run the feral cats off.  But if I DON’T put out the cat food, my cats pester me all night, crying to be fed.

So last night I solved the problem this way. I had a big box of leftover boneless fried chicken.  So I flung half the chicken in one direction — and all the raccoons went running after it.  Then I flung the rest of the chicken in the other direction for my cats.

Dealing with wild animals can be like dealing with a bunch of bratty little children.  With claws and fangs.

 (click on the word “video” to watch the video)