Canning Raccoons…wait, what?

Ok, so we haven’t been canning raccoons around here (yet), but we have been doing some major canning…and we’ve trapped yet another raccoon.

I’ll start with the fun stuff – the raccoons.  We started trapping these little bandits back in the spring when we were getting ready to plant the garden and when we knew we would be getting chickens (if you didn’t know, they love corn-on-the-cob and are one of the chicken’s deadliest predators).

We have two chest freezers on the porch off the kitchen, and we knew we had a raccoon problem when we went outside to find the lid to one of the freezers open with little muddy foot prints all around the rim and empty zip-lock bags of last year’s squash and an empty bag of chicken tenders.  After that episode, they got more and more bold.  We could stand at the door and watch them dig in the trash only 3 feet away, and they would never even move.

We quickly decided it was time to pull out the live traps.  During the spring, we trapped 9 raccoons, a few opossums, and a couple of wild cats.  Don’t form a protest in my yard, all you crazy PETA people:  we kindly relocated them to a nice wooded area with a creek on some of our land a few miles away.

We thought we had done away with our raccoon population until a couple of days ago when we discovered footprints all around the outside of the chicken coop.  Mess with my chickens???  Not a chance, mister.

We caught him the next night and promptly entered #10 into our raccoon relocation program.

Now, don’t let these cute little innocent-looking eyes fool you…this guy was vicious!  I think he would’ve chewed Barry’s hand off if he could’ve gotten his head through the cage.

As for the canning, we’ve frozen close to 1000 ears of corn (about 3/4 as cream corn and the rest on the cob), a few gallons of peas and butter beans, some okra, bell pepper, and squash.  We’ve canned tomatoes, pickled squash, sweet pickled cucumbers, and pickled okra.

We still have lots of cucumbers, okra, squash, peas, and butter beans coming in so it’s definitely not over.  It always feels so comforting eating vegetables out your freezer in the dead of winter.  We normally freeze everything (including tomatoes), and I did want to can more this year.  Unfortunately, I only managed to can the tomatoes and what we pickled…guess that’s a start.  Hopefully next year I can prepare better to can more – we’ll see.

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  1. Carol · July 11, 2011

    Ahh, the raccoons.A great picture of the one you caught!

    My garden is in a suburban yard, my mini-homestead. We have raccoons, squirrels and chipmunks. My husband uses the live traps also.

    I am impressed with all the produce that you have put up! I supplement the berries, rhubarb, herbs, tomatoes and asparagus from my garden with produce from the farmer’s market.

  2. CreationsbyDina · July 11, 2011

    We use live traps also. But we don’t relocate. We make sure they will not be back. The raccoons will find their way back. We put too much work into our garden and depend on that food to feed our family for the year. So we make every effort to keep them out. My dad will also play a radio in the garden. The coons don’t like the noise. It also keeps other animals out too. they do eventually get used to it so we change the type of music it is playing from time to time!!

  3. Amy · July 12, 2011

    @Carol: Thanks for the comment! I have a few herbs, but I have yet to figure out what to do with them. After the big garden is over for the summer, I’m hoping to have time to read up on how to harvest them. Any suggestions on easy-to-understand books or sites would be greatly appreciated.

    @CreationsbyDina: Well, after seeing even more tracks yesterday morning we’re wondering if we need to stop relocating as well. I really don’t think it’s the same ones we’re relocating since it is several miles from here, but it is possible. I’ve never heard of playing a radio in the garden…that’s definitely an idea…I’m thinking maybe talk radio would be good…LOL. We’ve only had problems in the past with raccoons and deer. We put up an electric deer fence this year to protect the peas, and we didn’t have a problem with raccoons in the garden at all this year (last year they got corn and watermelons). This year, however, we’ve had moles…that’s a first that I can remember.

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