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Mona's Plum Tree,
by Dee Walmsley,
Clever's nature writer

(and a word about volunteering
at your local wildlife center)


Since meeting and becoming friends with Mona A. her attitude towards raccoons has changed completely.
Yes, she saw them in her yard and feared for the safety of her cat.
Yes, she scared them off whenever possible.
Yes, her neighbours also disliked the pesky beasts.
Since sharing this newsletter and my personal raccoon stories with Mona, she has come to appreciate and even enjoy these masked bandits.  That is, until recently.
Mona has a lovely garden overlooking the ocean. Bald eagles perch atop giant firs surveying their kingdom. Humpback Whales mist the air as they glide by while resident Orcas breech in play.
Now Mona appreciates all of nature's treasures but the one jewel in her crown is her plum tree. Each spring she anxiously watches the bees buzzing by pollinating each awaiting blossom. When the petals fall revealing the birth of each plum she salivates in anticipation.  Mona loves plums, but then so do raccoons, and after watching daily as they ripened she couldn't believe her eyes when her beloved plums began to fall. 

On her way out the door she stood aghast as the sight before her.  Four darling little raccoon kits sat smacking their lips as mum up the tree carefully picked the juicy fruit and tossed it down to her  precious babes.

Mona didn't know whether to laugh or cry, she did however quickly pick those plums the moment the last ring tail disappeared over the bluff.

(Editor's note: as some of you may know, my husband and I volunteer for the Silicon Valley Wildlife Center. This summer ('08) the center has more than its share of raccoon kits. 17 came in at one time. My husband goes down to the local independent market once or twice a week, (chain supermarkets are not as eager to share their over-ripe fruit and veggies) and he picks up the produce that the market is fixing to toss out. They gladly let him take whatever he wants (thanks to Zannotto's Family Markets of San jose). He usually has several grocery bags of fruit and veggies  to hand over to the wildlife center, which the raccoons, as well as the other animals, really appreciate. The animals under care, many birds, squirrels, possums, as well as raccoons, thrive on it.

Check out your local animal rehabilitation center. They can use a hand, even if you don't have much time. And they always appreciate donated items: fresh food for the animals, anything that can be used as bedding, some types of pet food -- check with them first -- and of course, most of all, they can use your time. It's a very rewarding bit of volunteering. And you might be surprised at how much you can learn -- from and about wildlife. )

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