Winds of Change…Change Life for Wildlife

On Friday June 23rd around 7:30 a.m. the storm produced by Hurricane Cindy blew through my neighborhood, bringing with it high winds and driving rain.

This is what a typical morning in my yard looked like before Cindy:

Huck in front brings the wife and kids for breakfast.

On Friday morning the above photo was business as usual, except a bit soggier. Huck and his family are a lot like mail carriers…neither wind or rain will keep them from stopping by for brekkie.

Meanwhile my Garage Band, Nikolas and Jesse, were in their lair hard at work on a new song (written by our resident songtress Dori–she says the song’s title is Buy Me A Cow).

As the storm was rolling in, I closed the door, and then went to check on Chevy who was now on a chair, hiding under the patio table. As Chevy hasn’t been with us long and is still enrolled in Social Skillz 101, he’s been given yard access, but unfortunately has to weather the weather outside.

In his past life as a homeless stray, he was a brawler–he has two chewed ears to prove it. And because Frank was a brawler in his past life as a homeless stray, I’ve had to put Frank in permanent detention as he’s determined to take Chevy out. As Chevy is FIV positive, that would be a bad thing. FIV is transferred through deep cat bites. However Chevy is sweet and gets along well with Nik and Jesse.

So when the storm ramped up, Instinct told me to put Chevy in the garage. So I picked him up, swept him past Frank on the way through the house, and put Chevy in with Nik and Jesse. Just yesterday I saw the three of them lolling under the car in the driveway, teasing a group of nesting starlings who were counting coup on their heads. I figured if the three of them had bonded over the danger of losing an eye to a bird, then they would keep things on the down-low in the garage during the storm.

“I brought a drummer for your Garage Band,” I told them. “Play nice.”

I shut the door, and as I turned I heard a loud CRACK. I hurried into my sunroom to see Peaches, Candy and Opie staring at something in the yard.

It looked really bushy out there. More than usual. Then I realized what had happened.

The top half of our century-old, hundred foot shagbark hickory had cracked in half and was now lying at an angle across the back half of the woods along the creek with the base still attached to the tree.

I felt heartsick. Three years ago it was struck by lightning, but our tree surgeon managed to save the tree by sealing the damage. Now this. I remember seeing this tree for the first time eleven years ago. The realtor told us another couple wanted the house, but only if they first removed the tree. How could anyone want this tree unnecessarily destroyed? It was amazing!

Once the shock of seeing the tree destroyed, my next thought was for the raccoons. Only this past week I did a photo shoot of the babies playing in the branches of a tree about ten feet into the woods, now trashed by the fallen hickory.

2017 raccoon babies in better times…only a week ago.

After the storm left, my raccoons came out of hiding and I did a head count on the babies. All four are accounted for. I had to drag two of the pools out from under the fallen tree, but left one pool because it was too dangerous to drag out…especially with my husband yelling, “Leave it! It’s too dangerous to drag out.” To compensate for the loss, I added an old blue kids pool from last year.

This tree will cost at least a grand to take down. As our area has had a lot of damage from fallen trees over the past month, it will be awhile before this beloved giant takes it final bows.

In the meantime, the raccoons are adapting, and using the branches now lying on the ground as protection against scary stuff like lawn mowers.


About the author

Kimberley Koz


  • We love the new design! Great job. That kind of damage is scary … but I’m glad no one (or no kitty or no raccoon) was hurt. The captions on the graphic with the three cats looking outside are the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time!

    • Thank you for the design kudos. We are happy with the fresh new change. Yep, the damage is super scary. As the limb dies, it can come down in a strong wind. *Sigh* It’s always something.

    • We are happy to see you stop by, Miz Dee. Always wonderpurr to see you. And thanks so much for the raccoon pillow.

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