A Fur Hat Raccoon, & an Autumnal Walk in the Park with Monty

I took Monty for a walk in the park early last Sunday morning.

The weather was getting cold, but I wore a wool sweater, wool socks, and gloves and was ready for the cool of the morning. I also wore pants and shoes (of course).

It was good and he had a run about.

As we got down towards the valley entrance, I thought I saw a fur hat laying on the ground. I realized quickly that it was a raccoon, and on closer examination - a living breathing, albeit unconscious or sleeping raccoon. It was a juvenile. Monty sniffed at it but kept his distance, heckles raised. Using a stick, I gently prodded it - thinking it had simply overslept (I am not a trained biologist specializing in the sleep habits of juvenile raccoons). It didn't even blink. It just kept on breathing, heaving its chest every few seconds.

I figured it had either fallen from the tall willow tree above or was sick (or hungover - Saturday night was behind us). I called Toronto Animal Services and 45 minutes later a gruff fellow arrived, manhandled the unresponsive raccoon into a cage and left. I hope that the raccoon got better.

I mused on this for a few minutes and wandered about near the tree line. I then stumbled about my mushroom patch (where several dead tree stumps lay submerged beneath the grass on the verge by the valley - saprophytic mushrooms feast on rotting wood). I found only a single stinkhorn beginning to emerge from its egg.

The Heal-All (Prunella vulgaris) seems pretty tenacious stuff. I've eaten it. It is bitter and strange tasting. Anti-viral and anti-lots of bad stuff, apparently.

In a mini chipmunk hole I found a mini-mushroom beginning to grow. Even chipmunks enjoy mushrooms.

Cheers - hope you're enjoying the cooler weather! My favourite season is upon us - Autumn.


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