Thursday Rather Randomly

1. I made my way back home again yesterday, walking out the door of Sock Summit World Headquarters (Tina’s house) at 7:30am, and walking in the door here at 9:30pm.  I cannot stress enough how much teleportation would be helpful to me.

2. I’ve always had a rule that plane time is down time. I knit. I think. I read. I don’t work.  Yesterday I broke that rule.

3. I still got a fair bit of knitting done – making slow progress on the June socks, which are lovely, but slow.

Pattern: Revival, by Glenna C.  Yarn: DiC Everlasting, in Black and White. (Or at least that’s what I think it is. I have suffered a ballband loss.)

4. When I came home last night, I noticed that someone has stolen our green bin.
5. This is a really odd thing to steal. It’s not like they’re expensive, rare or have a high resale value.

6. Joe believes (and I think he is serious) that the local raccoon gang has absconded with it, partly for the stuff that was in it, and partly because he thinks that raccoons would hope that without a green bin, we would just start putting our food waste out buffet style for them.

7. I think that Joe has a lot of  faith in the clementine sized brains of raccoons.

8. On the other hand, they do seem to be remarkably well organized and efficient. I also have a suspicion that they are telepathic, but that’s a story for another day.

9. The baby blanket is bigger too, but it’s still the same field of little flowers, just more of it, so I can’t imagine that you’d be interested in the picture.  Think same as last time, just more.

10. It’s not as big as I’d hoped, and neither is the sock.  Frankly, I sort of thought that the socks would be done.  I’m not sure how I thought that would happen with only a little knitting time, but I’m still burning with the irony of how much planning a knitting event reduces knitting time. 

11. I am hoping a lot of coffee helps with that.

89 thoughts on “Thursday Rather Randomly

  1. It is a rodent conspiracy. When the rabbits and chipmunks join up you may want to have someone stand guard at your door.

  2. I’m with Rosemary – obviously a well-organized group with excellent intelligence gathering capabilities, skilled operatives, & a strong union! Watch out, Stephanie – if they find out about Heel Flap & Gusset, there could be some REAL problems !!

  3. Call 311 – you’ll have to buy a new green bin ($18) at one of 4 Transfer Station locations, or one of the local Environment Days (311 can give you the dates and locations). Blast those darned racoons!

  4. Ask around the neighborhood – wind will blow things away and, at least around here, nobody ever seems to go around and ask whether the bin that landed in someone’s front yard is the one they’re missing.

  5. My day was going pretty good until I read that it was Thursday, I was pretty sure it was Friday! Thanks for the heads up.
    I admire your discipline on finishing a pair of socks a month…I am stuck on the same pair since Christmas.

  6. Yes. Teleportation. Someone needs to get on that. That and time travel. I would really like to skip forward to Sock Summit. Or do it multiple times. Heck, someone just get me a TARDIS. A hot Time Lord inside would be a nice bonus, but I’ll be happy with teleportation and time travel.

  7. Perhaps, with the discontinuation of the shuttle program, NASA can focus their collective energies to developing teleportation!

  8. We were trying to catch a raccoon in a pretty large (3 feet long?) humane trap, which was baited with some of our left over dinner. The raccoon picked up the trap, shook out the food and ate it, without ever tripping the trap.
    I agree with Joe.

  9. My husband used to work night security and once saw a raccoon who appeared to be directing a small brown bear in how to open a dumpster, so I wouldn’t put anything past raccoons. They’re crafty little animals.

  10. I believe raccoons are a splinter terrorist group, splitting from the squirrels in a dispute over hygiene differences. I KNOW they are able to communicate with corn plants, and to read my innermost thoughts, which explains why they always “pick” the corn the night before I plan to go out and do the same.

  11. I love stories of urban wildlife. We are supposed to be the most advanced life form on this planet and yet we are constantly outsmarted by squirrels, rabbits, raccoon etc that have learned to successfully live in cities.

  12. Last year I thought someone had stolen our trash container until a neighbor told me she saw it fall from the trunk’s grabbers into the truck. Or maybe the raccoons just wheeled into the alley so they could loot it in peace.

  13. I keep meaning to tell you that I had a dream the other night where I emptied out your dishwasher for you. I have no idea what that means, but I thought you might like to hear about it.
    I am not a weirdo, I promise.

  14. I suspect the critters of absconding with the bin for their own storage. They are smart, clementine sized brains notwithstanding. I mean, look at cats..(OK, look at mine. They outsmart me all the time. I think some animals are telepathic.)

  15. Just know that all the planning for said knitting event is Greatly appreciated.

  16. Apparently all the green bins end up at our house. Despite never putting out more than two (one for kitchen, one for dog related) we now host four green bins in our backyard.
    I would be happy to drop one by if you’d like. To be honest, we don’t really have room for four, plus the two big toters, plus the old grey bin for yard waste.
    You are still ahead of most of us on knitting.

  17. My husband worked at Night Security in college (in Boulder, CO) and got a call one night from a pizza delivery person who claimed that the pizza he was trying to deliver was stolen. They sent a couple of people out to question the delivery person, and after about ten minutes he admitted that a racoon jumped out of the bushes at him, scaring him and causing him to drop the pizza. The racoon grabbed the pizza, box and all, and scurried back into the bushes. The security folks found the racoon nearby, happily stuffing pizza into his mouth. Since they could neither recover the pizza nor arrest the culprit, there wasn’t much they could do for the delivery person other than laugh at him.
    The moral being: racoons are smarter than you might think. 🙂

  18. For having such a small brain, raccoons are pretty naughty. I’d say about 70 percent of that brain is used for making mischief and/ or messes to clean up. Nature tries to warn you with that bandit mask and prison striping on their tails that these animals are definitely up to no good. At least one can hope these ones are recycling,

  19. Nice sock! Both the yarn colors and the pattern. I confess to being less than enthused about the last one. Raccoons are smart and very very well adapted to city living. I watched a David Suzuki episode of (sp?) The Nature of Things on raccoons in cities and the researchers showed an amazing map of non-overlapping raccoon territories – approx a city block apiece. It was fascinating. As long as they don’t come into my house….. I’ve had to take the cat door out of the window some years. They are NOT box trained.

  20. Google “Toronto raccoons”. There are PAGES of results. News items. Videos. Apparently your city is overrun with them.
    good luck …

  21. If your raccoons are anything like our squirrels, they want one thing – World Domination.

  22. I agree that knit planning takes precious time away from the actual knitting. And yet I’m always happy at the end when the planning has produced something with a custom fit!

  23. Do socks need to be blocked? This may be a stupid question but I’m a sock knitting virgin. This goes into the planning of knitting bin, all inside my head, a place raccoons are NOT allowed!

  24. I wish Canada and the U.S. or at least Washington State could sit down and discuss these green bins. I want one!
    -Greenbin-less in Washington

  25. You need to find a copy of “The Great Ringtail Garbage Caper” by Timothy Foote. All about a group of raccoon who take over the garbage collection for their island community when the trash collectors get too efficient and impinge on their food supply. Very fun.

  26. If you have a fleece-stealing squirrel, raccoons sneaking off with a green bin makes sense to me.
    I’d love to see a pic of your baby blanket. I’m still not knitting so pics would be wonderful. (I can’t bear to look at my own yarn. I would be seized by the urge to knit.)

  27. I can empathize with your irony. The erratic nature of freelance/self-employed work means that I either have the time but not the money to “play,” or I have the money but no time. I make it a rule not to complain about having income, but better balance would be awesome!

  28. I’m with Joe, raccoons really are something else. I bet they did do something with it. And you MUST tell us your telepathic raccoon theory.

  29. I thought part of the allure of knitting is that it’s slower and lower-tech than computery gadgets. That said, how come I seem to spend so much time on a computer in the name of knitting, either design, inspiration, talking to other knitters, seeing what’s new…I do like the convenience but often I’d rather just pick up yarn and sticks and feel out of the loop, so to speak.
    Just make sure the raccoons don’t get into your yarn stash, they would think they found nest heaven.

  30. Joe is right, you know.
    I’m having the same issue with a shirt that is the same just more of it. Stockinette is the demon’s spawn.

  31. Our raccoon problem ceased when a fox moved in under our deck and gave birth to 2 cute litte kits. She wasn’t kidding when she told the racoons to STAY AWAY… so raccoon problem solved, but now we have a fox problem.

  32. Once somebody started to steal a big garbage can we had outside… in the olden days before city-supplied cans. They left it on the sidewalk a little way down when they discovered it was the can for the diaper service.
    I hope you find your bin!

  33. I agree teleportation would be very beneficial, but as long as I’m not driving, the car or plane provides more uninterrupted knitting time for me.
    Glenna C’s sock patterns are very intricate. One of these days I will attempt to knit a pair.
    Good luck with the raccoons – may you win!

  34. I recently hit a raccoon on the highway, and felt bad about it a shorter time than it has taken me to type this sentence.

  35. It isn’t as much a matter of how much brain matter you have as it is a matter of how you use it.

  36. You’d be amazed what raccoons can do with clementine-sized brains – like sneak in through the pet door at night in gangs of five to sneak cat food. Ask me how I know.
    BTW, live sheep in the convention center? Priceless. One wonders when the convention center folks will notice. And what they’ll say when they do.

  37. I think racoons are pretty smart. They also have opposable thumbs. They can do things like open zippers. And unwrap candy. And figure out that bubble gum is pointless and thus not open any more bubblegum even though they open the rest of the candy. (ask me how I know this)
    I’m not sure why they’d steal a green bin but Joe might be onto something.

  38. I hate to say this, but never underestimate the power of raccoon brains. My mother married late and spent her late 20s and early 30s living in a little house across the street from a cemetery in a particularly raccoon infested part of Washington DC. As a result, she and her roommate were at constant war with the raccoons. After several lost battles, they invested in what was billed as a raccoon proof trash can. The can was made of heavy plastic and the lid screwed on. This can lasted all of 10 mins in the hands of the local coon population. They figured out almost immediately that if they tipped the can over on its side and wedged it between the curb and the bumper of a car, they could distort the can enough to get the lid to pop off and it was free garage for all.

  39. Can’t add a thing to the conversation about coons. Yarn, however, is another matter: I’m betting that’s Slate. I opened a package just yesterday with something that looks just like that in DIC Everlasting. Thought for a minute you’d been doing a little pilfering yourself 🙂

  40. I know I should be impressed with the knitting and comment on that but I am totally fascinated by the Green Bin. I don’t even think that the most progressive cities here don’t have green bins. Here’s hoping that someday we catch up to you all up north.

  41. “…Joe believes (and I think he is serious) that the local raccoon gang has absconded with it…”
    Joe is remembering that Canadian TV show from his youth – The Racoons. Those critters managed some amazing things in the Evergreen Forrest.

  42. I’m picturing rival gangs of city coons, one bad boy thrown in the bin, a little cement quick before he gets out, where’s that river, alright, roll’em out…

  43. NPR in the states had a piece about Toronto raccoons. Seems you guys are famous for having one of the worst raccoon infestations in the northern hemisphere. There is a theory that you are breeding an exceedingly clever variety of raccoon in Toronto by trying to outwit them, but they simply evolve into smarter and smarter raccoons.
    I’m pretty sure Joe has it right, except that they are fitting it out as a cruiser and will drive by and thumb their tiny noses at you.

  44. You seem to be having a problem with ball bands lately. Try putting them in a file the very nanosecond you take them off the ball or skein.
    If you think raccoons are bad, you REALLY don’t want to deal with oppossums. They will snarl and hiss at you — and look like sewer rats the size of a beagle!
    Lastly, I bet you knew James Doohan, the actor who played Montgomery Scott (as in “Beam me up, Scotty”) was Canadian. Didn’t you?

  45. Teleportation might thwart the TSA. And think of the savings on fuel.
    I had a telepathic cat who would come when I called (in my head, that is). No other cat has ever done that since. Miss her.
    The yarn is already out of stock. How did that happen?
    You think raccoons are washing their little paws, or is it hatching plans?

  46. I’m pretty sure the raccoons have a website or something. The green bins were raccoon-proof for about 2-3 months, and then, all over the city at the same time, they figured them out.

  47. In our neighborhood (Shoreview MN) it’s the tree rats who cause the trouble. And the crows – who seem to be smarter than I am. You don’t see them feeding me. Huge sigh – must knit more – must knit more-

  48. Oh, I know what you mean about working getting in the way of knitting. I got a new job and new career 9 months ago (and I’m 61 years old!) and my knitting time and productivity plummeted drastically. I long to be independently wealthy so that I could knit all the time.
    As for green bins, I have a black backyard compost bin–the bottom-less kind. A while back, I noticed that the quantity of stuff in my bin seemed to be disappearing rapidly. I thought maybe a neighbor was making off with my partially baked compost. Turns out a racoon was tunneling under and into my compost bin and making off with the fresh vegetable scraps!!!

  49. Racoons are very smart when it comes to food. My resident group sends a scout up to check the ripeness of the cherries. They also have desginated one tree as the outhouse, leaving a huge pile of racoon “p***” enhanced by eating cherries at the base of the big Doug Fir. Smart and not cute!

  50. Racoons have four hands with opposable thumbs. Put a racoon on a cage, and he’ll escape by picking the lock.
    My brother had a baby racoon named Buckshot who could turn on the TV, pick his program, and turn the fan on, if needed. He’d sit in bed and watch TV.
    They are like furry two-year olds. They can do anything a toddler can do except talk.

  51. We had raccoons coming onto the deck every night and eating all the bird seed. Never failed. Finally I just started feeding the little suckers. Table scraps, dog food, cat food….whatever. They no longer eat the seed or get into my trash bins. They do however sit at the backdoor waiting for me in the evening. How have I become that crazyass animal lady???

  52. I think Joe has a point. Raccons are evil geniuss(sses? i? whatever pluralizes Genius!) i think they stole my wallet at the local state park when we were there playing on the pond so that they could use the credit cards to order kid sized tools from Home Depot to accommodate faster and more efficient garbage acquisition. Also they could build a barbeque, because clearly that is what they love best.
    This was simply an amusing thought until we were broken into last winter, and those raccoons stole my wallet AGAIN. This time I think it was about building insulated shelter for the winter. I now have a pink wallet so that if they do steal it again, at least I can find it when they leave the poor empty carcass lying in the field across the street.

  53. I’m not sure if this is what happened in your case but one day the wind stole our recycling bin.

  54. Having been a foster home for raccoons (I love them even though they are troublesome) and I can tell you how smart they really are. They can also be very cuddly if bottle raised but they can also be very mean. You are probalby right with the whole woodland gang theory as most woodland creatures are very smart and resourceful so hid the trash cans too.

  55. That green bin idea is a great one. I’d love to see our community do that.

  56. We live on a ravine in Toronto and have every furry creature imaginable, including possums last winter!
    We keep our green bin in the garage until the very last minute before it needs to be collected and bungee cord the grey and blue bins. Otherwise, it’s like ringing a dinner bell.

  57. Fortunately my squirrel gang have found a new hood this year. My pot plants have actually had a chance to grow without having gaping holes where the idiot squirrels who couldn’t remember where they buried their nuts dug.
    I can empathize and sympathize with the lack of knitting time because time is taken up with knitting events.

  58. You should send your racoons to my mom’s house in Texas!!! She has grapes growing on an arbor and the racoons love climbing on top, peeling back the skins on the not quite ripe grapes, eating the flesh and throwing the husks onto her patio for cleanup. I’d bet your racoons would enjoy the all you can eat buffett! My parents haven’t had a single grape from their vines because the little bandits eat them all before they have a chance to ripen!

  59. Bungee cords soaked in tabasco sauce do pretty well with holding the can against a fence until pickup time, and in holding the lid on. The garbage men were perfectly happy to cope, particularly since it kept the street tidy!

  60. I imagine the raccoons think it’s a magic bin that refills itself – not realizing the role you and your family play in the replenishment.

  61. A raccoon buffet – love it!
    Also the green bin thing is a fantastic idea. I was ecstatic when my city started recycling all numbers, so I didn’t have to haul the 3-7s somewhere else. I wonder if my CSA farmer would be interested in taking compost material when I pick up my produce?

  62. Coffee helps everything. Well, perhaps not sleep, but sleep is overrated. Someone stole my recycling bin here. A used one. Unless the collectors just recycled it too…..

  63. I’m thinking telepathic raccoons may be utilised in achieving teleportation, but I’m stymied as to how the experiment could be set up.

  64. Wish we had a green bin program. We have only a blue bin for recycling & a brown drum for everything else. Actually the blue bin is now a wheeled garbage can with lid that is bigger than the similar brown trash can. Years ago, we actually had a blue bin (similar to the kind used to store yarn but without a lid). Ours was stolen several times. We’d put it full (usually actually overflowing) in the morning &, when we returned to retrieve it after work, it would be gone. The Village was happy to replace it but the woman I spoke with said that it was a common problem. They thought that people were stealing them to pack when moving or to store stuff around their houses. They later switched to the larger trash bin style blue bins which work well – much more room for recyclables & no more theft.

  65. Do NOT underestimate racoons. We once busted a gang of the little thieves taking off with an ENTIRE six-pack of Coke. It was completely unopened, which means they recognized what sweet delight would be inside entirely by SIGHT.

  66. If you need a slightly used greenbin, there’s about 7 of them outside my building (for 3 apartments and 4 occupants). We also have 6 small bluebins and 1 large one.

  67. ok, so i really want to hear the “story for another day” about the telepathic racoons.

  68. FYI, i wouldn’t underestimate the brains of raccoons. my parents feed the raccoons that come onto their porch with stale bread and old potato chips or whatever from their cabinets… one night, when my parents came home late and decided not to put out the scraps for the raccoons, one of them actually stood on his hind legs, and KNOCKED ON THE DOOR. for real.

  69. Oh dear. I’m always shocked at how huge the city raccoons are compared to regular ones. With all the extra food they have access to in the city they grow to be two or three times as large as they do in the country!
    Also, (as if you’ve got time) I recommend you read Drew Hayden Taylor’s book Motorcycles and Sweetgrass. There are raccoons and I’m afraid Joe’s suspicions about the organizational powers of raccoons are confirmed. It’s a modern-day Nanabozho story and it is hilarious.

  70. coffee helps with a lot of things and I even brought my latest knitting project along for the ride but I didn’t anything. Apparently looking at websites on the iPhone is far more important than knitting.

  71. I can see the raccoons knocking over the bin, opening the lid, and eating the contents (especially if they were “fresh” by raccoon standards, i.e. 1-2 wks old). But they are also smart enough to realize the pointlessness of carrying off an empty bin. So I suspect they had unwitting human collaboration with that part.
    In the B.C. (Before Compost) era, the raccoons used to knock over our regular garbage cans. We had to build a little fence around them against the house to keep them upright, and bungee cord the lids in place. And then a major rabies epidemic knocked the population right down. This may be why our free-standing food scraps composter doesn’t get raided. The lid locks on with latches that rotate into place, something any self-respecting raccoon would master in a flash!

  72. Raccoons have opposible thumbs so you should really be able to teach them to knit. They’d be very clean. Or at least teach them to wash fleece to pay for the bin theft.

  73. YOur socks look lovely, though too much for me at the moment. I look forward to plane time for the opportunity to indulge in an abundance of knitting. Regardless of what isn’t clean or who needs help, you can’t do anything on the plane so it’s truly guilt free.
    Since I’ll be at sock summit, I truly appreciate you giving up your precious knitting time to make our weekend one of awesomeness.

  74. Stephanie, I just love to read your entries. Today was great – definately made me laugh. I sympathize – I’ve often had “ballband loss”, which is tricky when you need to match colors or tell people about a yarn. And I love your thoughts on your racoon stealing and their intentions! 🙂

  75. Unless your raccoons are a LOT bigger than ours, I’m pretty sure their brains are no larger than a walnut. Maybe even a pecan.

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