The morning started typically with Buddy, my faithful watchdog and part-time footwarmer waking up first, stretching, and standing up at the foot of the bed to gaze out the window. His sudden and continuous growl made me look to see what he had spotted.
There they were! Bandits! Caught in the act, eating my figs!
The bush was loaded with figs, just ripening up, and a Momma Raccoon with her three kits were helping themselves!
Faster than you can say, "GO GIT'EM BOY!" I swung out of bed, fumbled into some clothes and hunted for my shoes...Buddy patiently waited while I gathered myself together.
Without opposable thumbs, he's still unable to figure out how to turn a doorknob...that's my job. But eventually, I got the door opened, and out he went like a flash, barking to beat the band.
Momma Raccoon, the ring-tailed ringleader, was already out of there at first sign that the jig was up, I caught a glimpse of her with one of her kits, ducking down into the undergrowth of the Waccamaw River swamp on the edge of the yard, with Buddy in hot pursuit. To my surprise, when Buddy dove into the underbrush, a second kit sprinted towards the same brush right behind him.
For a moment, there was just sounds of underbrush getting trampled but eventually Buddy emerged, with a look of satisfaction, he fended off marauder's from his domain, unaware that a third kit was still up in the fig bush, wisely staying above the fray.
Back in the house, I grabbed a colander, and went back to pick some figs for myself. By then the kit was long gone, escaping to the woods to join Momma Raccoon and his siblings.