Corn, Beans and the Wild Kingdom

My Generation

Corn and soybeans across Illinois need rain, and barns need relief from raccoons. Are they related?

Published on: May 30, 2012

I'm having two semi-unrelated thoughts today.

First, I was just sorting through photos I took earlier this morning. They are of the farmer in his corn field, and I can't help but notice that even at 9:30 a.m. on a lovely 60-degree morning, the corn is curling up.

This is not good.

This past Sunday, following the Spangler family trip to Monicals Pizza, we took a drive through the country on our way home and man, was the corn rolled up tight in self-preservation. This was on the second day in a row of 90-plus degree days and no measurable rain since the first week in May. Indeed, we have beans that have no real reason for having come up. Clearly, they found some moisture down there somewhere, but it sure wasn't from recent rainfall. We did catch a tenth in the gauge Monday evening, which settled the dust and maybe made the yard slightly less brown.

I travelled through much of northern Illinois last week and they had the same story. Everyone needs rain. Hopefully, they caught some of the weekend showers, but it certainly looked spotty.

Second, has anyone else noticed a ridiculously large raccoon population this spring? I have a friend in Iowa who's battling raccoons in her barn, but I haven't heard much around here. Without going into too many gory details, it's been like Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom around here. They're in the barn, breaking into cat food, digging up my plants, tipping over flower pots, and last night I stepped out on the porch and there was a coon! Right on the back porch! No, thank you. That must end.

Again, without going into too many gory details, we have discovered ways of, ahem, dealing with this problem. And I'll also add that our research has shown that when a raccoon is discovered in a live trap in the barn, a little boy's morning productivity sharply decreases. Like, to none. The research is limited but, I believe, conclusive.

So my question: does the crazy dry weather have anything to do with an exploding and intrusive raccoon population? And is anyone else having this same problem? And are the small male members of your household completely obsessed with eliminating the problem?

Please keep me posted.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    coons re rel problem this yer i blme it on the mild winter we had they are terrible in our cattle barns now

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like we are not alone! We got five and a half tenths last Thursday, right after this was posted (and yes, that half tenth is important!), and clothes on the line brought a couple light smatterings this afternoon. But that's been it. Mowed the yard over the weekend for the first time in three weeks and it was like mowing in August. Dry and dirty. Praying we all get a little rain, and soon. I hear it's getting desperate in parts of southern Illinois. And Rhonda - gound up fish - that explains years of the little vandals getting into my flower pots! I could never figure out what they were after, and they often seem to like to chew up the roots. Apparently it was the potting soil they were after... --H. Spangler

  4. Anonymous says:

    Here in Massac County our last shower of a third of an inch came May 20. March total was a scant quarter of an inch. Our last good rain was March 23 of 1.1". I think the dry weather is pushing coons, skunks and deer, etc to look harder for food and water. We are praying for rain. Clark W.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Having the same problem with coons plus skunks on top of it. Have to keep the cat and dog food locked up inside somewhere. They even tore open a new bag of potting soil not sure what was in there, but made a mess. Did same thing with freshly planted flower pots for the cemetary. Caught the skunk, but haven't been able to catch the coon yet!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Rode from here in Crawford County to Cave In Rock last Saturday. All corn I saw was curled. Scattered showers here on Tuesday morning gave me 9 tenths, but 1-2 tenths was the norm, if you got anything at all. Got another 2 tenths this afternoon. Cooler temps will give crops a break for a few days, perhaps. Coons are rampant here, also. Was told there is ground up fish in potting soil, which explains their attraction to it. - Rhonda M.