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.