I didn't feed Steve or the other raccoons last night. I'm going to try to taper off. I saw one of them on the porch but I held out. This morning I went out to the porch for my breakfast, reading and writing as usual. In the gravel out in front of the steps I saw a piece of paper. I figured it was a piece of one of the paper plates I use to put food out for the coonies. Sure enough, that's what it was. The plate was torn into dozens of pieces and strewn all underneath the porch. (I think they ate part of it.) This piece was five feet away from any of the others and reflecting brightly in the morning light. It was upside down and as I picked it up, the natural tendency to turn it right side up lead me to discover a loud and clear message as to my friends' opinions of the new feeding schedule.
When I feed them over-ripe apples and grapes I put them on a paper plate. I reuse the same couple of plates. For awhile I brought the first plate back inside in the morning, setting it on the kitchen counter to re-use that night. I often re-use paper plates myself so I thought I'd re-use Steve's plate, too. It was pretty clean, having only apples or grapes on it and I caught myself a couple times grabbing it and almost using it for myself. Determined to NOT use a plate that a raccoon had eaten off of, I wrote "Steve" on it. Lately I've been stashing the plates in a catch-all storage bin on the porch and they must have dug it out to send me a message.
How funny that this particular piece of the plate they tore up was the only one left out in the middle of the path where it glared brightly at me all the way from the door, just calling me to go pick it up.
Well, I know what Steve thinks of me right about now. Tonight, however, I will get in her good graces again as I have some grapes for them.