last evening at twilight, the hippie was sitting on the front porch playing with the newly installed wireless network, working on the adventure for his upcoming game weekend, drinking wine, and smoking a cigar. down the tree comes an adolescent raccoon, who checks the hippie out, decides he's alright, and then helps himself to the birdseed in the bird feeder. this little guy literally took the top off the feeder and was scooping birdseed into his mouth with his paw. the hippie called me to come out, and as directed, i took the camera with me. it didn't take the raccoon long to eat the birdseed down to where he couldn't reach it anymore, but then he discovered the critter food i keep in a terra cotta dish on the porch. (as you see, the squirrels have no respect at ALL for the boundaries of that dish, and just throw the food ALL OVER THE PLACE! they also frequently bury it in my plants, the little bastards! but i digress...) the raccoon was maybe 4 feet from me when i took these pictures. not very interested in us at all. believe me though--i was ready to run if he came at me. i do not trust the wild beasts of the forest, even when they are small and extremely cute. for all i knew, he could have been the Rabid Raccoon of Death. and let me tell you--rabies shots are no picnic. there was definitely no touching/petting/taunting of the raccoon! the hippie circled around and called him from the front stoop of the house to see what he would do, and the little bugger took off to see what was up. i still sort of can't believe that--clearly this little guy had eaten stuff from humans before. anyway--he ate his fill and scuttled away into the night. i am SURE he will be back now that he's discovered the critter food, so i guess we will just have to be on the lookout for more close encounters.