Concord Grapes and Midnight Mauraders [Orchard Report]

Concord Grapes and Midnight Mauraders [Orchard Report]

Critters are steeling our grapes
The dense tangle of the grape vines in late summer

Apparently, I am not the only one who has noticed the sweet aroma of ripening concord grapes recently. Each day over the last week, there have been a few more missing and scattered grapes under the vines. The chickens like getting to clean up fallen fruit, but we need to figure out what is stealing our grapes. The Concord grapes smell of sweet grape soda outside our bedroom every night, so I know it is finally ready for harvesting, that, and the fact the vines were rustling at 2:30 AM this morning. 

The grape thief was so loud, both my husband and I were woken up by the sound of the vines and leaves rustling.  My husband grabbed the flashlight to see what it was through the window.  Even with the light, the noise didn’t stop, but we also couldn’t spot what was out there either. It was too loud to be a rat.

It was time to call in reinforcements, “Go get it, George!”  Once we told the dog there was something out there, he bolted out the back door, and straight for the…veggie garden?  In his defense, that is always the first place he checks to make sure his nemesis, the squirrel, doesn’t try to sneak into our yard via the power lines and pole, the furry freeway according to my husband.

Once George figured out where he needed to patrol, the protection instinct kicked in and he sounded like a vicious wolf going in for the kill.  There was no kill; the creature heard him coming the moment we opened the door and scurried up the vines and into the canopy of the flame grapes at the end of the side yard.  The grapevines are a dense jungle this time of year, and we could see little grapes falling one by one to the ground, but still no animal to account for it. 

Thinking it was probably an opossum, and it would freeze in one spot for hours as long as the dog was out, we went back inside.  George continued his pacing and occasional barking.   Peeking out through the blinds with a Maglite from my son’s room, my husband finally spotted it, the biggest raccoon he’s ever seen, straddling the top of the arbor. I didn’t want the dog to get in a fight over grapes with a raccoon that size so I had to gather up the courage to go back outside to chase it off with a broom.

I am glad it decided grape soda-smelling grapes weren’t worth it and moved along on its own.  Unless we want another midnight intruder waking us up, I better get out there and start harvesting concord grapes instead of writing about our sleepless night.

what is stealing our grapes
The scene of the crime: The driveway grape arbors just after picking all the dangling branches off for the chickens.  The concord is the vine on the right.

5 thoughts on “Concord Grapes and Midnight Mauraders [Orchard Report]

  1. Hi. There are some good insights on your website, thanks for sharing. I think that its important to spread perceptive information and I will let my friends on Facebook know about your web site.

  2. Too, too funny! Those So Cal suburban raccoons are something else. We had one who came in our cat door at night to eat our cat’s food. I caught him in the act one night and he was HUGE. And he wasn’t too happy to be interrupted either. He took his sweet time moseying back out the cat door, and waited on the porch awhile, hoping I’d go away so he could get back in. Our neighbor across the street said he had a raccoon fishing in his koi pond. Fast food. Actually I kind of love it. It’s it great that we haven’t completely lost the wild animals despite our freeways and shopping malls?

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