Tag Archives: porcupines

Paying Gig…

I might be a bit scarce in the blogosphere over the next little while…I’ve taken a temporary job that is scheduled to last for seven weeks. It is a position which will allow me to use my communications, marketing and public relations skills…it feels good to have someone recognize those abilities again! I hope that some networking while I’m back “in circulation” may lead to a permanent position somewhere (my work at the bookstore is strictly sweat equity – it will be mine when Dad is gone).

In the meantime, I hope to write at least one new post a week, and try to keep up with my reading of yours (I may not comment as much)! I will fill in with some of my favourites from the archives (from back when I had two loyal readers!).

Here is the first installment from the archives (originally published March 26, 2010):

Creature Discomforts

One of the benefits of living in the country is seeing a variety of wild animals and birds on a regular basis.  On occasion, members of our family have close encounters with these creatures, which aren’t always fun…

Jake is our schnoodle (miniature schnauzer/miniature poodle).  This fifteen lbs. of curly-haired energy adores flying around our fenced back yard as fast as his little legs can go!  He is also the biggest suck ever, needing to have his head on your chest right under your chin no matter what else you’re trying to accomplish!  Unfortunately, he sometimes gets into trouble…

Jake at full gallop...photo taken by Jim

Last winter, we noticed that a porcupine was (literally) hanging out in our back yard.  We dubbed him “Mr. Prickles.”  He would sit in a tree all day, gorging himself on bark, even during a raging snowstorm.  When he got tired, he would inch backward, ever so carefully, down the tree trunk, and amble over to the next tree, climb up, and repeat the above process.  On his journey between the trees, he would leave little presents on the ground, which Jake assumed were meant to be his dessert!  Ewww!

Mr. Prickles Eating Lunch...photo taken by Jim

Last summer, I let Jake out the back door, making sure the Mr. Prickles was nowhere in sight…I should have gone outside and checked over the little hill at the bottom of the yard!  Jake wasted no time heading straight for the intruder, barking wildly and circling the thorny creature.  By the time I had my shoes on, Jake had managed to get his small mouth around some of Mr. Prickles’ rear end, and ended up with a snoutful of quills!  While Mr. Prickles made his unhurried way towards the fence (which has holes big enough for him to squeeze through), I scooped up our dog and took him in the house to survey the damage.

I removed 19 quills of varying sizes from Jake’s mouth and nose…he was a trooper…he’s used to Jim grooming him, and he didn’t even flinch, even when I had to  use needle-nose pliers to pull some of the more stubborn ones (I found out later about cutting the ends off the quills to release the pressure).  There was one quill that I just couldn’t get, so I asked Jim to tackle that one after he got home.  Luckily, Jim was able to remove that one, and found another one which had worked its way in through Jake’s cheek and back out again!  Jim washed Jake’s face with peroxide, and we watched carefully over the next couple of weeks for any signs of infection.

It never occurred to me to take Jake to the vet…all I could think about was getting the things out of his face!  A friend of Jim’s told us she had spent more than $3500 at the vet’s with her two big dogs and porcupine quills!  Later, my snowplow guy told me about some woman at his camp who had been turned in to the Humane Society because she had taken quills out of her own dog!  That seems ridiculous to me!

After that, we made sure that Jake went out on the leash.  This winter, while there was snow on our back deck, we would just let him out there (leaving the gate closed).

One day in February, the kids decided it would be a good idea to let Jake run around the back yard again…we hadn’t seen Mr. Prickles for several weeks.  Down the steps he went…and stopped in his tracks, sniffing at something under the steps.  “Mom!  The porcupine’s dead under our back step!” reported Anna.

I said (a la Monty Python): “Maybe he’s not really dead…maybe he’s just restin’.”  I put on my boots, trudged down the steps, and poked Mr. Prickles gingerly with my toe.  He didn’t move.  Luckily, he didn’t stink either…it was still cold enough for his body to be frozen.

Jim came home from work, and I reported the sad news of Mr. Prickles’ demise.  “Did you do anything with him?” he asked.

“No…I don’t do dead bodies!  That’s your job!” I replied.  So Jim went out with a shovel, and heaved Mr. Prickles’ earthly remains over the fence into the woods.

A couple of weeks later, we noticed a couple of buzzards circling overhead…Dad said, “There must be something dead around here…”

RIP Mr. Prickles…

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Filed under blogging, memories

Monday Mishmash…

The Queen of Procrastinators strikes again…I have let several days go by without posting…I apologize for the delay.  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

1. We celebrated Dad’s 73rd birthday on Wednesday night…his actual birthday was the 28th, but not everyone was going to be around on Friday, so we moved it up.  We had lasagna, and German chocolate cake for dessert (I bought the cake – it was good, though!).  Hope gave him a “Grandad” mug she bought with her own money, and Jim and I ordered a set of Ron James DVD’s for him (which haven’t arrived in the mail yet).  For those who don’t know who Ron James is, he is a hilarious Canadian comedian from Nova Scotia, who once visited our store (he collects “Big/Little” books).  He’s kind of a Canadian version of Robin Williams – ADHD on wheels.  Check out his website:  http://ronjames.ca/

The Birthday Boy...

2.  Wednesday night was the first night we saw hummingbirds at our feeders – we have determined that we have at least three of them: a pair of ruby-throated hummingbirds (a male and a female), and possibly a second female, but she has different colouration.  Anna saw all three at the same time once.  Here are some photos Jim took:

Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird...

The Mystery Guest...

Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird...

3. When I went out to water the garden on Wednesday night, I was delighted to discover that some of the seeds I’d planted on the weekend had sprouted…several kinds of lettuce and greens were up!  Unfortunately, there seems to be a bug that has something against my yellow beans – they have been chewed down to the nub in most cases – it started with holes in the leaves, then the leaves disappeared.  I didn’t really like yellow beans anyway…

4.  I spent most of Thursday and Friday at the store assessing books.  We are to the point where I have no idea where we’re going to put the next bunch that walks in the door…my chair is surrounded by boxes now (I have eight boxes to put away!).  We need a room-stretcher (and more shelves).  Hope was off school on Friday, so we had Chinese food for lunch.

5. Saturday morning, Jim and I and the girls got up early and headed out for the Quispamsis Town-Wide Yard Sale (Devin is not a shopper, so he enjoyed some extra hours of sleep).  We had picked up the map at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago, and I had carefully mapped out a logical route (which Jim estimated would take in excess of eight hours to complete – we had 4-and-a-half!).  Jim got a palm sander for $10.  I found a beautiful painting of a blonde cocker spaniel that looked like the one my dad had when he was a kid (although Dad said the dog in the painting looked “too intelligent” to be his dog).  I also got a lovely art deco painting for a dollar (I will take it to my friend, Amy, to have it reframed).  The kids picked up a few small things too – Hope was happy to get a karaoke machine for $3 to continue her singing.  About noon, we started smelling something burning – our van had an issue with its brakes, so we dropped it off at home and picked up the car instead.  Our last stop was an estate sale: they had lots of old books, and I bought a boxfull.  I totalled up my finds today – for the $25 I spent, I got over $725 worth of books!  Not a bad haul…

6. We stopped and picked up a new hose and nozzle on Saturday before going home…it made a big difference when I watered my garden on Saturday night!  Talk about “more power!”  A package of cinnamon buns also forced its way into my cart at grocery – have no idea how that happened!  We had pizza and some of last year’s spinach (fresh from the garden!) for supper – nothing tastes as good as just-picked veggies!

7.  I spent Sunday morning trying to get caught up with laundry (which has been badly neglected since I’ve been gardening in the evenings).  I washed and dried five loads, and folded about eight (still some there from last week).  Poor Anna informed me that she didn’t have any shorts that fit (funny…her pile of clothes was bigger than anybody’s…).  In between loads, I made clam chowder and started rereading “The Pilot’s Wife” by Anita Shreve – it is our next book for book club, and since I read it last September, I felt the need to read it again (especially since I’d suggested it – I thought I should at least know the character’s names when we talk about it!).  I loved it the first time!

The Pilot's Wife...

8. Sunday afternoon, Jim and Anna and I went to see the Shrek 4 movie: Shrek Forever After.  I enjoyed the soundtrack, and there were a couple of funny lines, but it didn’t come close to the first one.  One of my friends commented about how “dark” the movie was.  I got some new Mint Crisp M&M’s at the dollar store to eat at the movie…they were yummy!  We saw a double rainbow on the way home…

M&M Mint Crisp...Mmmm...

 9. I was happy to discover last night that I had several more new seedlings in the garden…morning glories, sunflowers, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, brussels sprouts, a few tomatoes, and a couple varieties of winter squash.  I expect the sweet peas and pumpkins to be up soon.  No sign of carrots, peppers, broccoli or cauliflower yet (except for carrots, these are seeds I replanted directly in the garden last weekend after Jake destroyed the ones I planted in the house).  The peas and broad beans are doing well, as are the pole and bush beans.  My weeding last night was interrupted by a brief thunderstorm…I wish it had rained a little longer…it’s been dry.

10. This morning on the way to town, we saw a “fisher” cross the road in front of the car…it’s kind of like a big weasel, and apparently is the only animal able to eat porcupines without suffering any ill effects from the quills (they also eat cats and small dogs, as well as mice, squirrels, and rabbits).  The one we saw was about three feet long…neat to see!

A fisher climbing a tree...don't try to pet this guy...

I continue to enjoy the posts my blogging sisters are writing lately…it amazes me how much we seem to have in common with each other!  They are amazingly gifted writers – each has her own special style.  I look forward to Jane and Nancy’s return to regular posting…I miss you girls!

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Filed under books, family, food, gardening, nature

Creature Discomforts…

One of the benefits of living in the country is seeing a variety of wild animals and birds on a regular basis.  On occasion, members of our family have close encounters with these creatures, which aren’t always fun…

Jake is our schnoodle (miniature schnauzer/miniature poodle).  This fifteen lbs. of curly-haired energy adores flying around our fenced back yard as fast as his little legs can go!  He is also the biggest suck ever, needing to have his head on your chest right under your chin no matter what else you’re trying to accomplish!  Unfortunately, he sometimes gets into trouble…

Jake at full gallop...photo taken by Jim

Last winter, we noticed that a porcupine was (literally) hanging out in our back yard.  We dubbed him “Mr. Prickles.”  He would sit in a tree all day, gorging himself on bark, even during a raging snowstorm.  When he got tired, he would inch backward, ever so carefully, down the tree trunk, and amble over to the next tree, climb up, and repeat the above process.  On his journey between the trees, he would leave little presents on the ground, which Jake assumed were meant to be his dessert!  Ewww!

Mr. Prickles Eating Lunch...photo taken by Jim

Last summer, I let Jake out the back door, making sure the Mr. Prickles was nowhere in sight…I should have gone outside and checked over the little hill at the bottom of the yard!  Jake wasted no time heading straight for the intruder, barking wildly and circling the thorny creature.  By the time I had my shoes on, Jake had managed to get his small mouth around some of Mr. Prickles’ rear end, and ended up with a snoutful of quills!  While Mr. Prickles made his unhurried way towards the fence (which has holes big enough for him to squeeze through), I scooped up our dog and took him in the house to survey the damage.

I removed 19 quills of varying sizes from Jake’s mouth and nose…he was a trooper…he’s used to Jim grooming him, and he didn’t even flinch, even when I had to  use needle-nose pliers to pull some of the more stubborn ones (I found out later about cutting the ends off the quills to release the pressure).  There was one quill that I just couldn’t get, so I asked Jim to tackle that one after he got home.  Luckily, Jim was able to remove that one, and found another one which had worked its way in through Jake’s cheek and back out again!  Jim washed Jake’s face with peroxide, and we watched carefully over the next couple of weeks for any signs of infection.

It never occurred to me to take Jake to the vet…all I could think about was getting the things out of his face!  A friend of Jim’s told us she had spent more than $3500 at the vet’s with her two big dogs and porcupine quills!  Later, my snowplow guy told me about some woman at his camp who had been turned in to the Humane Society because she had taken quills out of her own dog!  That seems ridiculous to me!

After that, we made sure that Jake went out on the leash.  This winter, while there was snow on our back deck, we would just let him out there (leaving the gate closed). 

One day in February, the kids decided it would be a good idea to let Jake run around the back yard again…we hadn’t seen Mr. Prickles for several weeks.  Down the steps he went…and stopped in his tracks, sniffing at something under the steps.  “Mom!  The porcupine’s dead under our back step!” reported Anna. 

I said (a la Monty Python): “Maybe he’s not really dead…maybe he’s just restin’.”  I put on my boots, trudged down the steps, and poked Mr. Prickles gingerly with my toe.  He didn’t move.  Luckily, he didn’t stink either…it was still cold enough for his body to be frozen.

Jim came home from work, and I reported the sad news of Mr. Prickles’ demise.  “Did you do anything with him?” he asked.

“No…I don’t do dead bodies!  That’s your job!” I replied.  So Jim went out with a shovel, and heaved Mr. Prickles’ earthly remains over the fence into the woods.

A couple of weeks later, we noticed a couple of buzzards circling overhead…Dad said, “There must be something dead around here…” 

RIP Mr. Prickles…

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Filed under memories