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Tales Of The Porcupine: Final Chapter

Welcome to My Green Vermont - A Blog by Eulalia Benejam Cobb.
By Eulalia Benejam Cobb

As you may recall, a porcupine has, for the last several months, been doing his or her best to eat the post between our garage doors.  We have tried to dissuade him with hardware cloth, through which he has chewed;  with sprigs of mint, which he has ignored;  and with a humane trap, baited with salted apple slices, which ditto.

Finally, two weeks ago, my spouse rigged up a motion detector which turned on a radio inside the house whenever anything passed in front of it.  Then he retrieved the .410 shotgun with which his Southern grandmother hunted pheasants in the Al-Can Highway in 1944, and propped it just inside the front door.

Days passed, and whenever people came to the house, the gun was secreted out of sight.  Also during that time, dozens of birds flew in front of the motion detector and caused the radio to come on, but only for an instant.  Of the porcupine there was no sign, and we theorized that the motion detecting apparatus had accomplished what hardware cloth and sprigs of mint had failed to do.

Then, last night, shortly after midnight, a BBC interview with a British novelist roused us from sleep.  The radio was on, and it was staying on.  It was the porcupine.

My spouse leaped from the bed, ran downstairs, loaded his grandmother\’s gun and stepped silently into the moonlit night.  It was the porcupine all right, big as a Cocker Spaniel, gnawing away at our garage post.  Not wishing to cause further damage to the post, he first shooed the creature away, and then, Bam!  The porcupine was no more.

What between the blast of the shotgun and the thought of the porcupine lying dead in the moonlight, it took us a long time to get back to sleep.

This morning, after breakfast, my husband carried the beast into the woods, down the hill and beyond the swamp, where I hope he will provide some other creature\’s tasty dinner (but who eats a porcupine?) and not be found by our dogs.

I have a B.A. in Biology, so I felt honor-bound to take a look at the corpus before it was taken away.  It\’s amazing how squeamish I\’ve become over time.  There were quills all over the ground, a little blood, a wound I could hardly bear to look at.

We\’re having broccoli quiche and a green salad for dinner tonight, and going to bed early.

9 Responses

  1. Wow! I love the illustration: it looks like you drew it from a photograph – the protagonists are pictured so precisely. I hope it was the only one and there's not an extended family!

  2. RIP. i am always sorry to see a magnificent creature die. but …. he was a stubborn one, wasn't he?and what was a southern grandmother doing along the al-can highway, which my grandfather helped build?

  3. Did you keep some quills? A trophy of the kill. When my hair was long (and thick, and I was young) I used to use quills to put it up chignon style and use quills to hold the knot. Very Chic!

  4. Oh, darn! We didn't think about keeping some quills until after my husband had returned from depositing the body in the swamp. I bet those quills did look great, holding up your chignon.

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