A few nights ago, it was hot - the kind of hot where you don't sleep as soundly because you vacillate between being too hot with the sheets on, and too cool without them. So when I awoke at 2:45 a.m., I didn't think too much about it until there was a strange moaning sound. I looked over at my sleeping husband, and it didn't seem to be a new kind of snoring coming from him. And then I heard it again, outside our open windows.
By this time, Syd was also awake, and asking me, "What was that?" I got up, looked out one of our open windows onto the deck, but didn't see anything. I then moved to the other open window, and scared the baby porcupine that was right there on the other side of a flimsy screen. It scudded back from the screen, and I uttered a slight scream as I backed away from the other side of the screen.
The thing is, this deck is up a flight of 17 steps, and there was a wire mesh "barrier" which was lying on the 4th, 5th, and 6th steps as a deterrent to a large porcupine which been leaving its scat on a regular basis - proof it had climbed the 17 steps to eat the scattered sunflowers the birds tossed out of the birdfeeder onto the deck. But the baby had no difficulty using its little hands to grasp in between the mesh to pull itself over the barrier and on up the stairs. Now it was stuck, and its mommy was on the lower deck calling for it to come back. And she was big, anxious, and read for a fight.
So, my brave Syd removed the barrier while I kept an eye on the mommy, then he took a broom to the upper deck, and gently "directed" the little guy toward the stairs. It took a while because every time Syd touched him with the broom, he would swing around his tail and stop completely. Gradually he was encouraged down each step, upon which he left his much smaller pieces of scat - perhaps an indication of how he was feeling about the broom. When he reached the bottom of the stairs, off he went into the night. We searched to find where the mommy had gone, and she was under the stand that our rain barrel is on. As soon as Syd touched her with the broom, she turned and presented her tail. We left her there, and came inside to go back to bed. What a cute and feisty little porcupine this was - black as night except for those white quills which were quite evident as soon as he became upset. Too bad he is going to grow and become large. Guess we'll have to figure a new way to keep these creatures off our upper deck.
Ahhhh.... life in the country.