Night Hunt

Over the last several weeks, most of our thoughts have focused on what to do about the moose.

As I mentioned in a past post, A Close Encounter, we believe a yearling moose, recently run off by its mother, has been visiting the homestead. We know this from tracks and browsed plants in the yard—mostly wild, but a few rasperberries as well. Michelle also felt that the moose had been either entering the garden, or leaning over the low fence to browse our strawberry plants. We have also found a few of our cherry trees stripped of leaves.

She has theorized and fantasized about how to discourage these visits. Instead of scrounging used dryer sheets from the laundromat (see Decorating for Moose) she bought a new box; their heavy perfume nearly drove us off the land! She planned on taking more drastic steps when she went to town for work Tuesday morning.

Around 1:30 a.m., Michelle got up to use the facilities, and I stumbled, bleary-eyed, after her. She looked out the window and found her “moose.” A porcupine sat in our largest cherry tree, munching the leaves!

I went outside and quickly took care of my own business, then grabbed an ax handle from the wood shed, ready to rumble. Foggy thinking and poor aim handicapped me; I knocked the porcupine out of the tree, slashing branches in the process.

Normally, a porcupine in this situation would head under the cabin, as they’ve done so many times before. Instead, it hustled into the “toy” cabin, a doghouse sized structure the original owners’ kids built in the yard. I had it trapped, but couldn’t reach it with a killing stroke, so I went inside to get my .22 rifle, and soon finished it.

We left it, and returned to bed, where we could comfortably weigh our options. I longed to go back to sleep, but we outlined our next moves, then returned to the yard.

When I finished Michelle’s garden swing (see Swingin’!), I mounted our large wind chimes on one end of the crossbeam. I installed a small block so that we could easily lower the chimes on windy nights. I removed the chimes, popped a loop in the line, and hoisted our invader by its ankles. We started to slit its throat to bleed out, but our weather has been extremely warm lately, so we eviscerated it and took its innards to a remote part of the beach. Then we rinsed it with cool water, hoisted it high and left it—perhaps as a grizzly warning to others of its kind—and went back to bed.

I spent all of Wednesday morning skinning it out, butchering it, and cooking it (see Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Porcupine). By the time Michelle got home, I had “pulled porky:” barbequed porcupine, with a side of butternut squash jojos ready for dinner.

The moose is still nearby; Michelle saw fresh tracks above the cabin on her way to work. But, at least for now, we’re short one garden marauder, and dinner’s taken care of for the next few days.

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