THE NEWS FROM UP ON CABIN HILL — June 2014

By Gino Zamparo

In reply to my sister’s comment, “It’s big, looks like a bear,” regarding a photo Tom took of the “visitor”: Yes, quite big!  And it slowly lumbered directly toward us as we shuddered within the house!  We feared being “quilled” by its needles. The creature encircled the house and we followed it from one window to the next window to the next. It kept us hostage for a good hour. We mustered up our nerve and ventured out as it headed downslope a bit, toward the apple tree, and we avoided standing behind the character. It eventually settled under the deck and we feared it would shoot its quills through slats in the deck floor but realized that it would have to have some pretty darn good aim to do so, and so we hunkered down on the deck. We kept Lily, our 10 lb. mini-mini Schnauzer, inside all the while. It eventually moved and we frightened it a bit with a broom to keep it further from the house, though it seemed quite harmless and somnolent, save for its QUILLS!! The being settled beside the house but several feet from it by the stove’s gas tank. We avoided sitting within shooting range of its quills!

And so, upon our late-night return to NYC and then reading about porcupines—we learned that they are nocturnal and venture out during the day only on occasion to forage for food, and this critter was probably doing so after the long, long winter. We learned that they do lumber sleepily especially during the day, AND we learned that porcupines DO NOT shoot their quills! Tom and I were laughing at ourselves; we had thought this all along for many years and especially today when the thing was so nearby!

Quills offer protection and they stand up when the animal is threatened and they get stuck in other animals that may come in contact with them…..BUT the porcupine does NOT shoot its quills!

That’s the story and I’m stickin’ to it! Laugh if you must! ~