20 August 2014

Tonight as I snuggled Ollie to sleep in bed, I heard some noises over the sounds of the calming acoustics from Songza. I heard some peculiar squeaking-type noises coming from the deck side of the house, which were sort of familiar but which I couldn't quite peg.

Once Ollie was off to dreamland I slipped away and decided to go investigate. I went out onto the deck, carefully blocking the dogs inside so they didn't "help" me to find whatever creature was making the noises. (They, of course, kept their noses glued to the screen door in case I needed them.)

From on the deck I could hear scuffling noises and more of the squeaking. I crept around a little bit before deciding that the creature must be under the deck. I tiptoed softly over to the side where the stairs are so I could look under the deck from the lawn but then I stopped. The stairs are open-backed and I've seen too many horror movies to mess around with that shit. (Note, when I say "horror movies" I really probably mean "horror movie" or "half of a horror movie" or "a trailer for a horror movie". I can't hack the scary.)

I came back into the house through the screen door, where I used my feet to block the dogs who had more than picked up on the excitement at this point. I went through the house to the front door, where I repeated the foot conversation with the dogs, and went back outside.

I slowly walked across the section of lawn at the side of the house that passes under the apple trees while the scuffle squeak noises continued. When I came alongside the deck, I crouched down and peered underneath. Confirming my suspicions, I saw the spiky silhouette of a porcupine waddling about under our deck.

Sort of hard to see, but you can see his silhouette between the 2nd and 3rd steps..
I watched, fascinated and snapping pictures, as he made his way in my general direction. I was where the apples were, and judging by the dozens of chewed up apple cores I'd raked up yesterday porcupines have a love on for the sweet juicy things. The porcupine neared the steps and showed no sign of slowing down, so I walked back across the lawn to the front step. Part of me wanted to stay out of his way because I wanted to see him come out, but part of me also wanted to limit my experience with quills to that time I pulled them out of the dog's mouth.

I stood on the cement pad at the front door, camera ready to capture some adorable photos of this porcupine chomping on apples, when I realized the squeaking noises were happening in stereo. There was a big fat porcupine walking up behind me. I nearly crapped my pants. 

In what I'm sure was a totally dignified manner, I scrambled off the cement pad up onto the steps at the door and suppressed the screaming profanities that wanted to jump out of my mouth. There was one kid left in the house who was still trying to fall asleep, after all, and we were just outside her window.

A few seconds later, Mr. Way Too Stealthy For How Huge I Am popped out from beside my van.

Nothing to see here. Just hunting for apples.
As soon as my dogs saw this guy from their post at the window they lost their minds. Really helpful in the getting that last kid to sleep department, thanks guys.

This second porcupine spent some time near the pine tree, eyeing the apples and myself, before deciding he'd just go hang out at the edge of the lawn near the woods. I crept back towards the deck to see where the first guy was, but when the second guy saw that I was going near his squeak buddy he stood up on his hind legs to stare me down. I considered myself chastised and headed back inside.

It was soon too dark to see what kind of antics those two were getting up to out there. I'm going to assume they're having a fullout apple feast and squeak laughing about the jumpy human they chased back into her house.


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