This year, we were excited to haul out the buckets and spiels and tap those trees, and got things underway last Saturday. Little did we know that over the winter we’d housed some unwelcome guests. The squatters made a fine mess of things too, which squatters will often do.
The tell-tale signs being the bark-less limbs high up on our trees and the multitudes of shavings all over the ground. What I thought was leftover leaves from the fall turned out to be crumbs from the rodent banquets.
The obvious problem I have with the damn pests, is that in probability my curious dog or my huntress of a cat could end up with a face full of quills. The fact that porcupines weigh between 10-30 pounds and can have up to 30,000 quills on its evil little body leads me to believe my 9 pound cat might not like the introduction.
It isn’t just the chance of a pet encounter making me uneasy. This unwelcome vermin is ripping (or gnawing) the skin right off the limbs of my beautiful trees. That kind of damage will kill a younger tree. The more mature trees might not die from the assault, but those pointy little claws and teeth rip through the bark, and expose the tree; which makes even the mightiest one vulnerable to disease.
So although last Saturday was spent getting ready for the sugar season, this Saturday will involve a run down to the local hardware store to buy a live trap, in hopes of catching and then relocating our trespasser. In spite of my hatred of this little beast for the harm he’s inflicting on my land, I didn’t ask my husband to bring home a few extra bullets to do the job. Just because I don’t have the stomach to “off” the thing though doesn’t mean I have intentions of letting it stick around, so I hope it enjoys a road trip.
I’ve had a mantra for years – don’t mess with me, my kids, or my chocolate. Of course when my pets came along they were added to the list, and it seems my mama bear mentality extends to anything that lives on my property, or provides me with something sugary.
Porcupine intruders – time to pack your bags – it’s game time. Wish me luck in my hunting.