Porcupine, bear, lake trout & crunchy grasshoppers

Electric lime greens in the early summer woods

Electric lime greens in the early summer woods

Lots has been happening in our Little House in the Woods.  I seem to forget, at times, that we’re still in the midst of a pandemic.  Here are a few highlights:

At 1 a.m. on Sunday morning a noise startled me from sleep.  Bang, bang, bang!  What the heck?  Sleep felt so lovely…but it sounded like Mischief in the Woods.  I had to get up and investigate. Sure enough, our wiley & quilly porcupine friend had decided to eat our front porch.  He was gnawing the steps with gusto.  I shouted.  He glanced up to say hello.  Barry (from bed) suggested shining a flashlight in his eyes.  He blinked.  I sighed–heart pounding fiercely–and decided to open the front door and chase him away.  He raised his quilly butt and shook it threateningly, but duly waddled away.  Barry, good man, roused from bed and sprayed the chewed wooden steps with Wasp and Hornet Spray, to provide bad taste should our marauder visit again.  The next day he slopped paint on the errant boards.  Don’t come again, ye porkie.

A porcupine on the road

Not our current porcupine.  This one visited in 2013.

During the weekend Barry, Captain John and two other masked crew went a’fishing in Lake Superior for the deep-water lake trout.  The previous night the temperature hovered just above freezing.  We held our breath all night long, praying for the garden tomatoes and peppers.  They survived.   The fishing crew wore long underwear, winter pants and coat, warm hats.  The wiley lake trout decided to bite.  Barry decided to reward the crew with treats:  crunchy grasshoppers!  Our darling daughter had sent him salt & lemon grasshoppers with his birthday package…yum! Three of the four crew members munched.  Not too bad, they said.  (I am abstaining.  No crunchy grasshoppers for me, although Barry cajoles daily.)


Barry faithfully cleaned his lake trout and tossed the fishy bags outside to dispose later.  He properly disposed of fish head and guts, mind you. The following night…guess who decided to steal our garbage?  Yes, our neighborhood bear, we’re pretty sure.  Who else has the prowess to carry a stinky full garbage bag into the woods, just to munch on some yellow fish-stained grocery bags?  We played search-and-find looking for that garbage bag.  It was located quite easily behind the oak tree, heading down the ravine.  I had heard a THUMP! in the middle of the night and mumbled, “The porcupine is back” to Barry.  He checked the front porch, but no porkie.  It must have been the bear stealing the garbage.


When a fishy bag ends up in the yard

Before you suggest we call the authorities to have the bear relocated–which may be a good idea at some point–I think we’re just going to quit baiting the bear with fish.  Good idea, right?

Other news:  our wood-hauling 1949 Studebaker pickup truck erupted smoke out of the muffler last week.  We had it towed to the mechanic in town for repair.  Luckily, it’s a minor repair.  And to Barry’s delight the mechanic is sprucing up a half dozen other things on the truck, thereby saving him precious time and effort.

 OK, OK, you want to see a pic of the '49 Stude, do you?  Here it is, filled with wood.  It's a wood-haulin' truck, you know.

A picture of the Studebaker filled with wood

You might think that stopped our wood cutting and splitting, but no.  We continued to cut and split, stacking the logs out by the wood pile until the truck returns.

Then–just to keep things lively around here–the chainsaw died.   (It’s only about 30 years old.)  We headed up to the nearest Husqvarna dealer 60 miles away and bought ourselves a brand new $900 saw.

The temperature soared to 90 degrees yesterday so we haven’t had time to resume our wood cutting fun, but we’re heading outside to give the new chainsaw its test drive very soon before the temperature elevates again. No winter coats today!

Just another exciting day in the woods…




About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in June, 2020 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Porcupine, bear, lake trout & crunchy grasshoppers

  1. Definitely sounds like your busy season! Early this morning (about 3am I reckon) a mourning dove woke me up cooing and cooing for several hours right outside my window. It was lovely and I should be grateful it wasn’t a porcupine banging and banging! (But now I’m very tired this morning.) I keep telling myself I should learn to enjoy eating insects in case the day comes when I won’t be able to use meat for my protein intake, but I haven’t quite got the nerve yet. 🙂 (Unfortunately grains and legumes are not an option for this would-be vegetarian…)

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, even a lovely mourning dove can interfere with sleep…I hope you get a nap today! As for being a wood-be vegetarian, you and I are in the same boat. What I would give to be able to eat beans and grains again. xoxoxo

  2. Larissa says:

    You have lupines! How lovely! ❤

  3. Why is it that porcupine has got no quills? The ones we have here in Zimbabwe, Southern Africa are big and have quills. If you corner it, the fella fights back by shooting its quills which can inflict some great damage and much pain especially if it’s a dog that gets hit. Interesting story though.

    • Kathy says:

      Hello to you in South Africa! The only reason this porcupine doesn’t seem to have quills is that it isn’t alarmed, for some reason. The quills come up when the creature gets panicked. This one is a Calm Porcupine. A lot of dogs get punctured around here, too. Not a pretty sight and it hurts to remove them.

  4. dawnkinster says:

    Wow! And to think some people think life in the woods would be boring! I think I have only seen a porcupine 2 times, alive anyway and I think both of those were somewhere out west. I suppose we have them around here too, I should research that. And the bear, well, yes I think not baiting him (or her) any more would be a really good thing, though I think he will show up for at least the next few nights just in case. Love your old truck, it’s so beautiful, glad it can continue to give you a hand with that woodpile! But $900 fro a chainsaw? I guess I had no idea they were so expensive! Hope this one lasts another 30 years!

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, it is utterly surprising how exciting woods life has been–especially THIS spring! It’s like we have a new adventure every day. We had another one last night, which I don’t want to completely share yet but it involved our tame chipmunk staging a home invasion to find sunflower seeds. Really???? Anyway, we couldn’t believe the $900 chainsaw either, but apparently prices have doubled in 30 years. Last one we paid $450. Wishing you a glimpse of a porcupine sometime soon. Preferably not chewing down your house. 🙂

  5. dorannrule says:

    A lovely post with sll the challenges of wilderness living. Our house is on the edge of a woods and we get all the critters too. It’s a wonderful life.

    • Kathy says:

      Dor, I’ll bet you do understand about woods living! It is wonderful–and challenging at times, too. So glad that we decided to pursue this kind of lifestyle.

  6. Carol says:

    Do you sometimes feel a bit like Daniel Boone? Never a dull night in your neighborhood apparently. And the weather this spring – ours has also been very fickle – each day is a question – “short sleeves, long sleeves, or warm long sleeves?”.

    • Kathy says:

      “Daniel Boone was a man, such a big man! With an eye like an eagle…” I am now singing that song from the childhood TV show. Yes, definitely, we often feel like modern-day pioneers. Except when hopping on a plane or buying a latte in town. *grin* Wondering if you’re having warm, hot or cold weather today. (I do keep an eye on Oregon weather but haven’t checked recently.) We have our last day of hot. Another day near 90. Just finished watering the garden in the early morning cool.

      • Carol says:

        We just had a period of days in the 50s, now in the 70s, and next week 80s. Mother Nature seems to be having trouble deciding what she wants.

  7. Do like to see a good supply of logs. We’ve been using lock-down to get our heap of timber chopped and stored. Never in the 29 years of living here have had so much fire wood ready to go. I’ll confess to being ever so slightly terrified of bears, they were always a feature of my ‘fever dreams’ as a child.

    • Kathy says:

      Congratulations on your lock-down fire wood accomplishments! That is great. The benefit is that chopping all the wood makes a person feel like they’re not very cooped up. As for bears, totally understand. I would not want to meet one face-to-face in the woods or elsewhere. They are OK to admire from afar, but that’s the limit. 🙂

      • Our son has been home finishing his uni studies, wielding an axe has been a great way to unwind! Then we stacked them together, which has been a bonus mother and son time, that I was expecting, so a good thing to come from lock-down.

  8. This is the kind of excitement I love. This is the kind of excitement we can all use more of. Mother Nature (in the form of porcupines and bear and fish, oh my) shake our confidence a bit, wake us up, and say, “HEY! LOOK AT ME!” This afternoon I was reading on the front porch (yes, in my rocking chair), watching the bird feeder and listening to the wild turkeys gobble a distance away and suddenly … WHOOSH – a louder whoosh than I’ve ever heard in my life, flew by me (three feet away?) and grabbed something and flew off. Red-tailed hawk. He had to have swooped down 80 mph – no lie. I didn’t see what he got – bird or chipmunk. The woods were silent for about 5 minutes – Nature praying? – before the birds came back to the feeder and the chipmunks to the bushes below my feet.

    • Kathy says:

      What excitement YOU had! That red-tailed hawk happening must have started your heart a’thumpin’ crazily. Nature does keep us on our toes. How nice that you have the serenade of wild turkeys. They are very new to us here in the Upper Peninsula, only having ventured this far north in recent years due to global warming. I am still entranced. I have a new story to divulge about a chipmunk breaking into our house last night, but will wait until I’m not so annoyed to tell the tale (tail?) Ha ha!

  9. Stacy says:

    Isn’t it funny, Kathy, that even when it seems as though nothing is happening, so much is really happening? That’s kind of the theme of what I’ve been writing the past few days. Except, it took your words to make that apparent. XOXO

  10. Ally Bean says:

    Good golly Miss Molly you do have the adventures. Your pickup truck looks to be in amazing shape and the amount of wood you’ve cut is outstanding. I live a much more tame life than you do which is why I like to read about yours. Living vicariously, you know.

    • Kathy says:

      My goodness–this spring it seems like there’s something happening all the time!! I just wrote ANOTHER adventure story about a home invasion that happened Wednesday night. When I texted our kids about it they thought the term “home invasion” was rather scary and extreme, but it did happen! (Glad to share stories with you. Sometimes it’s just oo much to leave them all floating around in this head.)

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