Tomatoes. And quill pigs.

Greetings readers. Frodo here – filled with all kinds of gruesome news. Well – perhaps the word gruesome is a bit dramatic- but I do enjoy a good dramatic episode every now and again. Just watch me being groomed….

But our story is not about grooming. It’s about a funeral that will likely be happening today. For our tomato plants. Yes- we had a bit of a tragedy Saturday night. Her highness had planted her vegetable patches last week in the boxes where we are not allowed to pee. She had heard there could be frost so she carefully covered her plants Friday night. Saturday morning they looked happy and healthy. She repeated the covering on Saturday night. Unfortunately, the temperatures were more chilly and when she did the ceremonial unveiling on Sunday morning she was shocked to see that half her tomato plants had shriveled up. She tried in earnest to resuscitate them with some vitamin laced water- but even after a lovely afternoon of sunshine, the poor souls looked no better. Frankly I think she drowned them after they had hypothermia. She didn’t have the heart to remove them yesterday, but I think the funeral will be taking place today. I just hope we don’t need to dress up.

In other unhappy news, it appears that our neighborhood has been invaded not only by bunnies – but by the third largest rodents in North America. The nocturnal ones that weigh between 15 and 35 lbs. The ones that like to eat fruit trees, and appear to have little “benefit” to other forest friends. Perhaps because they have 30,000 quills that cover their body. Yes – I am referring to porcupines.

Allow me to dispel two porcupine myths. One – they do not shoot their quills. They will raise them in self defense, but they do not shoot them. And number two: if you, by horrible luck, happen to encounter one, and find yourself looking like a pin cushion – it is a myth that you should cut the ends off to somehow “deflate” them. Cutting the ends only makes them splinter – and makes the quills more difficult to remove.

So what are porcupines good for? Keeping animal emergency rooms busy – most frequently in the spring and fall.

Last night when we went for our evening constitutional, we saw FOUR porcupines. Actually, that’s a bit of a lie. The beatnik and I saw three. He highness spotted the fourth one herself. One of the porcupines was on the other side of the ditch right along the road – not 15 feet away. The beatnik stopped and was silently looking at something and that’s when her highness spotted not one but two. A big one and a very little one. Probably a mother and baby. Of course when I saw what they were looking at, my greeting was not so silent. The porcupines ran into the woods.

Sources say that if your dog encounters a porcupine, you should take him to the vet ASAP. Long time readers may recall that Viktor had a run in one evening with a quill pig. That’s the Latin translation of porcupine. Her highness worried that by the time they got to the emergency clinic, the quills would have been further embedded. So, with her dear mother acting as surgical assistant (holding a box in which the quills were placed), her highness performed the removal. She also did so because there were none in his mouth or around his eyes. She would not have attempted removal otherwise. She did call the emergency after – and they said they would have done exactly what she did – and he needed no follow up if they were all removed. Luckily they were.

Needless to say, there will be no off leash moments at dawn or dusk around our place. Playing with porcupines is NOT recommended.

Well time to get ready to check the crops. Hopefully there will be no more fatalities today. How am I ever going to eat my tomatoes if this continues?! I think her highness needs to go back to the garden center. And although she had contemplated buying a fruit tree, with our recent influx of quill pigs, she had better not. She isn’t exactly excelling at the farming skills so far this year. That’s all we need is a porcupine magnet.

Have a good one. Peace and paws up. Stay safe.

Oh – and by the way – that’s her highness’ sketch of a porcupine that she did in some nature drawing class last fall. She was trying to be funny. She tries…..

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