Weekword: Simplicity

I love the simplicity of nature. This hungry porcupine was chowing down some blackberry bushes just outside my office this afternoon. His bucket list is short & sweet.

– Get enough to eat/drink.
– Sleep warm, safe & dry.
– Avoid danger; if unavoidable, survive attacks.
– Mate; if female, bear & raise youngsters.

That’s basically it. No urge to acquire material possessions, or debt as a result. No formal education required for best success. Not interested in relationships or self-enrichment. Just the quills on one’s back, some cranial pre-programming by genetic evolution & life’s luck of the draw. Now that’s simplicity. Photographing porcupines is pretty simple, too. They are slow moving & don’t see very well in daylight, so you can easily catch up to one on foot. To dissuade me, this guy (or girl? I didn’t try to check!) splayed his quills, made some not-so-ferocious clicking noises with his teeth & kept his head down in defense. After his photo op, he lumbered off into the woods. To see other expressions of the Weekword “simplicity”, click here. 

We see bobcats frequently this time of year, too. They are more camera-shy & amazingly well camouflaged! We have to try to take pics thru our windows, as when we go outdoors, they run off. Bobcats were a big deal in our region of NH last winter, as there was a study being conducted. We study them thru informal observation & documentation, with all the other wildlife around here (for other examples, click my sidebar category “Nature Things”). Today we saw a pair of bobcats together, one male, one female. That was a first! I called a local friend of ours, an expert on New England mammal ecology. He said they are most likely first-year siblings, not a mating pair, as it’s too early (bobcats don’t mate until March). Bobcat mothers sever ties with their youngsters in late summer or fall. Now on their own for hunting food, littermates tend to stick together as they start their first winter season. Here are the best pictures I could get, given their distance & skittish nature.

Both bobcats are shown here, the male on the stone wall at far right, the female at far left (she is looking away from the camera, but you can her body just beside those tree trunks in the foreground). Below is the pair walking right down the center of our road! We get to stare at them extensively through our binoculars &/or spotting scope. They are absolutely beautiful. I never get tired of seeing them around, even though my flock of hens would rather they hunt elsewhere. Let’s hope these bobcats are mostly hungry for all-you-can-catch squirrel buffet!

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17 Responses to “Weekword: Simplicity”

  1. mike Says:

    How cute, 2 cool animals that I will never see in the wild just taking their time, hanging out, for you to photograph. I like the porcupine in the snow shot the best, probably because he’s right there, unlike the bobcats which make you work for it, tough to locate them, nature did well.
    And hey, worst case, if they take a fancy to your hens, maybe you’ll get a 2nd appearance in Poultry Digest (I really do wish I could remember the name of that magazine. hmmm, I’ll go look because you post had the word famous….there it is! Chickens! magazine!)
    Have a great weekend!

  2. Christine Says:

    I’ve seen a bobcat outside our office window… but a porcupine – now that would be a first! do their quills stand up when they get nervous? do you see them often? or during a particular season (ex: summer, winter)? I realized I know very little about porcupines (other than the cartoons where they “shoot their quills” at the enemy).
    Nature really falls into the category of “simplicity” I think!
    Thanks for participating in WEEKWORD…

    • henniemavis Says:

      They have few predators, so our porcupine population is high. We see them often, all year ’round. And btw, that “shooting quills” thing… it’s a myth. They can’t do that. To get impaled, you must actually touch them… & trust me, we don’t!

      Re: Weekword, I may try to follow for a while… last year, I missed a few weeks, then couldn’t find the Wordgiver & lost the thread!

  3. peggy fussell Says:

    What great photos. I love that porcupine! The bobcats are gorgeous. Look out squirrelies!

  4. S.E.Minegar Says:

    I have never seen a porcupine IRL. That sucker seems huge….and bobcats, whoa. I guess we have black bears in these parts, but I have been lucky enough not to encounter any firsthand.

    I totally agree with your assessment thought. Animals are the ultimate livers of simplicity. Amazing.

  5. mary taitt Says:

    You’re so lucky to live where you can see porcupines and bobcats! Can I move in with you? I have seen porcupines, before, but not since moving to Detroit–and no good photos.

    You post reminds me of Barbara Kingsolver saying that needs are so small as to rattle around in a bucket–compared to wants. They are simple, but definitely not easy!

    Good chow for thought!

    I did a simplicity post, too, at No Polar.

  6. henniemavis Says:

    @S.E.minegar: This porcupine was about the same size as a big raccoon. They look smaller when relaxed (when quills lay flat on their bodies). But to photo that, I’d have to be far away, so he’d relax! We see blackbears firsthand, too. See my bear pic here, taken just off my front doorstep, yikes!

    @Mary: I know you would love it here. Your hubby & mine would not like us moving in together, but I do sure wish we lived closer!

  7. Maria Wheeler Says:

    I have only seen a bobcat while studying Wildlife Mngt. at the Univ of Maine at summer camp and it was a sight I will NEVER forget. Such beautiful animals; I admit I have a preference for felines. Lovely post about the simple things in life that most of us are unaware of; lucky you to be THERE! Thanks for the photos.

  8. Domestic Scribbles Says:

    Love the porcupine photo as I have never seen one personally. We often read about a porcupine named “Fluffy” here and his life is pretty complex. ;-)

    • henniemavis Says:

      Fluffy? I love kids’ books (the illustrations are the best!). Don’t know it, will look it up… author? Oh wait, I found it already! A Porcupine Named Fluffy by Helen Lester, illus. by Lynn Munsinger. It’s on my library list for this week :-)

  9. Carmen Hirkala Says:

    Glad to see you are back with us on WeekWord Hennie! I’m always so envious of your beautiful garden and the wildlife you have access to, bobcats are gorgeous “little” big cats. We see them often on the trails near the American River here actually in the middle of Sacramento, but they take off so fast, I usually just see their backend :) I love porcupines and have gotten to hold a few babies over the years helping with wildlife care, they are so so adorable. Thanks for sharing your beautiful outdoor friends.

    • henniemavis Says:

      Goodness, thanks for a warm welcome back, all of you… especially Junebug, who validated my insensitivity about my local overpopulation of rodentia. HA!

      @Carmen: Yes, even the fleeing butts of bobcats are cute.
      @Christine: I’ll try to check back with you next time I lose the Weekword thread, but have time to do one here & there :-)

  10. christine Says:

    Hennie – I’ve been trying to keep a WEEKWORD list going with host + blog + selected word (I know, I know – I’m slightly neurotic!)… so when you stop & start, give me a hollar & I may be able to link you to the host for that week…. loved having you back! your posts appeal to the “nature side of me”

  11. Junebug Says:

    Sometimes I feel like the porcupine.
    I LOL at the all you can eat squirrel joke. One of bffs hates squirrels with a passion and would truly behind a moment for such a thing.

  12. Pearl Says:

    what a privilege to get to see Bobcats and porcs. Nice picture of the ambler too.

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