Last night we were visited again by our porcupine. Maybe the unseasonal heat and humidity had made him irritable, but this time he chewed through the hardware cloth which my husband had wrapped around the post of the garage to protect it. Through the holes that he ripped in the mesh, our porcupine made significant progress towards his goal of eating the garage post. Were you under the impression that a porcupine's quills are his only significant weapon? Apparently he has quite a set of teeth as well, on top of an indomitable will.
At dinner with an herbalist friend, we told her our problem. She said that wild creatures in general hate the smell and taste of aromatic plant essences, such as mint. Fortunately, we have enough mint (pepper-, apple-, orange-, and lemon balm) to deter an army of undesirables, so this evening my husband picked a bunch, and threaded it into the remains of the hardware cloth.
Those herbs attached to the weather beaten post make me think of the wayside shrines you sometimes saw in Europe--located in spots consecrated in turn to nameless earth spirits, Druid divinities, Roman goddesses, and the Virgin Mary--and which the rustic passersby would honor with a handful of aromatic herbs, or a bouquet of wildflowers.
Will the power of mint do the job that the humane trap and the hardware cloth failed at, and keep our porcupine-chewed garage from collapsing? I'll let you know.