I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms . He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.
Fast forward to early this year. My wife often gives me reports on her battles with the neighbourhood cats and their efforts to poop in our garden. This time, she came in and told me that she had discovered Unidentified Poop. Further updates would appear as warranted. Soon, I was informed that she thought it was hedgehog poop, and we began to speculate about the hows and whys of a hedgehog in our garden. Pooping.
My wife began to do her research into hedgehog habits and lifestyles, learning that they are quite peripatetic, and a good thing to have in the garden since they will eat slugs and such like. In addition, it's just kind of neat to think about having a hedgehog in the back garden.
My wife began to worry about the hedgehog, whom we named Harley. (Because Harley just seemed like a girl. Actually, that's not strictly speaking true. There was some behaviour that made us think there might have been a litter somewhere and that Harley was a mom. My wife reminded me that there was a LOT of poop at first, which suggested to us multiple poop-generators, for instance.) In any case, my wife was worried that Harley was safe, that she was getting enough to eat, that she could get in and out of the garden, and so forth.
I got regular poop reports - was there poop, was there no poop, did the poop look right, and so on. We made plans to keep the garden hedgehog friendly. This included making sure that the fence we got to replace the one that came down in the wind last year had a hedgehog tunnel in it.
Then came my great contribution: I got us a wildlife camera that could do infrared pictures and videos. Suddenly, we had verifiable evidence of a hedgehog in the garden. Also cats. And sometimes a mouse. And, every now and then, an enormous snail. This led to a different type of anxiety. Were there pictures, were there no pictures? If no pictures, why not? Was the camera in the right place? Was it too high? Too low? It also led to interesting speculation as we tried to figure out Harley's routine and timing. (Spoiler alert: we still haven't.) We did get some videos, though.
Somewhere in here, my wife, while reviewing the videos made a discovery. She saw something that made her think Harley was a boy. Harley was scratching, as hedgehogs will do, and my wife thought she saw, shall we say, one leg more than expected. Based on this, we revised Harley's pronouns to they/their.
The next installment in the Harley Chronicle came in June. Our neighbours to the north sold their property to a small developer who intended to remove the dilapated warehouse and build six or seven dwellings - a semi-detached house and some flats, I think. We were (and are) in favour of the plan, and after some discussion of rights of way and rights of access, a complicated issue in many parts of England, the sale went through and the demolition of the site was scheduled.
This caused us some concern, since Harley's main in- and e-gress was on the north side. We think. We're pretty sure, actually since in several of the videos (e.g. 21042501 and 21042901), Harley uses the tunnel we made. My wife consulted the experts, and the advice was to make our garden into a hedgehog paradise. This involves, among other things, putting out cat food for the hedgehog. This worked alright for a couple of days, such as in video 21051001, until some of the cats figured out what we were doing.
And ... that was last we saw of Harley. The poop report is sadly lacking in hedgehog excreta. The camera shows cats and birds. And sometimes, if we set the timer badly, my wife or myself. But no hedgehog. Our best guess is that the completed demolition of the site next door has either confused poor Harley, by removing landmarks, and/or has rendered it a poor hunting ground, and so they have ventured further afield.
We live in hope, though, and keep setting the camera out. One day, perhaps, I'll check the pictures and will see our little Harley slipping through their gate once again.
Luddite'sLog, 10 July 2021
© 2021 Jeff Berry
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