So there I was, sitting at the computer, when a voice called "Hey, look out the window!"

I jumped up and ran to the huge picture window that overlooks my front yard, just in time to see a enormous porcupine scurry up the tree my kids usually climb! Knowing they were in the back yard, with our dog, playing with some neighbors, I ran to the back door and beckoned for everyone to come through the house (especially the dog--I was not interested in picking quills out of a Boston Terrier's face this morning) so that I could escort them all through the garage, out to the side of the house and past the tree, to safety.

It was the middle of the day, and I know porcupines are typically nocturnal, so I wanted to make sure to keep the kids away from an animal who was acting a bit off. My guess, the critter's schedule was disrupted by the jackhammering going on at a nearby construction site, and it wandered into the neighborhood. Whatever it was that prompted the visit, it was a good reminder to me to be vigilant for wildlife that might be around. As the weather gets warmer, and our pets and kids (and even we, ourselves) spend more time in the great outdoors (or at least our back and front yards) we should definitely be keeping our eyes peeled to see who or what might be around us.

Had someone not spotted the porcupine heading up the tree, I have no doubt my son and his friends would have rounded that corner and climbed up in there, as they do multiple times in an afternoon. Hopefully they wouldn't have been met with a sore surprise--but there's no guarantee. We have a makeshift fort in the back yard and there are plenty of hide-and-go-seek games that span the neighborhood on any given day. So this was a good "teachable" moment to share with my family about the importance of being aware of your surroundings.

It was by far the most exciting thing to take place this afternoon. And I am happy to report that no one was injured during all of today's commotion. Our little stubbly buddy quietly made it's way back down the tree, to the back yard, and back up into a tree that it's better suited to be in, as the closest kid-friendly climbing branch sits about 35 feet above ground. Nature is so cool...when you can watch it from an appropriate distance, of course!