Saturday, March 22, 2014

Woodchuck Alert

I looked up just in time to see a woodchuck trundling down our paver path.  By the time I got outside to look for the trespasser it had made it into our backyard by the still barren blueberry bushes and was heading towards the intersection of our two neighbor’s properties.  (We live on a corner with houses immediately to our east and south.)

It is, I believe, the first instance of these furry brown marmots – aka groundhogs or whistle-pigs or land-beavers – to be seen on our estate.  And appropriately the alleged soothsayer of spring was spotted on the Vernal Equinox  – the very day when his prediction was to be officially proven regrettably true.

He was, as I recall unfortunately correct in foretelling the long winter that still awaited us and thus prompted my favorite LOL email of the year thus far.

Nonetheless, unlike most gardeners, I have a warm spot in my heart for these heavily built, gregarious, burrowing rodents beginning from the time Mars and I spent living in our first apartment in a complex pretty much surrounded by miles of woodchuck burrows. 
Some of them lived in a large open field across the street from our floor-to-ceiling front window and were clearly visible as they waddled nonchalantly from cave to cave.  Others were more secluded in a tree-filled area that ran along one side of the rental property, which my young son B and I would wander through on warm summer mornings and cold winter afternoons being ever-watchful not to step into one of the openings and twist an ankle.

 We meet B’s Godparents – she originally from Punxsutawney PA, the home of the official prognosticating groundhog – in the same housing unit when they lived across the hall from our pad, and they remain close friends today.

Plus, in all our years of vegetable and flower gardening at our own homestead no woodchuck has ever done harm to any of our growing things

Personally I think Punxsutawney Phil gets badgered and bullied every year into giving his pessimistic prediction just so the media can breathlessly report their negative newscast.  With all those damn television lights shining in his eyes as he’s dragged from his warm cozy sleeping quarters into the bitter cold February wind – who wouldn’t be in a grumpy mood?

Maybe someday this captive clairvoyant will wake up, smell the coffee, and sink his little rodent teeth right into the hand of his top-hat-wearing torturer.  This time “’hog bites man” would be news – and LOL.

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