Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I'm alright,and nope, nobody heard about me.

Those are the lyrics, right?

Golly. I am sorry. Poor little turkeys in suspense.

It's occured to me that I am a lousy blogger once the sun shines. I'm a bad weather blogger. Which is good news to some, the two of yous, that actually read this thing. Why? Because I live in Cleveland. Not exactly the sunshine state, now is it?


So, yeah, the GroundHog. Whatever happened to it, Deb?

Well, like I mentioned earlier in my last post, you know, the one I wrote about five years ago? Yes, that one. Big Brownie had a "friend", but then that one moved out and left Big Brownie on their own. And then Spring blew into town and Big Brownie came out of the hole. And ate some dandelions. No, Big Brownie did not scurry right back in after catchy it's frightfully fat shadow. That Winter weight could scare anyone right back into bed. Let me tell you, groundhogs are notoriously shy and perhaps an even lessser known fact is that they are also very modest creatures. Combine that and the weight gain and you have one very depressed animal when swimsuits are all on display at the underground mall.

Well, John cursed the furball and I did too. But secretly, I said a little "Hi there, Stranger!" and went back about the business of talking about how we were going to rid ourselves of this thing.

After a few more weeks went by of simply hoping and praying to Saint Petunia (patron saint of ridding your garden and/or lawn of inwanted pests) Big Brownie was still hanging around. Wishing thinking just wouldn't get us anywhere I tell you. But it did give us a suprise. When you can't get rid of one groundhog, many more appear, looking for places to live. Well not exactly, it was more like they just multiply.

That's right.

Turns out Big Brownie's a girl. And she had some babies. And let me tell you they were so damn cute! But that's not the point, right? Now our hands were tied. You can't try to trap or shoo away the mother from her babies, they need her to survive. And even John couldn't deny little gound-pups their mama. Although I have this sneaking suspicion that if I weren't around to remind him of the wonders of nature, he'd a clubbed that Mother Hog like it was baby seal.

A few more weeks went by, during which John had complained about our plight to any neighbor who'd listen and give him some advice or shrug and say, "Whaddya gonna do?"
Ray, next door, told John that he really better do something about that groundhog and the offspring because they were going to become his problem soon. He was right, but what to do then? Bill, next door on the other side, told John that a trap really might work. And on my way out to have the best corned beef at Slyman's (pronounced Shlyman's, extra spitting encouraged) I backed out of the driveway and spotted a metal cage in front of my door. What's this? I asked myself.

Kind of mysterious, I thought. Because for the rest of the day I had no idea why there was a dirty metallic cage sitting at our door. No note, no nod from a neighbor taking credit, nothing. But as it turns out it was only Bill lending his handy groundhog trap to us. I mean that's nice and all, but did you ever hear of leaving a note and maybe some instructions?

We put it out over the weekend and two days went by without a-nothing. We had baited it with vanilla extract, lettuce, bits of tomato, and part of bush I'd seen them nibbling on. Then Monday morning John found a small scared young groundhog. I came out to have a look-see and felt so heartbroken, the poor terrified little creature. It had no idea what was going on. But John took it to a feild and the little bugger ran free to dig and eat dandelions and burrow itself his first apartment.

The next morning we caught another, and the next day, another. Then a week went by with no catch at all. We'd been hanging out in the backyard all afternoon that Thursday and then went out front for about ten minutes and came to the back again to find another young groundhog trapped. For those of you keeping count, that's a total of four baby hogs. Big Brownie, though, still on the loose.

About a month has gone by since my last post and I am thrilled to report that I got that Big Brownie. I found that all it took was a Red Delicious Apple. I was even there rooting her on into the trap from the kitchen window. She set foot inside as she had many times before but ussually her suspicions got the best of her and she'd scurry back out again never setting off the trap. But this time the temptation of the sweet juicy apple was too much to walk away from. She'd nibbled on the slices I laid out on a short trail up to the cage. To get the biggest hunk of apple she'd have to get inside. She stepped in, cautiously, and then moved in a little closer and then right as she laid a paw on the catch the door shut behind her. She jumped and turned around quickly realizing her fate, desparately trying to dig her way out. I jumped as well, did an obnoxious dance and Jack joined in not knowing what all the hype was about but he was game. I called John to tell him that I did it. I caught that ground hog. Me.

Ray helped me load her into the car and take her to her new home, she was a heffer. And we set her free in the same field her children had ran off in before her. She was scared in that trap, not knowing what lay ahead, but not so scared that she didn't finish eating her apple, probably figuring it was her last meal. We opened the trap door and watched her run like her ass was on fire and we laughed. That groundhog brought half the neighborhood together. I know that somewhere in that big peice of land she's running and wobbling around the tall grass, digging big fat holes you can break a leg in, and happy as can be....miles away from here.

By the way, how do you keep a turkey in suspense?

I'll tell you tomorrow.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

It has been a while, no?

Despite my new foreign writing accent, nothing much else has happened. I haven't had a lot to report on in about three weeks. But there are a few little things that I could share, I suppose.

Hmmm. Let's think, here. Well, there was this morning's little adventure. Yes, that's right. The Groundhog.

After a year or more of scheming, we've caught one of the buggers and set it free to roam in someone else's field. Let that little critter have a happy life in the wild, but not in our yard, thank you very much.

About a year ago, John and I found a large brown animal that looked like a beaver/cat-without-a-tail wobbling around the backyard. I found him cute and wooly and he ate up the dandelions. All good things in my book.

But the "oohs" and "ahs" came to a screeching hault when John found a gaping hole about ten inches in diameter right in front of the shed door. "Someone's gonna break a leg stepping into that thing!" he exclaimed. "Why, that's just silly," I said, "Who in their right mind would step in it on purpose?" But I didn't really say that, because I knew our son mistake. But that never happened either. I showed him exactly where it was and told him a wonderful tale about a groundhog who lived in there and only came out when we're inside the house to eat the weeds. Jack respected the hole. He would tiptoe around it and always point out that "that's where the groundhog lives- don't step in the hole!" And when his friends and cousins came to play, we'd pop a soccer ball in it like a cork to make sure no insurance claims would be called in.

That Fall we saw that the big brown wooly feller had a big grayish wooly friend. They moved in together. We got nervous and thought trouble was brewing. Let's face it, groundhogs don't know the first thing about safe sex and much less about combining his and her furniture and belongings from both their holes into one. But we heard things weren't working out. Eventually, the big gray one moved out. Big Brownie never heard from him again. Good riddens, I say.

Winter came and all the groundhogs hunkered down into their respective holes.

Then sometime this past April, the big brown fella squeezed his fat hibernating ass out of that hole. I was thrilled, Spring was coming early! John, not so much.

You see, I neglected to say how John and I called the city of Solon to ask what they were going to do about this nuiscance of ours. Actually, John was the one all up in a huff about it. But the city wasn't going to do anything. They shrugged and said that we had to trap it ourselves and then we could call them. But I was worried about what the poor little animal's fate would be when the city came out to "collect" him. Collect. Was one the city workers going around and "collecting" the trapped wild animals and skinning them? Huh? Does anybody really know? Well, I couldn't get a straight answer so I told John we could probably just stuff up the hole after he runs out and then with his home all boarded up, he'd have to find a new place to live. Of course that would probably mean he'd go and set up camp in our unsuspecting neighbors' yards, who later would give us the evil eye and train their dog to go in our yard.

I would stake out in the house all morning by the window and when that big brown furball ran out of his hole and far enough away, I would run out and put a big rock in his doorway. Later, he'd come back and would at the place his hole used to be and look around as if his car was stolen. "I swear I parked it right here! Oh, this is bogus, man," and then he'd go hobble away into the bushes. But the next day he'd dug alittle bit around and squeezed into his hole again. Damn thing knows how to break into it's own house.

When your own gem of an idea doesn't work, what else can you do but turn to the internet? I researched "groundhogs", a.k.a. "woodchucks"or "gophers", and found that they will only be scared out of their hole if they think a predator is trying to invade. And wolves are the predators. Unfortunately for us, there just aren't enough wolves wandering around to scare them off, and if their were, we wouldn't have a severe issue with the over-population of deer and groundhogs. And I know for a fact if they were actually living among us, the people of this town would be up in arms and claiming that we need to shoo them out of town for they'd eat our pets and children. A double edged sword for sure.

But where there may not be wolves, it is possible to purchase bottles of wolves' urine. That's right. I found that out on the trusty internet. And I found a local store that sold it. Ewww, I know. But you can bet a bought a bottle. And how much is a bottle of wolf pee going for these days, you might ask? About ten dollars in change. I'd like to know more about the background of this product, like where did it come from? Who collects this urine? Do they have wolves lined up on a big machine with funnels attached to their "parts" leading straight into these bottles? Is it then pastuerized or something, because I don't know if stale wolf pee is gonna do the trick now.

Well, after I put on some latex gloves, dribbled a little bit around the hole, and washed my hands, of course, I waited inside by the window. After about ten minutes the groundhog peeked it's head out and then ran like hell. Yeah! It worked! I'm a genius!

Not so fast.

Okay, more on this later....I promise. It's getting dangerously too long for one little post. You'd had enough reading for today, now haven't you?