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.


At 13 July, 2006, Blogger Lady Strathconn said...

Your little guy is so cute! I love the little hands out pose. We have groundhogs in the area around our school (fairly rural) and they are very popular.

On the other hand we have a mole or 2 in our yard, and I am ready to shoot the darn things

At 13 July, 2006, Blogger 3rd Times a Charm said...

That is one of the sweetest stories I have read in ages! Your little guy is adorable! And the groundhog is cute too, although being aware of what a nuisance they can become, I'm glad you caught her and let her go far away! :-) Thanks for sharing the pics. with the story, that gave me several smiles.

PS. Looking forward to your how to keep a turkey in suspense story! ;-)

At 14 July, 2006, Blogger Curare_Z said...

that is the best story I've read in while. Just a simple trap. And Big Brownie reunited with her family. I'm sure someone is going to be knocking on your door for the movie rights soon. :-)

At 14 July, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow i dont think i'v ever seen a groundhog before

At 15 July, 2006, Blogger Rocky said...

I enjoyed your groundhog story. Very nice that you relocated Big Brownie and her babies. Bravo!

At 03 August, 2006, Blogger Sayre said...

What a beauty. When I lived in OK, there were prairie dogs. They lived in "towns", so people would always be on the lookout for them and try to catch the singletons before they brought the gang because prairie dog towns were protected. You couldn't kill them - you had to move them. It involved big hoses and cages and finding a free space. I don't know what the rules are now (it's been nearly 20 years since I lived there), but that's what they were then!


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