Tuesday, April 26, 2011


This is our new groundhog. He showed up a few weeks ago. Until now he's been camera shy, or maybe it's that Max pounds on the dining room doors and screeches whenever he spots him roaming around the backyard. Max is our Groundhog First Alert system.

He's cute, and the kids are fascinated, but I'm hoping we're not in for another season of wildlife weirdness. (Some of you may recall the house squirrel I got Dave for our 10th anniversary and last summer's dead birds/town hall fiasco.) I am quite sure wise commenter Felicia will urge me to get some Eau de Coyote Pee, aka the potion she typically recommends to fend off critters.

The Big G likes to saunter out from under the backyard shed at about 2:00 p.m. for brunch (grass). Shortly after he retires for a nap and/or a cocktail, then he returns around 7:00 for dinner (grass). Word, I do not know for sure it is a he, unless he starts lounging on our deck chair and not doing the chores I asked him to do, and then I will for sure know he's a male who might be related to Dave.

I was a little concerned he'd eat the flowers but he's all about grass. Who knows, maybe we will save big on lawn maintenance this year, because this groundhog is a porker. I wish he'd snack on the overgrown shrubbery, but no such luck.

Hmmm.... Wonder if you can train a groundhog to be a watch-groundhog. We'd get "WARNING! ATTACK GROUNDHOG ON PREMISES!" signs to deflect robbers and we'd also save a ton of money on our alarm system.

I am all about finding ways to monetize the groundhog.

Got ideas for a name? And, yes, Purple Spaghetti Groundhog is in the running.


  1. I have to say that I think groundhogs are cute, but not when they're doing any type of damage. I hope your new little buddy turns out to be happy just munching on your grass, because I was visiting one of our local cemeteries the other day to see a groundhog pop up from inside a gaping hole he'd dug next to one of the headstones! Turned out there were dozens more, which made me not like that groundhog - or groundhogs - very much at all. :(

  2. Awh, how cute! I love groudhogs! They make me giggle, the way they trundle about. I'm so glad zie posed for a picture for you. c:

    Though I must say, the statement about the groundhog's gender is quite sexist.

  3. He looks cute to me...but I've never had to clean up after one before lol!

  4. Ha ha!! You know me too well!!!

    You do know this is the "mating season" for those critters--you'll have a family of woodchucks before ya know it!! That "porker" just might be "preggo!" Depending on your weather, there might already be a few newborns in the burrow--they aren't like us, they go from horizontal dance to delivery in thirty short days!!! I'm thinking your fatso may be ready to pop out a few little woodchuck babies!

    Come summertime, you'll probably be seeing the babies as they start to wander around and forage.

    They will go after your vegetable garden--count on it, so you are just gonna HAVE to dig a big trench and put in your chickenwire fence a foot down with an angle bend in it to keep the little so-and-so's out! I would also put up some flags that flutter in the breeze or those little pinwheels that we all love--they're timid little farts and are afraid of movement, which is a good thing, because they have huge teeth and sharp claws for digging. Your only other option is to do container gardening on your porch or deck (but I'd still get some pee for around the plants and cages for them, too! And pinwheels for fun, what the heck!).

    Yep, even if you container garden on a raised deck, you will also need the "predator pee" because not only do they do love to dig, they also do love to climb (oh yeah--they're rodents, like squirrels, only fatter looking!). They can even haul their big butts up trees with the right motivation. Coyote pee is good, and Bobcat will do, too, just fine--spray a little on your flutter flags on the perimeter of your garden, and refresh it after a rain. Just call up the nearest feed store (or a pet store that's really well stocked, and has, say, horse stuff) and find out if they have it before you drive over to get it. It's not that expensive, under twenty bucks, usually. You can even find the stuff online (I have never tried buying it that way, I always go over to the feed store and if they don't have it, they order it for me). Just put it in a spray bottle and use it judiciously (if you use too much, they lose the fear)--keep it in a cool place so it doesn't get funky (a ziplock bag in a cool basement is fine--you don't have to keep it in the fridge). Don't go for those dried granules they sell in hardware stores (they have herbs, garlic and dried pee in 'em)--in my experience, those are crap, they only embolden the little farts.

    Have you found the burrow yet? There should be more than one hole (usually a main entrance, an escape hatch and sometimes a little peephole)--you want to find them so you don't put a foot in it and twist an ankle or worse. That's a great way to eff up a summer! Make a note of where it is in case you find yourself in the mood to trap and relocate the little darling(s). Sometimes they dig a "summer house" that is separate from their hibernation burrow--you will just have to look around!

    We've got rabbits up the yingyang this year--my daddy keeps saying "Mmmm, good eating!" and threatening to get down his gun, but I just can't make that leap! I know they eat rabbit all the time in Europe, and it tastes like chicken, but so does snake, and I don't go for that either!! I have no idea what groundhog/woodchuck is supposed to taste like...!

    Hmmmmm, how to make money off Miz Woodchuck....maybe you guys could make a nature film of the little bugger and her babies???

  5. Oh Geez. The post had me worried but Felicia's comment has me terrified.

    I can buy predator pee on the internet?? What do I use on an office troll? Who is the appropriate predator? I do hope not to be tricked into getting freeze dried - I'm sure that won't do, not at all.

    The first time a friend who grew up hunting told me about "deer in heat" scent in a spray can, I really didn't believe him. Once the internet came into being, I looked it up, because I still didn't believe him.

    I guess I should put buying animal urine on my list of annual yard chores . . . we have racoons aplenty. What scares a racoon? I rather doubt this will smell like asparagus pee . . .

  6. Eeek. Babies? I am not sure I am ready for the responsibility of a groundhog family. You may be right, the Big G has been AWOL for a couple of days, and may be in some maternity ward right now.

    I found the burrow, it's conveniently out of the way. Did not think to look for a vacation home.

    Anony Mous: That was more Dave-ist than sexist.

  7. Hey Ellen, it's Jill! We had the same problem in our old house. Ours was a "she" and had babies every year.... They were very cute and I am sure the kids will love watching them. But, I agree with Felicia, be careful of the holes! Good luck! :)

  8. Of course the groundhog is eating grass--your vegetable garden isn't in yet! It will love your tomatoes, and cucumber plants are a special treat, since the entire plant--leaves, stems, and all--are tasty. Have any tulips? The buds are a delicacy, and you'll end up with ragged gnawed stems before the flowers have a chance to open. Forget dahlias--it's like planting a groundhog salad bar.

    I love watching them, and the babies are adorable (like brown guinea pigs)--but when groundhogs show up in my garden, out comes the hav-a-heart trap, and they get relocated to a nice woodsy meadow.

    In case any cucumbers manage to survive until maturity, here's the easiest way to make professional-quality pickles: Start buying Bubbie's Pickles (available at Whole Foods, among other places, in the refrigerated section) now; eat all the pickles over the next couple of months, and save the jars with the brine in your refrigerator. Cut your home-grown cukes into chunks, stuff them into the jars so that they're submerged in the flavored brine, leave them in the fridge for about two weeks, and then impress your kids and yourselves with home-grown pickles! You can do the same with green tomatoes cut in quarters--they'll be as good as the Second Avenue Deli's tomato pickles. No boiling, no sterilizing, no botulism, no expertise, essentially no effort--just great results!

  9. You may very well have a watch-ground hog! They can be fiercely territorial.

    We had a particularly destructive one a few years ago, so we decided to let our Jack Russell out (we though it would be *funny* to watch our dog chase him away, just like he chases away the wild turkeys we sometimes get). When the ground hog saw the dog though, he didn't run away - he reared up, bared his teeth and attacked_the_dog. Seamus thought it was great fun (his tail was wagging the whole time) but that poor ground hog was ready to fight to the death. It was HORRIBLE. It took me, my husband, a broom and much screaming to separate the two.

    It was never my intention for either animal to get hurt (fortunately, the only blood that was shed was my own, as I got a bloody nose right after). Looking back, I can't believe we were so STUPID. Not one of our better moments.

    Oh, and it didn't work! Thirty minutes later, the ground hog was back.

  10. This is the cutest thing ever. I thought it was some sort of gopher (what I don't know would fill volumes). If we had one of those I would be mad about it. (That's a good thing.)

  11. You should call him Maxsutawney Phil.

  12. yeah be careful, we had one for a few years under our deck but then one time it came with a mate. They were fine for a while but then i guess she got pregnate and the male attacked me from 20 feet away. So just keep an eye out for it if the kids are outside.

  13. GingerB--Coyote pee works great on raccoons...just a little on the garbage can will keep them from tipping 'em over and making a mess!

    I love Rachael's name for the little fart--but maybe she should be Maxsatauney Phyllis!!!

  14. Um, OK, now I am a little scared!!! We'll see what happens.

    Anonymous: Did you happen to know that pickles are both mine and Sabrina's all-time favorite food? Game to try that! And now I must go have a pickle!

    Maxsutawney Phil AND Phyllis both cracked me up! Genius.

  15. We live on a 30 acre farm in Tenn.We've never had groundhog problems before. About 2 monthes ago along came (A.K.A.) HARRY. He took up residence in our barbegue pit. It's the ultimate in gh houses, no rain, no hot sun, no pesky neighbors to consern him. What a life! I watch him every day from the back windows in the house, as he gracefully sanders in search of his lunch and in the afternoon for his dinner. His tunnel or borrow leads from the pit to the barn. Another haven for all roaming critters, also gained a dropped kitty last month that took up residence in the barn while we were on vaction. So far Harry hasn't been what I would consider a pest but after reading recent comments I'm becoming a bit conserned. I had recently considered maybe tossing some vegtables from my kitchen window to see if he would come closer. Maybe I'll refrain, sounds like if he becomes displeased with my offerings (not enough,not often enough,or maybe not his preffered entree)he might camince to doin' some serious damage, both to me and my flowers. I certainly don't want to be feared to go out to the barn, he might sneak up on me and attack.
    According to all I've read he will soon hibernate (Nov. thru March)maybe he will Awake disoriented and forget were his summer home was. LOL Not likely I'm sure.


Thanks for sharing!

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