The return of the creature

The critters are back at the Rising Ranch. Actually I am sure they have been here all along but now they are showing themselves. Most of them are reasonably welcome to share our little highly taxed patch of ground. The grey squirrels which live in our attic all winter are now frolicking in our trees. The baby bunnies, no bigger than a cue ball, scamper about and are impossibly cute. The chipmunks and the feisty little red squirrel provide hours of entertainment with the way they scurry along with tails held high.

But we have a guest tenant this year that is not so welcome. The Eastern Marmot has joined our happy family and although I don’t mind his presence the Long Suffering Wife is not amused. She calls the critter a “badger” but you and I know it is a groundhog or what some call a woodchuck. Punxsutawney Phil or his less famous lottery ticket pitchbuddy “Gus” not withstanding groundhogs are bad news. This specimen who we call “Badgey” even though he not a badger has little or no fear of us, evidenced by his close proximity to the house and the fact that he reacts not at all to sharp rap on the window which sends all the other critters running. Watching him munch dandelions the other day I was willing to live and let live.

But then he started to dine on our Hosta and this may spell his undoing. Now I do not have a green thumb. I can kill almost any green thing without breaking a sweat. But the Hosta thrives and is a joy to see in full bloom. I spray it with deer-b-gone to protect the tender tendrils from Bambi and its cousins. If Badgey persists on snacking on it he will not enjoy a long groundhog life which is about three years.

Groundhogs have only three functions in life. Eat, make more groundhogs and dig holes. They are real good at all three, especially the eating part. Your average groundhog eats about a pound of green stuff a day which would be the same as a 175 pound guy munching his way through 15 pounds at the salad bar.

Our resident groundhog runs away pretty quickly when I step out the door to instruct him on what he can and can not eat but I am sure as soon as I turn my back he will return. The solution? It’s almost inconceivable but I may have to invite my annoying neighbor’s rat terriers back. By all accounts they make short work of Badgey or at least discourage him enough so he leaves for quieter pastures.

Just more fun and excitement at the Rising Ranch.


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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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