I was meditating on a profound and deeply spiritual message this morning when I caught sight of the groundhog and suddenly all my equanimity vanished- just like that! It looked healthy, fat, probably pregnant, and disappeared into the bushes right next to where the kitchen garden will reside. I had thought I had managed to chase it (or some groundhog) off to burrows further away from our delicious crops last fall. Actually, we had most of our garden ravaged by a groundhog last year and set a kill-trap for the culprit. When I discovered the dead groundhog in our garden, I was deeply dismayed. It clearly did not die instantly as the manufacturers promised and then it turned out to be a mother. Although, her children were already out and about on their own. We only saw one (probably the fox or another predator got the others). I immediately set about trapping it in a “have-a-heart” trap and relocated it off our property, most likely illegally.
I was not and am still not interested in turning our place into a “war zone” even if its a non-lethal “war”, but I do want to encourage the local groundhog/s to live in the upper pasture where there is plenty for them to eat, and not have them raiding and ravaging our garden. Last year it seemed that I had scared off the groundhog that seemed to quickly replace the one that met kids demise by depositing used cat litter in the burrows near our house and garden and also by letting the garden hose run for long periods into the burrow that was in the garden where the tomatoes thrived relatively unmolested. But most likely ki just went into hibernation! I did find two new burrows up the east side of the pasture last fall, which led me to believe the one (ones?) near our house had relocated.
I thought, I might be able to go back to my meditations, but no use. Seeing the creature left me distressed, I am sad to admit. I don’t actually dislike groundhogs. The little one I trapped was actually quite cute, but my husband’s violent reaction to our devastated garden last year left a seemingly permanent distress button that I don’t seem to be able to erase! So, having no used cat litter on hand, I decided to try the water technique. I found the hose in a large coil in the basement, hauled it up , untangled it, attached it to the spigot and dragged one end over to the borrow entrance that I assume the groundhog went into.
I let it run while I made breakfast and ate it, hoping ki would skedaddle back up the pasture! Who knows? I did not see it leave, but I feel a little more settled now that I’ve at least tried to encourage its relocation. Actually I’m not really sure why I find it so upsetting. My husband is about to install electric fencing around the kitchen garden with what he feels are sure-fire deterrents, but if they fail- it will not be pleasant around here. Actually, I’m being unfair, he is doing some great work on his own emotional sobriety, so only time will tell.
I have asked local farmers what they do about deer and groundhogs and the most frequent answer is dogs, though I have heard some other much more creative answers. I do not want a dog, primarily because it would also keep away the foxes, which I adore. But that may change when and if we decide to have chickens. I am not so sure I want to “farm” if it means coming onto conflict with the local animal kinfolk. Oh! There it is- leaving and heading up into the woods along the pasture! Yippee! I do believe the water persuasion may have worked!!!