Just when you thought it was safe to let your guard down and wallow in complacency, trouble rears its ugly head once again. We were cruising along with the garden, feeling smug with ourselves, when all of a sudden, R began noticing that several of the plants were being eaten down to the root. At first we suspected a small rodent like a mole or a very large insect. After all, how the heck was a groundhog going to get into the garden, we sealed that thing up like Fort Knox.
The problem began to gradually get worse until it was clear some sort of large mammal was helping themselves to our bounty. We concluded it must be a groundhog, even though there weren't any holes being dug into the garden. S&M G did a fabulous job in constructing that fence, and sure enough, it has held its ground. The question then became, how the heck is he getting in?
We figured he might be entering by crawling through a hole in the deer mesh, then scaling the wire fence to get in. Interestingly enough, there were areas where it was clear he was trying to dig his way out, but failed.
Well, sure enough, on the day that I was supposed to be getting ready for the local market, I went down to the garden to inspect things and caught one of the varmints in the garden. He was chomping on something and tried to hide in some onions. I ran into the shed to get something to bludgeon him with, but within seconds he was onto me and bolted out of the garden. I did, however, figure out his entry and exit strategy. I turns out that true enough, he finds holes in the deer mesh, crawls in, and then scales the wire fence, not even leaving a trace of how he does it. Brilliant.
And man did he bolt out of there quickly. By the time I came out of the shed, pitchfork in hand, he was long gone. I got some old barn boards and sealed the bottom of the fence, then stapled the loose mesh onto the boards. For the record, the heat was excruciating. I then went back inside and started preparing for the market, but just before I fired up the stove to heat the oil, I went back down to check on the barrier, and sure enough, the little bugger had come back and tried to breach the fence. Unable to get through the mesh, he tried digging underneath, but was stopped by the wire fence. You gotta love foresight and good planning.
Well, that might have been the end of it, except that after cooking the dumplings and preparing to clean up, some two hours later, I paid the garden another visit, and saw yet another groundhog in the garden. This guy was bigger, and he seemed trapped inside, as if he'd forgotten where the door was. I got the pitchfork and went inside, ready to turn him into coyote fodder.
He was bummed, and started to panic. He couldn't figure out how to exit, and as I approached him, he started getting a little testy. I have to confess, it unnerved me a little. As I got even closer, he bolted right at me, and my Mentor will shake his head in shame at my admitting this, but it scared me. I let out a yelp, after, of course, I wet my pants and soiled my underwear. However, I was poised and ready to plunge that pitchfork into his guts, but just as he passed me, I found I couldn't do it.
I realize this may seriously jeopardize my chances of ever being a real man, but somehow killing this furry little creature just because he's eating a few root vegetables in our garden seemed a bit much. He's just trying to eat. Maybe shooting him would be easier.
I then tried to scare him out of the garden, leaving the gate open, but the guy still couldn't figure things out. After chasing him around the perimeter, he finally put two and two together and bolted out the front entrance. You want to know what's really crazy about all this? He seems to have taken up residence underneath our shed. How's that for convenience? It's like living next to McDonald's. I'm hoping I traumatized him enough so that he won't come back, but somehow I doubt it.
Oh well, maybe I'll get another chance to win real man points if I can manage to take him out. Only time will tell.
Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Lynn Haas for the pic.