“Gophers! You great git! Not golfers! The little brown furry rodents!” ~ Sandy MacReedy, Caddyshack
Try as I may to make sense of the backstory as to why I have groundhogs living under the floorboards of my house, the logistics of the story still sound like I am writing fiction.
Two years ago, I unwittingly ferried an adult groundhog from my work to my home in a rather astonishing tale. You can read it here. This spring, I witnessed another generation of that furry family emerging from the burrow their mother had created and watched this new generation feasting on the expansive greenery on my front lawn. Towards the end of April, not long after I heard the rodents creating a birthing den under my living room, I live-trapped the two culprits and happily re-homed them.
Fast-forward to yesterday. After wanting to celebrate the first Beta review of my third book, I poured a glass of wine and was enjoying the congratulatory words I had received. As I was lifting the glass of wine to my lips, the movement outside my window made me pause to focus on the scene before me. Another furry rodent had emerged from the same place and was enjoying the salad bar that is my front lawn.
Correct me if I’m wrong, Sandy, but it’s time to dust off the live trap again!
I have to preface this post by admitting I can tell a tale. Having spent the greater portion of my youth writing short stories and poems, my mind is programmed to create worlds beyond the realm of my consciousness. I have given that predilection a step up by creating a group of six novels in a series called The Relative Series. The first was published in January, the second is due in May, and I just finished writing the third.
But this blog post has nothing to do with any world I have spun into reality by merely writing it into existence. This post does have everything to do with a generation of furry rodents who have created their own series that involve a free ride to my house, and two further generations who are bent on carrying on family tradition.
In June of 2019, I wrote this bizarre post about a groundhog who crawled into the back part of the undercarriage of my car and essentially hitched a ride from my work to my house without my permission. In the hours that followed my return home, the groundhog emerged from my car to fully enjoy the buffet of greenery on my front lawn.
In the early spring of 2020, the first year of Covid, Groundhog 2.0 revealed itself and we quickly acclimated. There was no imminent threat to my Honda Civic, furry rodent number two seemed content to move on to other pastures, and the tedium that was 2020 continued.
Fast forward to the spring of Covid 2.0, and The Return of The Rodent 3.0. Old habits apparently die hard, or are passed onto future generations. Groundhog 3.0 has the same affection for my Honda Civic as its grandparent had, and was more than willing to play hide and seek with me while crawling in and out of the engine block of the same car. He managed to systematically dismantle six of the major sensors in my electronics. (car is going to the doctor tomorrow) Groundhog 1 – Me 0.
Sometime during the one on one battle, Groundhog 3.0, who I named Chunk, upped the ante and arrived one morning with his new girlfriend, Chicklet. I enjoyed watching them together. There was something very sweet about the way he interacted with her, until I realized it was mating season. That realization turned into a call to action when I heard them mating – under my living room floor!!
The next day, I procured a live trap from my work and was surprised to catch Chunk after only twenty minutes. My lovely neighbour helped me relocate Chunk, and I reset the trap hoping Chicklet would not be far behind. Within a span of three hours, I had trapped both furry creatures, and relocated them in the same spot so they could find each other again.
I wish them nothing but the best, and thankfully I have a forwarding address to send them the bill for my engine repairs!
Superbowl Sunday has arrived! The culmination of seventeen glorious weeks of watching the pigskin, followed by Playoffs and now it’s time for the Big Show!! Even the groundhogs get a reprieve this year and get to watch the game in the comfort of their burrows without being dragged into the daylight until tomorrow.
Ah, Groundhog Day – that magical morning when we put our faith in an abundantly nourished, rotund mass of fur to predict the arrival of Spring. This over-sized rodent is depended upon to prognosticate to the best of his ability and tell us, by virtue of seeing or not seeing his shadow, when we can expect the return of Spring.
Last year my post about this auspicious day focused more on the history and process of Willie’s predilection for weather. This year I thought I would look at things from the perspective of poor Wiarton Willie (the Canadian version of Punxsutawney Phil). First, he is rudely roused from his winter-long slumber to come out of his burrow and predict something even educated meteorologists cannot agree on. Second, when he finally does make his appearance, he is greeted by a bemused but somewhat urgent crowd as they try to keep themselves warm enough to endure the period-costumed pomp and circumstance.
I am inclined to guess that Willie’s urge to get back into his cave has nothing to do with seeing his shadow. I don’t know about you but, if I awoke to large crowd focused solely on me, I would be in one Hell of a hurry to bury myself back under my nest of blankets, shadow or not. I feel somewhat sorry for Willie. After being forced from his snug home out into an artic-like morning, the New England Patriots are probably not the only ones with deflated balls.
Given the success rate of these whiskered weather forecasters, the only prediction I would really take to heart is perhaps Willie’s prophecy about Superbowl 49. Enjoy the game Willie and good luck with the madding crowd on Monday!
It’s that time of year again. Tomorrow is February 2nd – best known as Groundhog Day. Tomorrow is the day that the nation puts its faith in a furry, rotund, hibernating member of the squirrel family to accurately predict the coming of spring. (Currently their rate of success is posted at 39%.) The folklore behind Groundhog Day allegedly originated in the area of Europe that is now known as Germany and became a tradition in the United States when the German settlers landed in Pennsylvania. The original foreign prognosticator was a badger. I’m not sure who the enlightened historical figure was that originally thought that this was a judicious way to plan their crop planting schedule but, many decades later, we are ready to celebrate this auspicious occasion again.
Hundreds gather, some donned in period costumes, to anxiously await the report that is passed from whiskered lips to attentive ears. We must all consider ourselves fortunate to even see this furry forecaster as hibernating groundhogs will generally only leave their burrows for food and sex. (I know some men who could take over the role as the purveyors of the changing of seasons based on their similar habits!!)
Mother Nature must really enjoy this celebrated day, especially if she sees fit to part the curtain of clouds to let the sun filter through. The luck of the early spring prediction lays solely at her discretion and no member of the rodent kingdom will change that. If the sun is shining on that frightened creature, he will inevitably see his shadow and it will be broadcast that we must brave six more weeks of winter. If dear Mother Nature is moody and the sky is mottled with grey clouds, Punxsutawney Phil and Wiarton Willie will see no shadow and be said to have deemed an early spring. I can only hope that tomorrow will begin under a blanket of condensed water vapor and their shadows will be non-existent.
Although his sweet, fuzzy exterior and chocolate-brown eyes may hold a place in your heart, do not trust a groundhog to foresee the accurate coming of spring!! I may not be as hairy (thank God) or as cute (up for debate) as Wiarton Willie or Punxsutawney Phil but I, on the day prior to the 2nd of February 2014 will make my prediction. Spring will arrive on Thursday, March 20th at 7:04 am! Shadow or not, I’d put money on the fact that I’m pretty close in my estimation. Sorry Willie and Phil, you might as well stay in bed!