Friday, September 21, 2007

Ground Control

We have a new neighbor. Or more appropriately, a new squatter.

Two weeks ago, I thought I would take advantage of a beautiful day and enjoy my garden. It's a gardener's right to sit back from time to time and admire your work. In fact, I find it is necessary to do this, so that I don't lose interest in my gardening duties. You need to know that all you do is worth the effort. Especially when you own a reel mower.

Someone else appreciates my effort. I think that is why it positioned its home in the same place that I set up my lawn chairs. It's a corner of our side yard with a wall of Rose of Sharon bushes behind, blackberry brambles to one side, and offers a beautiful view of my Rudbeckia, butterfly bushes, Echinacea and Marina's 8 feet (almost 3 meters) high Sunflowers. When I sat down, the chair started sinking down on the right. Good thing I'm so well balanced or I would have fallen right across its front porch. As I set the chair away, I investigated this new residence. There was a depression about the size of a trash can lid with a small hole on the edge. As time goes by, this small hole has steadily become a big hole. At this point, I think our cat Dusty would have no trouble getting in.

My thoughts immediately wander to Alice. This is most definitely what I would think of as an entrance to Wonderland. Needless to say, I've warned Sierra to stay away from the hole. No sense in having her come across a very annoyed Queen of Hearts. Until you meet your new neighbors, you have to assume they prefer their privacy.

I'm grateful it didn't decide to start building under our house. It would have been awkward to step outside for the newspaper and land a foot in the center of a major construction site. I would love to get some tips on excavation. Whenever I dig in our yard, I can't go down more than six inches before hitting a rock. I'm not talking pebbles. Any time I hit a rock it's at least ten pounds and requires a crowbar to prise it from the hole. This is why I have very strong arms. Our furry neighbor, on the other hand, seems to have no problem with digging into the rocky soil.

Thursday was our first nature class of the new school year. I figured it would be a good time to consult an expert and also examine the work of the animal I suspect is living with us. According to Park Ranger Scott, we most likely have a groundhog. I took a look at the hole near the nature center. It's been cordoned off since last year. Now I see why. This thing needs a manhole cover! You could install sewer lines in that hole. It makes me wonder why we need construction equipment when you could just train a few of these burly fellows to dig for you. From what I've seen, steering around local excavation sites, they could probably finish a job much faster.

I'm thinking we should help out our new neighbor. Maybe build a small picket fence around its little hobbit hole entrance. We could invite everyone over on February 2nd and give it a housewarming party. Assuming it isn't scared of its own shadow.

And so another lesson from our series "You can learn a lot from watching animals:"
It's important to use the right tools for your job. And watch out for cave-ins.


Spinneretta said...

I wouldn't let DH kill the one in our yard because they are just too cute :)
We now have a worryingly large hole in our hill...

TobyBo said...

I send greetings to your new neighbor. My DH spends an inordinate amount of mental energy trying to out-engineer these fellows from getting under our fence.

Mrs. Darling said...

We had our first nature walk last week. The kids love it but I didnt get at it this week.

Do you make your own comic strips? They are hilarious!

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