Woodchucks have played an important part in my country lifestyle for over 20 years now. When we first arrived here and built a house upon our 8 acres it literally felt like the Ponderosa (from the old Bonanza series.) I was delighted with all the wide open spaces and the abundance of wildlife in this neck of the woods and embraced it all. The baby chucks, in particular, were the most adorable little guys I had ever seen. I rejoiced at watching them frolic and play and I mourned them when they got hit by cars crossing the road out front.
When it came time to plant my first garden, I had every intention of sharing the abundance with my 'neighbors' but the little buggers chomped off my plantings before they even had a chance to grow! Over the years I tried every trick in the book to get rid of them but all my efforts were thwarted. Those voracious creatures even had the audacity to move into my small garden shed so they wouldn't have to travel to nosh in my vegetable patch!
Oh, there were good years and bad ones to be sure, but I continually lost ground, retreating a little more with each new onslaught. In the end I was losing more than the effort (and expense) was worth and raised the white flag of surrender. I had won a few skirmishes along the way but the woodchucks had won the war!!
It's been at least 5 years since I even attempted a garden although the fence still cordons off the area. Woodchucks continue to live inside the fence, adding insult to injury. There has been a change in menu though. Now the food du jour is the goose feed which they are so enamored with that I hardly ever see them even pick at the grasses they are supposed to be eating! All day long there is a woodchuck at the feeder. They have grown so huge that when they stand up on their stubby little hind legs, they resemble overstuffed teddy bears!
Where once I felt shear delight in their presence I now have come to resent them for becoming such mooches and costing me a veritable fortune in goose feed. (you would not believe how much of the stuff a single "piggy" can consume on any given day!) And we have been 'blessed' with SO MANY of them!!!
And yet, I am reminded of something very interesting that occurred a few years back that caused me to not only admire this pesky rodents resilience but reconsider my opinion of animals in general. At the time I wrote a story about the event which I look forward, with pleasure, to sharing with you tomorrow. So until then......