S.A. Garcia's Mutterings, Whimpers and Rants

S.A. Garcia's Mutterings, Whimpers and Rants. World Domination by 2020. Or 2025. Probably never.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Triumph of the Groundhog

This is from five years ago. Read on to understand why I post this epic tale of woman vs. beast.

The season of the Beast has returned. Yes, once again, groundhogs voted my compact garden as their party spot. Tell tale partying signs began when I returned from vacation and discovered all my dahlias had been snipped, along with the tansy, black-eyed Susans and the coneflowers. Eat weeds, hello no!

Quick retaliation was needed. Red pepper sprinkled around the abused plants worked for a few days, but I sensed this was only the initial battle. Once I have a groundhog in the yard, the battle isn’t over until I trap the critter in my humane trap.

The plan was to weed first then plant the basil, sage, oregano, thyme and other assorted secondary greenery. Sunday afternoon, after watching the French Open finals, I proceeded to attack my weeds and overly exuberant ferns. I finally weeded my way to the back herb patch located by the hilarious old two-story shed. A huge pyracantha sprawls against the shed. Below the tree lurks a patch of never see the sun ground ruled by hardy vincas vine.

Well. Huh. Why did two large and extremely fresh dirt heaps sprawl in opposite directions? What happened to the vincas vine? I crawled under the thorny branches and there it was, the entrance to Hell.

The Pit.

The Lair of King Groundhog.

The ballsy Beast finally cut to the chase and created a den right where my remaining black-eyed Susans resided alongside the traditional herb patch. Yes, King Groundhog set up shop in his own private salad bar.

For a few seconds the nutter from “Caddy Shack” possessed my soul. After I petulantly tossed dead, profusely thorny pyracantha twigs into the pit, I stomped and fumed. My assorted groundhogs had tunneled under the shed from side to side (afraid it might cave in someday) and even ripped a hole in the side to live in there. But this was the first varmint who boldly tunneled directly into my garden proper.

Realizing pouting proved futile, I resumed my weeding and planting; except, of course, for the herbs. As I worked, I eyed the trusty old Havaheart trap as it silently waited for action.

7:00 rolled along. I decided it was time to bait the trap. Apple and peanut butter worked every time.

Trap set. Time for a shower, a glass of wine and the wait.

At about 8:45 I stood in the kitchen thinking about dinner when I heard a familiar “clang.” If that damned possum had tripped the trap again, well, he was taking a trip.

Lo, it was the Beast from the Pit. He was huge, around two feet long, an elder with gray tipped fur. He was furious. He tried to rip the trap apart. He hissed. His beady eyes blazed with contempt.

Time to spread plenty of newspaper all over the Blazer’s wayback. Great, no kids swarmed the street. Sandy started the Blazer while I fetched the Beast.

The Beast did not want to be fetched. He hissed. He bounded in rage. The cage shook. He tried biting me through the mesh. At least twenty pounds of hoggy fury made carrying the 4 ft long trap nearly impossible. But, after much cursing, the Beast finally landed in the Blazer’s wayback.

Two blocks later a lethally foul smell filled the air. Wow. Someone did not like being in the Blazer.

I opened the trap. The ornery Beast refused to leave. He kept hissing and shaking the cage while glaring at me. The next minute or so went something like this: me ordering him out while tipping the cage so he would get the hint to slide out, he hissing and glaring at me in-between the traffic’s headlights.

I set him down again. He merely shook the cage and hissed.

Yes, this was one stubborn, dumb-ass Beast.

I waited for one of those trucks to be a policeman. “What am I doing? Erm, performance art?”

Finally I kicked the cage’s back and hissed at him. I resorted to nearly standing the cage on end while whamming the side with my sneaker and hissing more. Begone, Stinky Beast!

The Beast backed up, the light bulb clicked on and he ran toward the truck and across the lane into that patch of trees.

The fouled trap looked like it belonged in a zoo.

So tonight I am dropping by Home Depot. I hope they sell fox urine cause I am dumping the full bottle down the hole and plugging it up with a few bags of rocks. I keep dreaming about owning a yard with a concrete slab sunk ten feet down and a batting practice mesh enclosure with holes for the birds to get in and out. Mere chain link won’t help; I’ve seen groundhogs scale tall chain link fences.

Trouble is my real fear is that the Beast King has a Queen and she will be out for revenge.

We shall see.


I call her the BEAST.

The season of the Beast has returned. Yes, once again, for the eight year, groundhogs voted my compact garden as their party spot. Tell tale partying signs: kicking out the dirt I shoved into last year’s hole. The hole is huge. It is a crater to Hell.

I see the Queen Beast on a regular basis. She is the same one from late last season who refused to be captured. I am confident she’s the King’s mate sent to plague me.

She’s a master of evasion.

I know Queen Beast is a tough opponent. She wise. She’s wily. Last year she waited until her feeding options ran low before she decimated my coneflowers, zinnias and even tried stripping my dahlias.

Over the past weeks I set up the trap day after day. I use peanut butter on pear, PB on apple, strawberries, cantaloupe, weeds other’s yard, lettuce seasoned with vanilla, parsley, EVERYTHING. I even tried Canadian bacon.

Nothing works. Once again I've caught three possums (probably the same one) and four squirrels. I release the critters back into to yard.

Queen Beast is clever. As of now she ignores my garden and attacks the neighbor’s yards. She has a sub-division under a neighbor’s shed two yards over. I saw her slink under their shed.

Yesterday I tossed a head of iceberg lettuce into her pit and filled it in.

The dirt came out. The lettuce did not.

Have we reached a compromise?

Hmm. I swear she she knows I am a pacifist vegetarian. 

For now I shall wait and watch.

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