Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Howard and Rainy Days

Have I told you about Howard? Howard is the groundhog or woodchuck (am still a bit unclear as to what the difference is between the two) that lives somewhere on our property. I decided that Howard was a good name for a groundhog. The only other groundhog that I've heard about is, of course, Phil, from Pennsylvania. I'm not always a big fan of Phil, prolonging winter just because he sees his shadow. What a self-absorbed little bastard! Anyhow, I officially discovered Howard a few weeks ago during a windstorm. The trees were blowing fiercely and I was looking out my front window watching them sway. As I was looking, I saw something crawl up the front steps to the porch. It was a brown animal, about the size of a cat- I quickly looked away, freaked out. Then, I decided to look again and see what it was. It wasn't a mole, too big. It wasn't a raccoon, wrong coloring. It wasn't a rat- Thank God! I thought, oh my gosh, I think it's a groundhog! He paused for a few seconds before making his way across the porch and hopping down. I went to the computer to google groundhogs- that's where I ran into the woodchuck vs. groundhog debate. I think it's the same thing. They are basically a large rodent (gross), most closely related to squirrels. Yes, people, squirrels are rodents! For some reason, I kind of think groundhogs are better than squirrels. Maybe it's just the novelty of groundhogs, having never seen one before. I guess they aren't too big of pests but they do like to eat plants, flowers, and vegetables. So- if I spot Howard anywhere near my gardens- all bets are off and I will officially hate groundhogs, aka woodchucks, too!  

I haven't seen Howard since then but I think I found his little tunnel or den on the side of the house. And, over the winter I think that I spotted his footprints after a snowfall. There were peculiar prints on the porch that I couldn't identify- now, I'm thinking it was definitely Howard. Hmm... I wonder if he lives under the porch?  Anyhow,  I will keep you posted on any Howard sightings and/or engaging developments.

Today was very drizzly and wet. We haven't had much rain over the spring so the grass and plants definitely needed it. My little patio project, however, did not. See photo below:
I started excavating the dirt yesterday and now we have a moat in our backyard! I cannot believe how hard it is to shovel out all that dirt. I worked for several hours yesterday and made only a small dent. Here is a picture of the dirt I have left to dig up:
It's going to be gorgeous when we are finished. It will have a nice curve with perennial gardens surrounding it. Honestly, my back aches just looking at that picture and thinking about all the work still to be done. It was nice to have a rainy day as an excuse to rest. I made a pot of tomato bisque and caught up on some indoor chores. It turned out to be a somewhat relaxing day. I'm sure that Howard spent his day nestled in his little den or whatever they are called. Hmm... children's book idea... Howard, the groundhog. We might have an award winning series folks! HaHa!


Lisa said...

Okay...for the most disturbing, yet utterly HILARIOUS, groundhog book - you and Gavin need to check out "It's Groundhog's Day" by Steven Kroll and Jeni Bassett. I read it every year to my first graders and it gets a good laugh every time!

Steve W said...

did your woodchuck look like this?

maybe it was a gopher

yer pal, Steve Wynar

Jenny said...

Steve- that is awesome! No, not a gopher, as there are no holes in the grass. It was definitely a woodchuck!

Others, click on that youtube link that Steve posted for a good laugh!


Dan said...

Groundhogs and woodchucks are the same thing (according to Wikipedia) :) I guess there are lots of them in the area. When I was a kid I saw one sleeping on Robert Frost's gravestone in Bennington!

Emily said...

What are you using to make your patio? We're going to build a little path outside, but I can't decide if I want brick, flagstone, etc.

Jenny said...

Dan, I have been to Robert Frost's gravestone in Bennington!

Emily, we are going to use brick- pretty similar pattern and design as the patio we built in Seattle. I love flagstone though- I think that would make a really nice path.