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Scott Hollifield: The The nice groundhog battle of 2022 is underway | Columnists



We’re fostering a brand new technology of groundhogs right here on the compound.

And by fostering, I imply recognizing them within the backyard by the kitchen window, bursting by the backdoor in a blind rage and screaming at them as they gnaw by the tender vegetation poking out of the bottom I tilled.

Yes, the nice groundhog battle continues for yet one more 12 months. They’ve expanded their territory, digging extra holes within the embankment throughout the fence that separates our property from the church’s ballfield, creating booby-traps for youngsters chasing errant soccer balls. They proceed to occupy their condominium under the shed housing the mower and their trip residence beneath the concrete steps they’ve ruined on the hill within the yard.

This 12 months, I’ve modified my backyard technique in one thing of a peace providing to the critters. While not a full-on ceasefire, I did make a concession. I planted what I name a sacrificial backyard close to the shed. The corn, beans and okra on this area are to share – critters and people alike can partake as they see match.

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“Attention groundhogs,” I stated after the ultimate seed was put into the sacrificial backyard floor. “This territory is a DMZ. You are free to come and go and share in whatever bountiful harvest produced in this safe space.”

I hope it will maintain them out of the small round backyard within the entrance yard and the brand new essential backyard we planted subsequent door within the yard of my common-law sister-in-law. The latter two are the place we’re producing essentially the most treasured commodity of all, tomatoes. Wonderful, homegrown tomatoes.

“Also, groundhogs,” I stated in my announcement, “if I see you in the other gardens near the tomatoes, I’m coming for you. And hell is coming with me.”

I first noticed the brand new technology of groundhogs poke their noses out from underneath the shed within the spring. I don’t know if these are the sons or daughters or the grandsons or granddaughters of the principle groundhog and my preliminary nemesis, Gary, however they share comparable options. There is unquestionably a household resemblance.

The kids nibbled round on grass within the yard earlier than the gardens went in and I have to admit, the little ones have been cute. They every have distinct personalities that led to their nicknames.

First, there may be Freeze Frame. When startled or encountering something out of the bizarre, this whistle pig goes nonetheless as a statue, generally not transferring for 5 minutes or extra. No twitching, no blinking, no motion in any respect.

“Nothing to see here folks, move along. Move along.”

And then there may be Slappy. He acquired his title throughout an encounter with one of many neighborhood cats within the yard subsequent door. As we watched from the porch in a type of charming Discovery Channel nature moments, the 2 got here head to head and the groundhog slapped the style out of the cat’s mouth.

“Round one goes to the groundhog,” I stated.

So far, Freeze Frame and Slappy have eaten Gerbera daisies, dahlias and English mums we planted so as to add a bit colour to the compound, however they’ve stayed away from the meals stuffs, most significantly the tomatoes.

I did catch them nosing across the round backyard, which led to the blind rage door bursting episode, however to date no injury has been finished.

Will the sacrificial backyard do the trick? Will the neighborhood cat rally in later rounds towards our foster hog Slappy? Will I get pleasure from a tomato sandwich slathered in mayonnaise later this summer time?

Scott Hollifield is editor of The McDowell News and a humor columnist. Contact him at rhollifield@mcdowellnews.com.



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