I don’t mind sharing my yard with suburban wildlife. In fact, I enjoy the odd four-legged visitor who can let me pretend that there aren’t people stacked all around me. I have expressed the wish that my visitors wouldn’t occasionally poop in the yard, but aside from some seedy scat, they have been relatively harmless passers thru.
However we have a problem when we share the same diet (like my tomatoes). The groundhog wants to eat what I want to eat. Except…he wants to eat it right this instant and I would like to let it grow and produce. For example, I like brussel sprouts when they look like miniature cabbages; he likes them as 4 inch tall, tender plants. We have the same dispute over kale.
So I thought I would end his visitation privileges. First, I bought a spray that allegedly will keep pests out of the yard with it’s spicy cayenne pepper base. I sprayed the perimeter of my yard, and more or less just wanted Mexican food later. I think the GHog felt the same way.
Edit: ***It has been pointed out that sprays and powders with hot pepper in them can cause animals to scratch their eyes and harm themselves. I do NOT use this type of product anymore.
Next, I decided to fill in the points of entry and try to make the area pretty.
On May 4, the GHog who will be known as Phat Basterd from here on, sent me a big, “Screw you and your stupid lavender.”
I took Phat Basterd’s critiques and suggestions in to consideration and re-positioned my plants and barrier. On May 6, the game camera caught my opponent scoping out my work. There are other entry and exit points in the yard that I can’t block like the grooves under the fence gates, but this one is definitely Phat Basterd’s favorite.
On May 7, I was sitting and reading when I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. Phat Basterd was casually waddling across my patio like it was his. I watched him progress across the yard and poise himself to start digging OUT of the yard via his favorite spot.
What nothing can capture is the sound I made as I sprang out the back door and charged Phat Basterd. It was a high pitched squealing, “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” kind of like the sound I make whenever I wake up with a Charley horse.
Phat Basterd: “Holy shit!” (Groundhog double take)
I chased him from the back corner, down the side of the garage where he exited via another space under the fence.
I am victorious!! My yard!
However on May 8, the game camera captured this:
He saw my fence blockage and raised my some rodent dentition. He actually bent the metal wires and ate part of the blockade.
Other than buying a gun, which I think would be potentially disastrous, I did not know how to escalate the battle. End of the school exhaustion and priorities prevented me from spending much time in the yard or making more extensive maneuvers.
Clearly flimsy wooden stakes were not working so I decided to go heavy metal.
It was cold and rainy and I was out of extra dirt and time. I see now that I essentially created a lovely brick portico for Phat Basterd. On the morning of May 31, I watched as Phat Basterd tromped through my flowerbed, sampling as he went.
Once again, I gave chase screaming, “RUN, MOTHERFUCKER!”
I’m sure my neighbors love me; but, let’s be real, they let their damn kids scream at each other in the street at all hours. All’s fair in backyards and war. Phat Basterd did run and I thought maybe I would give him a heart attack. He’s clearly overweight.
No such luck.
I don’t really want to hurt Phat Basterd. I don’t know what I would do if by some miracle I actually caught him. Hug him really hard? I just want him to stop destroying my plants. Why couldn’t he be more polite like W. Charles Marmota?
Wood things were not working, square cement things were not working, and all the holes he dug were rounded. I needed a boulder.
I don’t know where you get boulders so I just went to the thrift store. Enter Joe.
Joe was like a beacon at the thrift store. Who needed dull, plain black bowling balls when Joe was shiny, and swirly, and had his own name!
My structure was not well thought out. I have gone all Wile E. Coyote on Phat Basterd’s ass. Calling the Acme Co. tomorrow.