Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Unwelcome Tenants

            They’re back! Three weeks ago we discovered, in spite of what seemed a successful eviction in the fall, that a groundhog had over-wintered under our sunroom. There were five(!) new holes dug into the patches of grass along the side and back of the house, abutting the sunroom.
            “He’s got to go!” my husband declared. He rooted around in the garage for 40 minutes and dragged out four long planks and a few shorter ones. Soon he had constructed a long platform that he planted over the narrow area along the side of the house.
            “But the hosta is under there!” I protested. “It will push up the planks.”
            “Maybe. Maybe not,” he said. “Meanwhile, it will stop him.”
            He placed a series of bricks along the shorter area in back of the house.
            Last week, on two separate days, I saw two groundhogs—one large, and one quite young. In each case, when they saw me, they ran under my neighbor’s Jacuzzi.
            “At least they’ve left us,” my husband said.
            I wish!
            Yesterday there was a freshly dug hole right through the emerging iris foliage and under the bricks. It’s small—seems we have a new, young tenant.
            It’s time to serve another eviction notice! 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Day for the Birds

            Wednesday was a day for the birds. It was a beautifully warm day—too warm for the first week of March. Certainly the month did not come in like a lion. As we drove out to Sussex, everywhere red hawks swooped low over the roads. They are so graceful. Whenever I see a hawk I find myself singing the line from Oklahoma—“Ev'ry night my honey lamb and I, Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk makin' lazy circles in the sky.”

            At the lake we were greeted, serenaded by bird song. Everywhere there were tweets and warbles, chirps and trills. I sat at the edge of the dock, just enjoying the symphony. The hawks were showing off here too. Suddenly there were seven of them all making large, slow counterclockwise circles over our end of the lake. I don’t think hawks eat fish. Were they simply enjoying the thrill of riding the wind? My husband and I watched in fascination. They defined similar, but non-intersecting circles at different heights. What flight controller had planned their paths?
           One hawk came low enough to brush the bare branches of a nearby tree. Then he angled his right wing and, continuing his circle, caught an updraft. How I wished I could soar with him.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spring Signs

            There was ice on the bird bath this morning. And a frosty breeze met my face as I biked. But the crocuses are out and daffodil buds are beginning to show.
            Another sign that spring will soon be here is The Groundhog. I say “The Groundhog” because we all suspect it is the same one we chased out from the crawl space under our sunroom last October. We blocked up all the holes he had dug and thought he must have found another home. However, it seems some groundhog has overwintered under the sunroom because we found five entrance or exit holes along the back and side of the house.

            So my husband got creative. He found some long, old boards in the garage which he fashioned into a platform the length of the side of the house. He laid the platform over the foot-wide sward of dirt alongside the house where four of the holes were. We blocked the hole in the back of the house with stones. There is no way this groundhog can get under the sunroom now. I’m certain he’ll remain nearby. He so enjoys my garden greens.

            I have warned my husband that the hosta he has covered up with his platform is a determined plant. There are openings in the platform, but I still think the hosta will push it up. We’ll soon see as we watch spring take over the yard.