Years ago, I had a groundhog living under my gardening shed. He would waddle out from under the shed on sunny days and munch on the flowers in my well- tended gardens. Being a gardener, you can imagine how I felt about that!
I tried chasing him out of the yard, spraying him with the hose, borrowing a friend’s dog to scare him away, leaving the radio on outside, and filling in his tunnel under the shed. But nothing worked and he stayed and dug more tunnels.
My battle with the groundhog became such a running family joke that my kids named him. Even their friends knew about my battles with “Clyde”. One morning after I got everyone out the door to school, I found a message on the magnetic white board on the refrigerator:
“I’m still here. Love, Clyde”
“Very funny” I said out loud as I went to the kitchen window to check to see if my nemesis was eating my flowers. And of course, he was. Taunting me. Clyde-1, Mom-0.
This went on for a couple of months. Clyde would boldly lumber out from under the shed to eat my gardens, and I would chase him like a crazy woman! In spite of being chased, he grew fatter and fatter and didn’t seem to care that he was living under an eviction notice.
Finally, I had enough and called animal control. The guy that came out brought a trap and showed me how to set it up. He said that groundhogs like fruit so to try melon, especially cantaloupe, in the trap. I set the trap the first day and put some juicy orange cantaloupe in there for Clyde. And every morning for a week, the cantaloupe was gone and the trap was empty.
The second week, I caught a raccoon in the trap and boy was he ever mad and hissing about being caught! When animal control came to pick him up, the guy said, “I thought you had a groundhog you were trying to catch?”
“I do…he keeps eating the cantaloupe without being caught and he’s getting fatter every day!”
The guy thought for a minute and then said, “Maybe you need something larger. If your groundhog is really big, his body might be keeping the trapdoor from closing when he takes the food. I’m going to leave a larger trap for you.”
That night, I caught a second unpleasant raccoon and animal control came and took him away and left me another large trap. Meanwhile in my back yard, fat Clyde was sunning himself and having a flower smorgasbord.
I went to the grocery store and bought more cantaloupe as well as some watermelon and honeydew. Since Clyde liked eating so much, I was going to put a melon feast in the trap!
That night, the temptation must have been too much because the next morning, Clyde was in the trap. When animal control came to take him away, they said he was by far the biggest and fattest groundhog they had ever picked up. Mom-1, Clyde-0!
Author’s note: Groundhog Day was last Friday. Punxsutawney Phil, that groundhog in Pennsylvania, saw his shadow so that means there will be six more weeks of winter. The additional cold weather will give us all a chance to watch the 1993 film, “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray!