Tuesday, June 15, 2010


It's summertime. That means that I may actually have some time to sit and think. So I may just start writing on this blog again.

I have my second hernia surgery coming up on Thursday, so I'm a bit scared, to be honest. We'll see how this one goes.

Reflections on a Ground Hog

Summertime for me is a time of reflection.

Yesterday afternoon, I captured a mole in his hole for the first time in my life. The mole was disposed of in the tunnel that an annoying ground hog has dug into the back of the shed at my parents' house. That ground hog definitely lives in a hog mansion. But now, he may think twice about entering his house. This is sort of akin to tossing a flaming bag of poo on a neighbor's front steps.

Thoughts of moles in ground hog holes reminds me of one of the most evil things I've done.

A few years ago, my neighbor and I were working together to trap some annoying ground hogs who had taken up residence under his deck. These varmints would come out at night and ravage my vegetable garden. Beans destroyed. Ripe tomatoes plucked off the vine. I was ticked off at the monsters.

Each day, Charlie, the neighbor, would set his live animal trap and leave it on his deck. Over the course of a few weeks, he caught several ground hogs and transported them to woods adjacent to fancy homes in a remote location far away.

Charlie told me one day, that he had to go out of town for a few days, and he asked if I could keep an eye on the trap for him. So I eagerly agreed. We were embroiled in a heat wave. Temperatures raced to the upper 90's each day for a couple of weeks in a row. The second morning Charlie was gone, I saw a mammoth ground hog caught in the cage. He was desperately trying to get out. I told myself that I needed to take him somewhere to release later.

Well, I sort of forgot about the ground hog. By the time I remembered, it was late afternoon. The temperature was well into the upper 90's, and the cage had been bathed in the heat, unfiltered, on the dark deck all day. Needless to say, I was now responsible for an ex-ground hog.

Charlie's house is immediately next to mine. His wife's flower garden and my vegetable garden adjoin, and when I am working in my garden, I am just a few steps away from his deck. On the other side of his yard, the land falls away dramatically through mature woods to a tiny polluted stream. I had discovered in my many walks to the creek that ground hogs pretty much had set up a paradise retreat on the side of that bluff.

With all that in mind as I was contemplating the final resting place for the deck visitor, I had an inspired thought.

I took the trap with the ex-ground hog and walked to the bluff, descended until I found the first active looking ground hog hole. I opened the trap door and slid the stiff rodent out tail first into the hole. He slid down a bit, but his rigid front paws got caught on the lip of the hole, and he became stuck. Only his paws and head were sticking out. It was a Caddy Shack moment. He looked so natural there. So I left him. I figured that he could serve a warning to all the others of what awaits them out in the open yard above.

I really didn't mean to kill the bugger, but I certainly felt no mercy either. I suppose I could have humanely disposed of his remains, but I wasn't feeling especially generous. I know what some of you may be thinking..."What a cruel man." But I look at it this way, what would Farmer MacGreggor do? After all, the bugger stole my ripest tomatoes. He deserved it.