Sorry, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I get started on something and my claws don’t work really well on the keyboard. Actually waiting for a voice-activated technology to help me, but afraid all my posts will just end up saying Woof, Woof.
My column is called Hudson’s View, and I aside from my naturally cynical nature, the fact is I’ve really only got two views – the front yard and the backyard. And to be clear, I support both views wholeheartedly!
This post is about the growing animal farm in the backyard. First of all, there isn’t that much space there and a small barn takes up the back corner; so extra “residents” are very noticeable. It’s teeming with animal life. Deer routinely march through there despite my barking “get off the lawn,” although, to be fair, that probably sounds more like woof, woof. In addition, an aggressive Robin stands in the yard gathering stuff everyday, unflappable (ha, ha get it?); acting like it owns the place. There is also a cardinal who lands there occasionally, and Wally’s convinced it’s his late father stopping by to say hello as the cardinal was his dad’s favorite bird. Right. Stay off the martini’s Wally.
However, the most interesting of the visitors has actually now become a permanent resident under the barn as evidenced by the large hole next to it. That visitor would be a woodchuck or groundhog.
It’s really a message about the economy if this poor groundhog has to live under a barn. I mean, get a meaningful job already. Punxsutawney Phil is working; sure, its only one day a year…but at least he’s pulling down a paychuck. Yuk, yuk.
Anyway, our boarder “Woody,” as Wally named him with glaring unoriginality, was the sole proprietor of the back yard for about a year. He’d come and go randomly, I might try to chase him occasionally, but he’d have none of that – running into the woods or behind the barn. I then noticed one day that there was another woodchuck hanging in the yard with him, and just assumed it was his significant other…and so we decided to call her – Woodina. Equally lame name.
How do we know she is female?
Well, pretty simple. When the snow finally cleared away this spring, Woody, Woodina and three little woodchucks rambled out from under the barn. It’s a mob scene, but these guys aren’t revolting (my nod to Animal Farm), they’re actually pretty cute; scurrying around the backyard munching on grass and I’m sure trying to avoid some of the stuff I leave lying around the yard. They come out at the same times of the day to dine, often chasing that aggressive robin across the lawn. When the family drives in the driveway, the crowd all hot-foot’s it back under the barn, multiple noses poking out to see when the commotion clears.
I’ve never gotten close to these guys at all, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Wally generally keeps me on a leash, so when I hit the yard and it was only Woody and Woodina…they were gone in a flash. It’s a bit different however with their kids; they don’t move as quickly, not really understanding, or probably not paying attention in woodchuck school…yeah, we got a lot of not paying attention in school going on in this house as well!
Anyway, one day last week, Wally takes me out on the leash and we see one of the parent woodchucks make a bee-line to the barn. As we enter the backyard, we see that one of the woodchuckettes (let’s call him Chuck Woodery, ya know, like the game show host), didn’t notice and we were between it and the barn. Chuck, sensing us there, scrunched down as low in the grass as he could probably with the thought that we wouldn’t see him. We saw him. Wally let me get a little bit closer, but have to admit I was a bit afraid…all the while, Chuck Woodery just flattened himself further really believing he looked like part of the lawn.
I decided not to bother him and went on about my business. He never moved. Finally, I went back into the house, and I assume Chuck took off for home when we went inside.
Happy to have those hogs around to make life interesting and to keep that snooty robin in his place! But, I know I’m faster than all of them and Wally says he’ll let me off the leash someday so I can chase them…although, what would I do if I caught one? But in the end, it’s my job to make sure the backyard revolution doesn’t get out of hand. So, I’m just content to keep Woody, Woodina, Chuck Woodery and the chuckettes on their toes, earning a “good job Hud” with a pat on the head when back at the house!
And THAT, pretty much makes my day…