Not long after I adjusted to having the goats as neighbors, I noticed another furry friend in my backyard.
Fun fact: Did you know groundhogs (aka woodchucks) are the largest of the squirrel family? I didn’t even know they were squirrels…
The groundhog grazes rather openly on my back hill and in my garden, occasionally with a partner. Up until this point, I had been concerned about how to keep the goats out of the garden beds but when I saw him grazing I just gave up. People have provided many suggestions on what I should do with the gardening spots that usually include lots of effort such as fence-building and what-not. I enjoy the pure nature and I’m also a little lazy so I will probably just plant tons of wildflowers for the birds and butterflies. Maybe at some point in the future I will plant vegetables on that back hill, but I would have to plant enough for me AND the animals so we’ll see.
In any case, I’m pretty sure this groundhog has a few holes on that hill. One day I caught him lounging on the fence itself, which is rather cute. I’ve seen a few animals lounging on that fence.
Closer than I Thought
It wasn’t long before he got really up-close and personal. I started catching him grazing in the area between my house and my garage.
Then one day I saw him relaxing on my patio. Kitty Burkes and I were both a little startled, at first…
Our watching him must have startled him, because he took off… right UNDER my patio…
Wow! To have a wild animal so close to my own living space is pretty neat, if you ask me. Granted, I have heard enough people tell me what problems they are and how they mess up the yard, but as long as this guy (and all of the wildlife) stays out of my house, I’m good with it. I’d rather have a menagerie of wildlife than a perfectly manicured lawn and garden. After all, nature is what attracted me to this spot. I did not move here to adjust nature to my needs, but rather to enjoy the nature as it is.
And so I named our new outdoor roommate Chuck. Chuck enjoys long grazes, chilling on the railroad ties and/or fence on sunny days, and staring at me from a very close distance until I acknowledge his existence.
Hide and Seek
One of the most adorable moments yet happened one day when he was grazing around the patio. For the last couple of days he had been startling me pretty regularly by his head suddenly appearing over the railroads ties or on the patio bench. He would stare at me until I looked and I always jumped a little bit.
Well, one day he couldn’t find me, so I swear it looked like he got a little concerned and started actively searching for me from the patio… standing on his back legs, looking in my windows and then out the other way and then back towards the windows. Suddenly, I imagined a Narnia-type scenario where he comes knocking on my door with a flower in hand. Ha!
Winter is Coming
I haven’t seen Chuck come quite as close, lately. I think he’s bulking up for the winter as he will be hibernating soon. I’ll miss him but I’m excited to see what happens next year.