Monday, September 04, 2006

Marmota Monax in the Toolshed

We have a groundhog in the toolshed. Actually, it lives under the toolshed, whence it ventures forth to plunder our pitiful garden.

As a manly male, I have formuated plans for its destruction. These range from shooting it as it scurries for cover like flying, fur-covered Jello (trust me, you'd know what I mean if you'd ever seen a groundhog run) to napalming it in its burrow. I was encouraged in this bloodthirstiness by my wife, who is the chief gardener. She feels the loss of her tender charges very keenly. Indeed, she howled for the marmot's blood sooner and louder than I did.

By the time I had launched a few half-hearted BB barrages at the beast, Laurie had developed a softer attitude. She'd complain bitterly at every raid on the lettuce, but stop me from going out to meet the foe on the field of battle.

We're going to try appeasement.

In an attempt to bribe the crop raider, Laurie has started to feed it. Tender bits like broccoli leaves and carrot tops, which would have gone into the slimy compost bucket and then into the mixed morass of the compost pile itself are now laid out beside some rabbit chow we bought during the brief residence of a rescued squirrel who has since moved on to a private campus tailored to meet its needs.

The woodchuck accepts our offerings. The little bastard is actually cute. Since we no longer have any garden plants to protect, we don't know if the payola would really shortstop the vandalism. And if we continue to buy special food for a garden pest, that must be charged to the garden account, increasing the cost of whatever produce we enjoy. If, on the other hand, we can lay scraps in its path to stop it from coming into the garden at all, and those scraps are things we would discard anyway, we will have achieved a balance of power, a sustainable peace.

If it doesn't work, he'll be good and fat for the table.

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