Planting season is winding down now, and I’m starting to reflect on this year’s growing season. We’ve enjoyed the wildlife in our garden this year and it seems like things are getting even more biodiverse!
Case in point, we had our very own groundhog! Meet Grady!
Here he/she is being super cute AND super destructive, eating my zucchini.
The first time we met, I was out in the garden and then I saw what looked to be a GIANT bunny. Turns out, it was a rodent of unusual size.
We stared at each other for a minute or so, and then I decided I needed to share my discovery with Jonah and the girls. Of course, as soon as I went inside, Grady disappeared. Talk about an elusive creature! For a few days, I staked out in our dining room behind a sheer curtain panel just like Clint Eastwood, to see if I could see Grady again.
Finally, after multiple sightings but disappearing before I could get my phone, I finally got Jonah downstairs in time to take a picture with his camera. Now we have proof that Grady does exist! For several weeks, maybe a month, we saw him nearly everyday. Since about early October, we haven’t seen him/her, but I hope (s)he’ll be back. And based on what I see online, that makes sense, since groundhogs hibernate from October through March/April.
Groundhogs are fascinating and adorable little creatures! They’re in the marmot family and are also known as woodchucks or whistle pigs, because of the sound they make when they’re threatened or alarmed. They can burrow to beat the band, and when they hibernate, they hibernate HARD – body temperature lowers to 35 degrees F and heart rate slows to 4-10 bpm. They breathe only once every six minutes! How these guys stay alive it truly amazing.
Some people see groundhogs as pests. A few of our neighbors joked that this groundhog had messed with the wrong gardener. And while I admit that G ate A LOT of my sunflowers, sweet potato vines, and ground-level zucchini and beans, I actually loved seeing that little guy around here. It’s just another sign that the garden is full of life and it doesn’t belong to just me. It’s God’s gift to creatures great and small from humans down to itty bitty insects. We can all share and enjoy the harvest.
So here’s to you, Grady! See you in the Spring!