It started late this spring, with the big fat groundhog waddling out from under the deck, industriously munching on tender dandelion shoots and creeping Charlie that borders the grassy part of the lawn.
A few weeks later, the big groundhog was joined by the tiny nose of another groundhog, this time near the oak tree next to the deck. Baby 1 had evidently arrived.
Then there were two, and three, and four....
Eek, so much for our plans for vegetable garden! Or so I thought. But the groundhog babies never strayed from the patches of dandelions, grass and other weeds. I breathed a sigh of relief, no worries about any planning for the kitchen garden patch. It would likely grow unmolested by the groundhog population explosion.
As the days went by, the babies grew bolder, venturing onto the deck, sniffing at my potted plants and sundry, but not attempting to munch on them. I would rush onto the deck, now sticky with oak sap and pollen, trying to dissuade them from making that their own space. I industriously sprayed all the entry points to their burrow with mint oil, to little effect.
The groundhogs came and went pretty much as they pleased. Till one fine day, Mother Groundhog brought out three of the larger babies and walked them across to the neighbors' lots. Time for nearly grown groundhogs to spread out and move out of the old burrow.
Now, only the smallest groundhog remains, and we have taken to calling it Groundhoggy, the youngest of the lot who appears to have inherited the ancestral home. It comes out every day, spending time on the lawn or the deck (till we go out to drive it back under the deck).
Next year will probably bring a fresh litter of Groundhogs, and the cycle of life continues...