Wednesday, April 26, 2006

whistle pig

Things might get interesting in the garden this year. We've been here for almost four years now. I have a relatively large garden and have never had a fence around it. We have rabbits but they've never posed a serious problem as there is so much for them to eat besides whats in the garden. Half the damn lawn is clover. And for the last two years, there has been a groundhog (otherwise known as a whistle pig) that has appeared in the spring but has been frustrated by the dogs, packed up and moved to parts unknown. This year he doesn't seem to be getting frustrated. In fact he seems downright confident. He hibernated under the shed all winter and has apparently done some remodeling down there the last few months.

Northern entrance. He also apparently enjoys the view from atop the brick terrace as I have personally witnessed him several times climbing up and climbing down this stack of bricks.

Southern entrance with freshly pushed out dirt. What is he doing under there?

Eastern entrance complete with overhang to keep out rain.

Western entrance.

There is he, right out in the open. Kind of hard to see, but that brown spot in the center of the picture is him.

Here he is again....peering over the top of the Rudbekia, just to the left of the edge of the shed. The garden is right past him....that brown area.

My precious asparagus, with no way to protect themselves, is just feet away. So do I wait and see if he wreaks havoc? Or trap him and relocate him right away?

BTW, do you know why they are referred to as whistle pigs? Because if you startle them, they will let out this ear-piercing whistle to alert other groundhogs. I have been startled many many times by this behavior while tromping around woods or fields.


Blogger Liz said...

Oh man... that's a problem. I'd say see how it plays out for now, but if you were me, I would definitely consider a "trap and relocate" program. But all those entrances! He's been busy!

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Judith said...

The dreaded Whistle Pig! That is the first time I have heard of a woodchuck as Whistle Pig--I like that. I dread the Whistle Pig. He certainly has been busy. I have had an encounter with one here last summer. I couldn't believe the trenches he/she dug in a few hours time. The previous owner of my house (almost 4 yrs ago) warned me there was a woodchuck around, but it didn't show until almost 3 yrs later...I rely on the dogs, but as you have pointed out that system can fail. Yes, I would try to relocate the critter. Did you fence your vegetables in at all? I think you have a big veggie garden? Ours is small so we dug down 3 feet all the way around (not easy!) and dropped 'deer fencing' down into the ground as well as almost 10'-12' above...What extensive work the Whistle Pig does!

8:39 PM  
Blogger EFB said...

Poor little guy :) we definitely don't have those in brooklyn.

8:43 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

I bet they are in brooklyn somewhere. Groundhogs are everywhere. Surely there is a big vacant lot somewhere with a few whistle pigs living on it.

I don't fence in the garden at all. I haven't had any problems yet. Obviously that is about to change. That's going to be a lot of fencing.

I'm hoping it's not a 'she' and there will be little whistle pigs running around soon, cute as they may be.

9:53 AM  
Blogger cyndy said...

oh dear,
the only good whistle pig is a composted whistle pig. Before we had a fence, the chuck ruined any chance of a harvest of just about anything but the few string beans he left on the bush...this after removing each and every leaf. Anything outside the fence falls prey, they are impossible, and I don't like them AT ALL!

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Sandy said...

I have never heard of a whistle pig. Just looked it up in the online american heritage dictionary. Says it is an Appalachian word. Can't wait until my husband get home, so I can ask him if he know the term. He grew up close to Baltimore. We call them wood chucks up here in Maine.

6:41 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

We always called them groundhogs, but my grandfather called them whistle pigs and I guy I worked with in my first biology job out of school called them that. He also referred to deer as 'wood cows' which I also like and use occasionally.

9:49 AM  

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