Saturday morning was a typical one. Mostly. We had my niece spend the night with us, which was fun! But it didn't change our schedule up too much. We went about our day as we usually would. I got breakfast on the table while Joe went out to do some yard work. After the yard work we took all the girls grocery shopping with us. (Lemme tell ya, it shows me a whole new level of awe for mothers of twins- taking two 5-year-olds shopping was QUITE the experience!)
We got back from the grocery store around 11, and seeing as how it wasn't quite lunchtime, I sent the girls to play for a while in the house. Now- I, being in my second trimester of pregnancy, was already hungry. BUT I didn't want the girls to eat yet, so I made a sandwich, and went out to get the mail. While eating the sandwich I kinda wandered my yard (so as to give me time to finish my secret first course of lunch). Lo and behold LOOK at what I found!
So of course I quickly swallow down the last little bit of sandwich and head inside to talk to Joe. "Say, Joe- did you notice the mega hole in the side yard?" Of course he did! How could you miss it? Neither of us had ANY idea what may have caused it, though it was a good bet that it was an animal. Just to be sure, Joe placed a large rock on top of the hole. Sure enough, a couple hours later the hole had been widened to allow access around the rock!
Keep in mind, at this point we have NO IDEA what has taken up residence in our yard. The hole was completely clean. No mound of dirt or "cover" like a gopher, and besides this hole is much larger than a gopher hole... SOOOO- we go about our day and don't worry too much about it.
So around 4 or so, Lacey is sound asleep and the two older girls are downstairs playing in the basement when they both come charging upstairs. "MOM! MOM! Can we go outside? There is a PORCUPINE in our WINDOW! Can we go? PLEASE?!" Um- what?! I told them they were stuck inside, but to show me what they are talking about... We went back down to the basement and sure enough, there in our window well was a special BIG visitor. It wasn't a porcupine, and it also wasn't a gopher... In fact, Joe and I had never seen this specific creature before. After a bit of Internet research, we realized we are hosting a GROUND HOG (Otherwise known as a woodchuck) I ran (as much as a belly laden pregnant person could) to get the camera, which was Els and Lil's cue (I guess) to go outside and look down the window well at it. Before I could snap a picture, the girls had scared it off... But from as far as I could tell, our little guest was halfway to breaking into our house, where I am sure she had every intention of sitting down and watching some educational cartoons and chowing down on all my fruits and veggies in the fridge. (She had eaten a hole in our screen, then pulled it down out of the window and chewed a second hole in the opposite end of the screen...)
OKAY- so maybe it wanted to use my window screen for some other purpose, but I DID get pictures of what was there.
Notice the nest in the corner? CA-RAZY!
The second burrow hole- this one is in the window well
A view of the whole window well
A few hours later, I went back downstairs to see if our free loader had returned, and sure enough, she was all curled up in her nest! We have named her Edna.
I have done some pretty extensive research on the subject of groundhogs and have found some pretty interesting stuff out. First off, Edna is a loner. So there is no mate to worry about. Second, No need to worry about pregnancy and babies yet- she won't mate til spring (she may also be a he- in which case I am changing HIS name to Edward). Third, it looks like she is setting up for a winter burrow... (I think she wanted to use the screen to keep the snow off her nest). Fourth, she is a true hibernating animal. She will go to sleep in October where her heart rate will drop to 6 beats per minute and her temp will drop to some 70 degrees. She will take a breath about 4 times per minute, and she will be nearly catatonic until she finally wakes up around March. And fifth- I DON'T WANT HER. She could be digging her burrow under my house (seeing how close her holes are to the house, I wouldn't be surprised) and that could cause foundation damage! ACK!
Anyone want a little souvenir for Ground hog's Day?