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Groundhogs, and Starlings, and Snakes, Oh My!




When one lives on a farm, one is accustomed to not only the domestic animals who share our lives but also wildlife that shares our property. This weekend, the wildlife we share our property with has been a bit too close for comfort. I like and appreciate all animals. I understand that we share their world, and they need places to call home, find food, and raise their young. One of my favorite people has pointed out that I take a “very kumbaya approach” to wildlife. However, with 140 acres to roam about, I prefer all wildlife to stay away from my home, outbuildings, and yard. I believe that is more than fair. Apparently, said wildlife did not get this memo. Sigh.


The wildlife drama began on Friday. As I readied for the day, I heard our pitbull, Chubs, barking frantically behind the house. As I looked out the window to try to see what he was barking at, I saw nothing, but I heard him. I went out back to investigate, and low and behold; he was at the bottom of the staircase to the springhouse. Chubs had a huge groundhog cornered and was frantically barking. I tried to call-off Chubs, but he has a one-track mind when protecting his home. I ran to the soap studio and asked Eric to come to help me. Eric and Jenna both came out, but by the time we got out, there it was too late. Chubby had taken care of the infiltrator and was prancing around with his tail in the air like a proud warrior. Eric praised Chubby and told him what a good, protective boy he was, while Chubs basked in the glow of such praise.


Groundhogs, although seemingly innocent, are very destructive for those unfamiliar with farm life. Groundhogs dig large holes in fields and pastures. These holes can be the ruination of farm equipment and pose a significant danger to longed domestic animals. Groundhogs also build dens under buildings, wreak havoc on gardens and landscaping, and can overrun a property in just a few breeding cycles. Although they hold a place in the ecosystem, they are pesky. Chubby does an excellent job of keeping our groundhog population controlled. What Chubby misses, The Bibbed Wonder takes care of with a .22.


Our next issue with wildlife is the birds who have moved into the vent pipe at the back of our house. Starlings…grrrrr! I am a bird lover. I imagine myself going on bird-watching vacations when I am retired. I put feeders out to attract different birdlife. I have a very personal relationship with the hummingbirds who hang out near our porch and come to my dining room window when their feeders need to be filled. I love birds. However, I detest starlings. They are rude, messy, and multiply like rats. I often refer to them as the rats of the bird world. These aggressive mess makers have taken full advantage of a fallen vent cover and have built a nest in the said vent.


I go to sleep every night with these interlopers’ banging, rustling, and squawking. I wake up every morning to the same sounds. These filth mongers have pooped down the side of my house, send leaves and twigs flying down to be blown into my downstairs windows, and squawk and cheep twenty-four hours a day. I’m not unkind enough to destroy their nest and babies, but when they are done, I plan to have The Bibbed Wonder put me up in the tractor bucket to clean out the vent and replace the cover. Thanks for the extra work, you poop machine, sleep-depriving, filth mongers.


Last but not least, the worst of them all, the creator of the heebie-jeebies, is the six-foot black snake that was just hanging out in my bed of hydrangeas. I spotted the snake while walking down the sidewalk. The Bean keeps ax handles all over the property in case she has to protect herself from a flogging rooster. Sigh. My child, who thinks nothing of walking with a seven hundred pound swine, is deathly afraid of a three-pound rooster with a Napoleon complex. Yes, the battle still rages. Also, I’m not sure where all the ax handles have come from, but she knows where at least three are at all times. Weird. However, I digress. I took The Bean’s “chicken wacker” and chased the snake toward the hayfield.


Jordan demanded the snake’s execution, but I couldn’t do it. It didn’t want to be around me any more than I wanted to be around it. As long as it stays out of my yard, away from my house and outbuildings, and in the fields or woods, I’m good with it living its vile snake life. It can eat rats, mice, and maybe even starling eggs to its little cold snake heart’s content, but stay away from me. The Bibbed Wonder believes the snake is hunting the chipmunk and squirrel population that hangs out in the hickory trees in the backyard. He wants to commence war on said critters, but I don’t mind the cute little nut gobblers hanging around. However, as with most things I initially disagree with, The Bibbed Wonder is usually correct. Sigh, it pains me to write that.


Groundhogs, starlings, and snakes, oh my! They all have their place, just not in my direct vicinity. I hope you aren’t plagued with rogue wildlife on this beautiful holiday. As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, help the local wildlife flourish but not in your home, and keep washing your hands.

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