Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How much wood....

This morning, I was watching our resident groundhog, Groundy, out back. (I took this picture last year. I'm sorry it's not very bright or sharp, but I was taking it through the basement window.)
I know they're pests. I know they're destructive. Groundy has a burrow under the front deck walkway.
I also find them so dang cute! Those little ears, and that dark little nose, and when they go running, they're so fat they look hilarious!
As I was sitting here, Sheeba hopped up on his perch and was looking intently out the front window. I went over and looked out, too, and heard a little noise. Next thing I knew, Groundy came trotting across the front deck and onto the walkway. He really was trotting, too, making a thump thump thump on the boards, and I swear I thought he was going to start singing, "La de da de dah...." He looked so funny!
He stopped in a little patch of sun, and Sheeba and I watched him for a while. He didn't do anything, just looked around. (Surveying his domain, I guess.) He finally crept under the deck.
I wonder if we'll have groundhog babies this year? A couple of years ago, we had three, and named them Moe, Larry, and Curly. If I think an adult groundhog is cute, their babies are just adorable!
Most of you probably know that a groundhog is also called a woodchuck. However, this has nothing to do with wood, and is instead from the Algonquin Indian name for the critter, wuchak.
They are sometimes called land beavers, and I don't know why. But it reminds me of the "Saturday Night Live" skit, Landshark!
My favorite name for them, though, is whistlepig. Have you ever seen a groundhog standing straight up, on his hind legs, completely motionless? If they sense danger, they'll make a whistling sound to warn others in their colony. I have yet to hear a whistlepig whistle, but a gal can dream, can't she?


specialadyfink said...

Oh we have plenty of groundhogs and they dig holes in our pastures and can cause a cow or horse to break a leg.I used to worry when my horses would run lickety-split through the field,afraid one would break it's leg.They run across our driveway when we drive down.They are getting fat on our cat food and corn we give the cows......

chat2missie said...

We have a family of groundhogs across the street from us in a big field.  I love watching them.  The little ones are hilarious to watch as they run around and chase each other.

dbdacoba said...

Thank you for the Algonquin translation.  Your journal is an education.

Our local ground hog, Punxsutawney Phil, is supposed to predict when Spring will come when he comes out of his Winter quarters and sees or does not see his shadow.  If he sees his shadow he goes back in his hole and Spring is late in coming.  However, it's my theory that it isn't his shadow that frightens him.  It's the tourists, the gawkers, the photogophers, the news media and the vendors of Punxsutawney Phil caps and tee shirts who all show up for the event the scares the poor creature and send him back underground.

aimer said...

The groundhog is very cute, and the origin of woodchuck is quite interesting, but I am focused on your mention of the Saturday Night Live skit, Landshark. LMAO! That was one of my favorite skits on SNL. I loved the Jaws theme followed by the knock at the door and some dang fool always opening the door to the Landshark! I'm truly deranged. WOnder if YouTube has any Landshark videos?--Sheria

eml625 said...

I agree with you, your woodchuck is adorable ! We get Possums (sp) here, and they look alot alike, I too, laugh at them when they walk,run....so funny.
Have a great day

queeniemart said...

almost all of the men who work with Rick who ride huge ridable lawnmowers will purposely mow OVER a groundhog and slice them to death, watch them die and then run them over again as the blood squirts all over the place. They hate them because they are VERY destructive to graves. Isn't that awful? I told Rick i do not want to hear about it. Groundy is a cutie.

helmswondermom said...

I've heard them called whistlepig, too, but have never heard one.  We had a young one that lived near the creek at the back of our property a few years ago, but he must have moved on or something happened to him.  By the way, I don't eat groundhogs! lol  (Just deer and wild turkey!)
P.S.  For some reason I can't leave a comment for the previous entry.  When I try to, the SAVE button is at the top of the entry and it won't let me click on it.  The SAVE button is at the bottom of this entry, so I don't know what the deal is.  If I COULD have left a comment for the previous entry, it would have been: Way to go Sheeba!  At least it was a mouse and not a rat!

jmoqueen said...

They do look a bit like beavers :)  Cute piccy x