Wednesday, June 14, 2006

waiting at the henhouse door

he other morning we drove out the gate right by the henhouse and there was someone waiting.

Waiting right at the henhouse door.

Waiting, just like on Saturday's when people come out to get free eggs.

Only it wasn't Saturday.

And it wasn't a person.

And I don't think they were waiting for eggs, but instead were looking for a more substantial meal.

And seeing there, right in front of the henhouse, apparently waiting for a meal, was a large grey fox.

The fox looked at us, we looked at her, and then, apparently not being all that sociable, she ran, ran right out the gate and off into the woods.

Fortunately, I have taken to locking the chickens up each and every night so she wasn't running away with a meal,

However, Wenonah and I have a debate going on how many chickens are missing. Wenonah things as many as fifty (she's wrong) I say maybe a dozen have been snatched and eaten before I electrified the fence around the chickens and started closing the door at night.

But, more devastating to me (and to us) are the groundhogs.

On the way back in the gate, about an hour later, I looked down past the henhouse into the cemetery field and there was a ground hog.

Eating.

Eating squash plants.

I jumped out of the car and (this is when being a redneck with a gun rack has its appeal) before I could run into the field the groundhog stood up on its hind legs. Gave me a long stare and then, turned around and trotted out of the field and into the thicket beyond.

The next night (in a different field, the one up where the asparagus grows) 500 newly planted broccoli were chomped down to the ground. And the next night, the other 400 broccoli plants in that field were gone (this isn't as bad a loss as the squash - which had been in the ground growing for several weeks - we had just planted the broccoli and the next day replanted all 900).

Besides the fence (which seems to be working) I bought half a dozen more live traps (which aren't working).

Any other suggestions? I know, I should be sitting out there, for hours and hours, with a rifle, just waiting for the voracious groundhog to show its vociferous nose.

However..

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