If a Woodchuck could chuck Wood...
then these old railroad ties would be a pile of landscape chips by now. There have been a lot of groundhogs that have occupied this 5 or 6 story home of railroad timbers over the years. It provides a good fortress, and sunning bed, and jungle gym, and lookout post. For the groundhog that is. I have tended to look upon the ties as a Photoshop job in my backyard landscape shots and generally wish they were gone.
Then one day a couple weeks ago I saw the groundhog running with a mouthful of last year's old dried up leaves back to her den. Could she be nesting? Sure enough, last weekend her little ones curiously emerged from their underground home, one by one, until a total of 7 babies were out and scampering around.
I read that once grown, they will dig burrows only a few feet away from their mother and that they like to establish their homes close to a food source. This would explain why it is 25 feet away from the garden. It is lightly fenced in, but with 8 groundhogs in the vicinity, I am thinking that I should do my fresh produce shopping at the farmer's market this year. I think I am outnumbered and it would be pretty hard to keep them out.
Please take a moment to notice, as I did, the prominent display of the mother groundhog's teeth. When I looked at some groundhog images on line, I found it remarkable that those groundhogs were not showing their teeth. I believe I have been duly warned. I've seen her run and although her legs are short, I think she might be able to out-run me.
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.