Friday, June 13, 2008

Groundhog Dog Days

As we mentioned, it was hot in North Carolina and in the South we call the long, hot summer days, Dog Days. Dog Days are actually expected in July or August. But it sure felt like they had come in June.

We spent a lot of time in the rockers on the wrap-around deck/porch, reading and watching the wildlife. One evening, I was looking across the field and saw what I thought to be a large, dark cat. There are several farm cats that wander through the properties. But no, this was no cat. It was a groundhog! He had very good hearing and seemed quite cautious. I took several shots with the camera but it was so far off, they are nothing spectacular at all. In fact we would call them "alligator pictures." In the days of old point and shoot cameras, we were forever taking terrible pictures of alligators. You know the ones: the ones where you have to be shown exactly where in the photo the alligator is! So here are some groundhog "alligator pictures":

Here is how he first looked to me, creeping along like a hunting cat. He eats grass, seeds, fruit, flowers, some insects and eggs--all of which were most likely in this picture.

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When he heard us, he stood up on his hind legs by the ancient apple tree.

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We watched him on two evenings as he would come and go from holes. We witnessed his loud alarm whistle, which has earned him his other name of Whistle Pig. Our last evening, we walked long this fence line and found 4 entrances to groundhog burrows and evidence of his movement through the vegetation.

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At one point, he climbed up on the fence brace and surveyed his kingdom. This picture is the hardest of all, taken at the greatest distance, but the most interesting. So to help you out: You can see the leaves appear to be in the open door of the shed. He is on the fence in front of those leaves, all stretched out, head up. It is sort of a seal pose, to me. We could really see how big he is.

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Every year on February 2nd, we celebrate Groundhog Day in my kindergarten class. The challenge of this is that we don't have groundhogs in Florida. It is a little difficult to teach about groundhogs when you only have 2-D pictures and drawings. So you can imagine my excitement to find on this trip a little stuffed toy groundhog. And he did a really nice job of posing for me.

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Ironically, B bought in the same shop a cookbook that contained a recipe for groundhog!

So if the groundhog can predict the weather, did he see these early Dog Days coming? Inquiring minds want to know.

1 comment:

wlhawh said...

I love the shot with the shed in it.