Weekly Chat (Non-Osprey), 26 May 2019

HAPPY NEW WEEK! I hope everyone has a wonderful week! I’m taking a short break from work to say hello to you all and tell you about my new friend.

Every summer, I seem to have one animal who chooses to stay close to my house and keep me company. Last year, it was the little yearling white-tailed deer. This year, it’s an enormous groundhog! He’s made a burrow underneath the fallen apple tree next to my bedroom window, and he’s been spending his days puttering around my front porch, eating the weeds that I’ve allowed to grow.

He’s a formidable critter. A couple of decades ago, we had a huge groundhog on this land. My Mom named him “Bear,” because he was nearly as large as a bear cub. The current resident groundhog must be Bear’s descendent, because he’s a big fella! He has immense teeth (I think he’s fairly old) and long, thick claws. Despite his scary appearance, he’s been friendly to me. Groundhogs generally avoid people and can be hostile to humans if they feel crowded or cornered, but Bear II makes no effort to leave when I go outdoors. When I talk to him, he tilts his head like a dog and stares at me with interest. LOL He makes me laugh, waddling around the yard.

I didn’t try to photograph him, because I read that mobile phones and other devices emit electromagnetic fields that some animals, including groundhogs, can hear (or feel?). He looks like the one in this photo, though.

Groundhog, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
NPS photo labeled “Public domain” (copyright free)

  • Diane:  Say Hi to Mr. Groundhog.  He eats weeds?  Can we hire him for my neighbor's front yard?  Have you seen any of your other four-legged (or winged) neighbors lately?  I see Indiana is in for a week of thunderstorms with most of the severe weather tracking just north of you. Those poor folks in Oklahoma have really been taking a beating.  The weather service has just issued a flash flood warning for the mountains northwest of LA due to storms; we're expecting only showers through tomorrow.  All very odd.   Hope you're feeling more confident about that project and that it's going smoothly....

  • In reply to Annette in SoCal:

    Annette: LOL Mr. Groundhog is very selective about the weeds he likes. He considers the lawn around my house to be a buffet. He peruses it all morning and late afternoon, looking for the best bites. (That should tell you something about how little yard work I've accomplished. Sigh...)

    I saw the hawks a couple of weeks ago, and the woodpeckers are all here. The catbirds and the wrens made it back. There's a barred owl pair living on my levee. I haven't seen my old nemesis the eastern kingbird pair, and I still haven't seen any hummingbirds. I was very interested in your post about missing your adult hummingbirds. I'm worried about mine. 

  • Diane: Well that settles it, I'm going ask other folks on our neighborhood web site if they are also missing hummingbirds.  I suspect it's the late spring; still.....    

  • In reply to Annette in SoCal:

    Annette: I hope you'll be safe from any flooding. The Plains and the Midwest are in ghastly condition. The media only cares about the urban east and west coasts. They don't care about us here in flyover country, so they aren't dedicating enough reporting to the disaster here. The flooding is horrific, especially along the major rivers. I've been lucky. Many people (including me) don't have flood insurance because it's wildly expensive, so folks are losing everything in the floods.

    The long storm fronts with tornado swarms, high winds, huge hail, and torrential rains blow up in the Plains and march across the Midwest every danged day. It's been hard on my old house.

    Farmers can't get the muddy fields planted. This is the latest Midwest planting in recorded history! Indiana is the 3rd largest corn-producing state, but our farmers only have 14% of the corn planted. By this time last year, 83% was in the ground. After May 31, it'll be too late. They'll lose their crop insurance if they try to plant. AND they say the emerging corn that was planted is bad. They can't switch to soybeans because of the Trump tariff war. Only 6% of the Indiana soybeans have been planted. Look for food prices to soar.

    Here's a screen capture from a webcam showing barren crop land just a few minutes north of my house. Scary.

  • Diane: I responded to this; not idea where it went.  Anyway, I've been watching that storm track over the last week - it's relentless.  And we've been getting lots of of coverage on the flooding, etc., but not the delay in planting.  I can't imagine how those folks must feel, watching it all and being so powerless.....    Then there are the soybean farmers......

  • Good Morning, and thank you to Diane for starting us off on a new week, with her tale of her new friend. You'll have to give him a name, Diane!

    Worrying though, to hear about the grim weather and how it's affecting farmers there: it will undoubtedly affect prices of food. It's the same here, by the way, the bad weather and it's effects are not always reported on the media unless it affects the South East - London, in other words.

    Raining here, and my OH is off to help erect a large shed for his cousin. He's resigned to getting wet!

  • Rather cool rainy day here, though only 2 mm recorded at nearby airport. We had 2 downpours while I was at church, but OH said we didn’t get them at home. I’m wearing my long woollen skirt and thicker jumper as I was sitting at computer for too long.

    DIANE - Handsome critter. You wrote “media only cares about the urban east and west coasts”. Here in Aussieland only eastern states matter. Of course when I was in UK, poor ol’ Aussieland hardly got a mention.

  • Keep warm, AQ!! (It's such a novelty to say that!)

  • Annette - I stared at the photos of the Everest queue in disbelief. Later, we saw a report which described how the authorities obtain 9,000 pounds from each climber for a permit, so that explains why they don't curb the numbers.

    ForestBoar, glad you're getting to tell bottom of your health problems. It makes such a difference if you can get a GP who will actually listen to you. But it really shouldn't be like that, should it. Hope you can now improve.

  • FORESTBOAR - pleased to see you appeared yesterday and that it looks as if the statins were at the bottom of your recent troubles! Hope all those tests for other possible causes come back negative!

    WHOEVER ASKED - I don't think GEORGE reads the thread now - but I will email and ask how he is; I think this is the year of an important birthday for him!

    DIANE - thanks for starting us off and introducing your new friend, "BEAR 2". I am glad you have someone so characterful looking after you! I do wish the current relentless storms would stop plaguing the mid-west. Terrible destruction, as well as threatening Farmers' incomes and food supplies for the year. Prices will be sky-high next autumn and winter!

    ANNETTE - I hope the rainfall in the mountains will not lead to further flooding and landslips in the areas left vulnerable during last year's fires. I hope your neighbourhood will stay safe.

    AQ - sounds like the cool autumn weather doesn't know when to stop getting cooler! Take care and enjoy what you can on days when cooler doesn't mean wetter!

    LINDA - early in the week, I had thought your OH was staying a few days with youngest to help with the new kitchen, then he was busy at home and they were going to the holiday home, and now he is helping his cousin - he certainly is a busy man!

    We had light rain from lunch through most of the afternoon yesterday, and more earlier this morning. Getting a bit brighter now and forecast to be dry this afternoon and evening for our outing into the hills. I said we expect mostly jazz - but have read in a newspaper article that Ruby is best known for blues, and then in a local magazine that it is soul - so I will say I was "just generalising" - anyway, she is a good performer blessed with a fine voice!