Last week, our neighbor gave us a casualty report from the frontlines in the war on woodchucks. He sustained heavy losses in hand-to-hand combat. Peppers, zucchini, cucumbers … all gone. His garden has been leveled. It was a scorched earth assault, and he feared another attack was imminent. These woodchucks are fierce fighters, and lately they’ve been calling up reinforcements by recruiting a battalion of chipmunks.
Undeterred, my neighbor launched a counter-offensive. He took five woodchuck prisoners of war in his Havahart traps and relocated them to a labor camp at the nature preserve — at least that’s what he claims he did.
Since he spared their lives, they’ve come back to take revenge on me.
Every homeowner engaged in this wildlife conflict prays he can hold out until autumn and save a few vegetables, but we’re suffering battle fatigue. The woodchucks are so emboldened they’re coming up to our back porch and knocking on the door. When I look outside in the morning, they’re sunning themselves, waiting to breach my defenses so they can invade our home and pillage the liquor cabinet, not to mention the refrigerator.
They’ve taken up positions under the deck and the shed. Even worse, chipmunks are establishing fortifications in the stone wall, the drain pipes and the heating system of my SUV, where they’ve been storing acorns for the prolonged battle that’s about to erupt. It’s like the Siege of Leningrad, and only a cold winter can save us now. Where are the cats and the coyotes when we need them?
The other day, my wife called me in fear and trembling. I ran to the window and looked out to see a large woodchuck sitting on the deck railing, where it was eating my parsley, basil and lemon thyme, I ran for the BB gun but I was too slow. They’re fat, but they’re fast and before I knew it, he has retreated back under the deck.
The next day, I found him staring me in the face while he was eating all the leaves and flowers of the gardenia … after eating green cherry tomatoes along with the toxic leaves. He eats absolutely everything, even stuff that should send him to the Woodchuck ER. Does he have a cast iron stomach? He just weeks eating and getting fatter for the long winter sleep, but it I have my way, he won’t be waking up.
There he was, standing on his hind legs, lost in a trance like Yoda. Pretty soon, he’ll be levitating. My wife says he has a tiny cut face, but I want to smash his tiny cut face because he has cost me hundreds of dollars.
These creatures are as intelligent as those raptors in Jurassic Park. They learn from watching us, and pretty soon I fear I’ll be a victim of identity theft. When the security team at my bank examines the video, they’ll see a woodchuck at the ATM, emptying out my account.
You think I’m crazy? You think these are the delusions of a man suffering from the stress of battle? Well, Mr. and Ms. Smarty Pants, didn’t you hear about what happened to House Speaker Paul Ryan — and it doesn’t involve Donald Trump.
As reported in the Washington newspapers, a family of woodchucks commandeered Ryan’s Chevrolet Suburban in Wisconsin. He told a gathering at the Economic Club of Washington that the varmints did more damage than the Democrats and the Russians combined. He said they destroyed the wiring in his SUV and made it their winter encampment.
Ryan couldn’t legislate his way out of that. No law could help him because woodchucks aren’t law abiding creatures like the rest of us. He has to surrender the Suburban and buy a Ford pickup.
I feel his pain. For the second year, my SUV went into the garage, and my mechanic said woodchucks, chipmunks and/or squirrels had chewed through the wiring in my air conditioner and heater. Last year, they filled the air ducts with acorns and seeds, which leads me to believe they’re in cahoots with the auto repair industry and getting paid off to destroy our cars. I’m sure the day is coming when I’ll wake up to discover they hot-wired my car and are driving to Vegas, drinking my Scotch.
Joe Pisani can be reached at [email protected].