Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What are groundhogs good for?

We have a vegetable garden, a nice one that I spend a lot of effort on. It is enclosed by a deer fence, a rabbit fence, and should be rather safe from groundhogs. But it is not. This year, the groundhogs (at least 2, one that is a giant), has devoured all our bean plants, lots of lettuce, some pepper plants, an amazong amount of strawberries, and all the flower buds of the poppies (wonder if they got high on that?).

We have tried to trap them, but they have managed to get the bait and out of the trap before it snaps shut 4 times now! I don't understand it. We even tied the apple to the roof inside the trap so they couldn't just snatch the bait and get out quickly. Either the trap is broken, but then why does it snap shut after?, or the groundhog is too smart. This is turning into a major problem, I wonder what alternative methods that will work... Carbon monoxide poisoning, cat litter down the nest holes, smoke bombs, drowning in garden ponds? The large groundhog is one that survived our capturing attempts last year too, maybe he is ready to die of old age soon. Probably just wishful thinking.

Groundshogs are vegetarians so in our garden we don't need them (at least they could have eaten japanese beetles or voles). Also, they dig, dig, dig, and destroy the foundation to our barn, and my flower bed. Last year they decided to put their hole right were I had planted a new shrub. After a month, no shrub was to be seen, only a hole.

Facts: Groundhogs are a pest. Groundhogs belong to the squirrel family. Groundhogs can live anywhere, but not in our garden.


PP said...

I guess they are good for this:

Groundhog Roundup
By Belly Buddy David Lauterbach

Are you hankerin' for some hog? Get on board with the latest health craze in the nation and dig in to some groundhog.

We rounded up three of the most popular groundhog recipes on the web for your enjoyment... not your eatin' enjoyment- your readin' enjoyment.

Actually I'm quite surprised that anyone with a computer and the intelligence to get on the web was able to share these with us, but here they are. Technology is useful in so many ways.

Trailer Park Groundhog

Take gun (.22 cal is good). Load with bullets and accurately fire at head [Ed. Note: We're assuming the groundhog's head, not your own].

Skin groundhog and gut him. Clean out carcass with waterhose.

Cut critter into quarters.

Make up a big batch of your favorite marinade (make sure it has oil and vinegar to help tenderize the groundhog).

Throw marinade and critter pieces into plastic trash bag and marinade around 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Take out marinated critter pieces and throw on the grill on low heat. Cook until rare to medium rare. Do not overcook, critter will dry out.

And no one likes their critter dry.

Country-Style Groundhog

1 groundhog
1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. cooking oil
1/2 tsp. sugar

Clean and skin as soon as possible. Remove all sent glands. Cut off head, feet and tail. Cure in cool place by suspending from hook approximately 4 days.

When ready to cook, lard according to recipe.

Dress groundhog as you would a rabbit, removing the small sacs in the back and under the forearm. Soak groundhog overnight in salted water to remove wild flavor.

Combine flour, salt and pepper; rub into groundhog pieces. Brown grounhog in hot oil in skillet; sprinkle with sugar. Reduce heat and add 1/2 cup water. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender. Remove cover and cook for 10 minutes longer.

Boil & Bake Groundhog from "Cookin' With Home Storage" by Peggy Layton and Vicki Tate.

Skin and clean the groundhog. Boil until tender. Remove from the water and season with salt, pepper and red pepper. Bake in an oven at 350°F. or cook over an open fire.

LS said...

I am not planning to eat that groundhog if we manage to catch him! I wonder what my brother would do in this situation - he always has drastic but innovative solutions.

EH said...

Are there no "pest control" agencies around? Can´t you have someone dig them out, maybe with a nasty snarling dog or something! Look around for help!

And dig the fence down around the kitchen garden, I know it´s hard work but it might be worth the effort!

EH said...

Are there no "pest control" agencies around? Can´t you have someone dig them out, maybe with a nasty snarling dog or something! Look around for help!

And dig the fence down around the kitchen garden, I know it´s hard work but it might be worth the effort!

LS said...

AS far as I konw, the 'animal control' in the township will catch them if you pay, and they will kill them. But I am not sure, groundshogs are so common that some townships don't deal with them at all.

I know, a fence that go down under the soil would be good - but right now they have been getting in under tha gate to the garden, so that wouldn't have helped. They are tricky bastards.

AnS said...

Have you tried to put sour herring in the hole. They did it in Bergianska garden in Stockholm to brought away "mullsork"some sort of big rats. It works and they are gone.

O.K. said...

How about an old and tried solution instead of something innovative and drastic? Maybe you can take inspiration from "The hanging gardens of Babylon". Could perhaps be a little labor-intensive...

LS said...

O.K., when are you coming over to help us with those new hanging gardens?

O.K. said...

Don't you practice levitation in your yoga-classes? :)

LS said...

levitation - not for groundhogs! They are no good at that, too low on a center of gravity for that! :)

O.K. said...

I was thinking of levitating gardens, not pigs flying. Sorry, I mean groundhogs. :)