War of the Groundhogs

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As first discussed in Us vs. the Groundhogs, we are at war with a gang of thuggish, overgrown rodents who have invaded our backyard.

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After reading my last post on the subject, a friend suggested that cayenne pepper might scare them off. We forthwith emptied five bottles of the stuff into all the entrances to their burrows under our barn and run-in shed and then sat back to wait for them to flee.

Perhaps the cayenne pepper imparted a delicious piquancy to the-all-you-can-eat buffet that was once our backyard, because they attacked it with even more unbridled gluttony.

When my mother heard our sad little tale, she reached into her own cupboard.

“This is from our garden. It’s too hot for humans to eat,” she said as she handed me a takeout container. From a kitchen drawer she dug out a homemade mask and handed it to me.

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“Wear this and use the scoop that’s inside, but wear gloves too. It will burn your skin.”

Was this a bridge too far? After all, only the most heinous and depraved regimes resort to chemical warfare…I examined my heart and felt slightly guilty when I found there – a sense of glee as I took her pepper flakes.

After a dawn blitz with the noxious pepper flakes, we held our breaths and waited for the dust to settle. From deep in the bowels of their underground bunker, we could hear the groundhogs guffawing at us with naked contempt.

I heard somewhere that human hair repels deer. Surely dog hair might be even better, I reasoned to myself. I imagined that the “Taste  the Wild” dog food our hounds eat might imbue their fur with a badass don’t mess with me kind of kick. After giving our dogs a summer hair cut, I saved all their fur and we shoved it into the groundhog holes.


For the last few days we haven’t seen the groundhogs. We’ve been cautiously jubilant. We’ve been slapping each other on the backs and heaping praise on our fierce and mighty hounds, who at long last are earning their kibble.

​How long can we hold on to our hard-won advantage? Only time will tell…

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