Where Is Bill Murray When You Need Him?


This is all that remains of a once lush and robust pot of sweet potato vines. In one night, a groundhog stripped every last leaf from what had once been dense and gorgeous growth. At first I suspected a rabbit – they are notorious for decimating a garden in one fell swoop, but it seems the groundhog is a far worse menace. Andy saw the culprit chewing on a bush in the front yard, and it looked like the thing had been trying to burrow under the fence. Somehow, it had gotten in during the night, and feasted upon this poor sweet potato.

The next night, after I had put the pots close to the house and on pedestals, Andy saw the beast climbing onto a bench beside a plant, practically looking in the house. Andy peered out and the creature didn’t budge. (I had read that putting up a mirror would be enough to deter them, as they were supposedly scared and skittish. Not so – at least not this rabid, bold escapee from hell.) Andy barged out the door and scared him off, but it took more than a stupid mirror. (And who in the hell is scared of a mirror? Humans aren’t the only vain ones on this earth.)

The next day I spotted the animal in the garden by the pool, munching on morning glories. I opened the door and clapped my hands and it took off. A few minutes later it was back, spotted by Andy, who promptly threw a shoe at it. ‘This is what it has come to,’ I thought. At least I hated those shoes.

I read that fox urine works as a deterrent, but if I can’t get my own niece and nephew to pee on cue, a fox sure as fuck isn’t going to do so. I read too that human urine worked to keep them away, but peeing all over the patio just felt wrong. A number of people suggested just shooting the thing, but according to Andy we’re not allowed to use firearms in the backyard (he may have just been making that up to deter me. Not all beasts crawl on four legs.) I couldn’t bring myself to shoot anything anyway, so for now we’re just staying vigilant, keeping the potted sweet potatoes up in the air and close to the house. The next step would be a trap, and if another patch of flat-leaf parsley gets stripped we may go that route – but once it’s in the trap, what do you do? I don’t think it’s legal to release them anywhere else… not that legality has ever been a concern of mine. Hopefully the thing will see this post and know enough to stay away. Hey, if it worked on Starbucks it could work on the groundhog. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

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