When the country invades the suburbs

My mother-in-law just gave me a few issues of a magazine I’d never heard of before, Country Woman. It’s full of everything I like — crafts, gardening, cooking, stories real and imagined — a lot of content and not a lot of ads. It’s a nice find.

But I’m really only a country wannabe (and I’m not really even sure I’d wannabe full-time — maybe just on the weekends or over the summer — I do love a good trip to Marshall’s or T.J.’s or Target or Lowe’s, after all).

And lately, life in the ‘burbs has gotten a little too country-like for my tastes — as in a little too furry and squatty and gnawing.

It all started when every beautiful red and white blossom disappeared from every one of my petunias on the deck in the backyard. That was back in May or so. I gave up and the pots have pretty much looked like this all summer.



It continued with random gnawings of numerous perennials in bud or bloom. Like this Centaura (cornflower).


Oh, I had seen the culprit many times — a fat, happy groundhog that my husband and neighbor “rescued” from being trapped in the basement next door at the abandoned house.


Who, without so much as a please or thank-you, promptly took up residence under our shed.


It was a back yard thing. I wasn’t happy about it, but it was life.

* * * * * * * * * *

But then the petunias I loved so much in the pots on the front porch started disappearing.

And, mysteriously, my coneflowers started looking like this.

white coneflower

At first I didn’t think anything of it. I’d forgotten I’d even had this white one, and I figured it was just stunted or something.

But then, I noticed this…


And this.


(I guess the leaves on the stems are the tastiest thing this side of spring mix.)

Then, last week, I actually caught a glimpse of him (or her) as I rounded the corner down the driveway. Just that quick, gone. After looking around in amazement at the vanishing act, I figured s/he had found a vacation home. (The same one likely recently occupied by our slithering visitor.)


This relocation was perhaps prompted by Mike and I. We were sitting on the deck in a rare moment of relaxation last week when we noticed the shed doors being bumped open from the inside.

A hasty recon mission (i.e., pull open door; jump back) led to this find in the back corner.


Yup. Evidently our squatty friend had grown weary of living in the basement and moved on up to the big house. Where the livin’ is easy and the sunflower seed (for the birds) flows and flows.


A few heavy rocks later, the “back staircase” was closed up. (No doubt a new one is under construction.)

But now what’s this? Retaliation perhaps?

I just planted these blasted mums (to replace the destroyed petunias) last night. Within 12 hours…a warning shot.


Notice those bare stems at 12:00 o’clock? They used to be burgundy mums like at 6:00.

Well played, little foe, well played.

How wicked. How subtle. How “I’ll be back” of you.

So will I, my little beastie. So will I.

* * * * * * * * * *

Hello Havahart trap just waiting in my mother’s basement.

Let’s see how you like a nice salad of carrots and celery. Maybe a little peanut butter on the side.

And let’s just see how you like relocating to your new home.

Miles and miles away.

In a field.

In the country.

Where you belong.

To be continued…

Revenge is an act of passion; vengeance of justice.
Injuries are revenged; crimes are avenged.
~ Samuel Johnson

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