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The Urban Woodchuck

Sunday, July 29, 2007

It was not a salubrious place for a woodchuck, this parched little courtyard just a half-block off North High Street in the middle of Columbus, Ohio. I was having a wonderful day, moseying and nosing around in the shops. Bill and I had taken breakfast at North Star Cafe, a fabulous all-natural organic eatery with good music and magazines and interesting people-watching. He’d gone off to an Ohio Ornithological Society board meeting, leaving me to poke around at places like The Urban Gardener and Loot and Pet People. Oh, yeah. I was having fun. Bought myself some Knockout landscape roses, a small pink mandevilla and a real jasmine vine. Breathe deeply...jasmine. Ahhhhh. And some nice mesclun and mache seeds for the fall greens crop I always mean to plant but never seem to. This year I WILL.
But the Science Chimp is ever watchful, even when shopping. In this apartment courtyard behind Pet People I spotted a young woodchuck, belly down on the sidewalk. What a lovely animal. I have a huge soft spot for woodchucks. No. I love woodchucks.

Urbane as he (she?) doubtless was, this was a suspicious woodchuck, and he raised his head and started for safety as soon as he noticed me looking at him. His home was a little crevice under a stoop, pretty bomb-proof, actually. He’d be fine in a tornado.
I saw a man pulling weeds just around the corner of the building. I sized him up and decided that he didn't look like someone who'd bother to kill a woodchuck. "I saw a little woodchuck just around the back of the building. Have you ever seen him?" I asked. No, he hadn't.
"Does he bother your flowers?"
"Never has. I guess he doesn't like flowers, or something."
Or maybe, I thought, he's too smart to chew down the flowers, knows he'd get kicked out for it. Sticks to clover. Could be. They're really smart animals.

Look at the view out onto the street. How did he get here? Would he be OK in such marginal habitat? Yes, he’d be fine. That’s why he’s there. The resilience of wildlife will always astound me.

Speaking of astounding...Sweet Mon@rch nominated this blog (and Bill of the Birds!) for Best Animal Blog, or Best Hobby Blog, or (this is a stretch) Best Education Blog on Blogger's Choice. Thanks, Mon@rch. Now I need to find out what that means.

So while I was away, Bill had my web wizard Katherine put a button up on the blog--you can see it to the right. I guess when you hit that button it takes you to a page where you can, uh, establish an account and vote for this blog so it might be in the running for a Blogger's Choice Award. Considering that Cute Overload is ALSO up for Best Animal Blog, maybe we'd better vote for it under Best Hobby Blog. Even Chet Baker can't compete with about nine thousand tiny baby kittehs, bunnehs and puppehs for cuteness and sheer vote-amassing popularity. At least not in the hearts of the general populace. True Baker fans know that his cuteness surpasses that of any other life form, juvenile or not.

Heck, I've even seen a knock-kneed baby moose on that blog. Nah, we have not a snowball's chance under Best Animal Blog. Let's go for Best Hobby blog. Much as I bridle at calling what I do a hobby, or collection thereof...There really isn't a category it fits into. It's neither gardening, nor animal husbandry, nor painting, nor wildlife rehabilitation, nor mommyblog, nor dark poetry, but some amalgam of all those things.

I hit the button, established an account (which isn't a big deal) and voted for myself. How pathetic is that? Help me.

This is a roundabout way, I guess, of soliciting votes. Pick me! Pick me! For what, I don't know. My Blog Resume? To add to my copious general mystique? To give you something else to do to waste time whilst at work? Yeah, that's it. You've got nothing better to do, right? Go vote! Vote for BOTB and Monarch, too!


I've seen a woodchuck that lives in a similar little hole beneath a hotel room porch. He comes out and suns himself on the lawn each day. He just lives there. :)

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