Thursday, June 11, 2009

Varmints and local fare

We've got a critter problem! And not just the mice out at the farmstead. We have, on the North side of the house, what we affectionately call 'the bump'. It is a spot where the kitchen overhangs the foundation by about 2 feet. It is the spot where we have kept our firewood that we have used in the outdoor firepit (we don't have a fireplace). Other things have accumulated there over the past few weeks, part of the old chainlink fence, a wooden workbench top, you know, stuff. V noticed yesterday that we have a new addition that we're not too fond of:
Notice the dirt pile- not good!
We have had a groundhog (or woodchuck, whichever you prefer) move in under our wood pile! Definitely NOT something we expected near downtown. We moved all the wood out to the new house today but are wondering how to get rid of the uninvited tenant. My thought was to call the city animal control but evidently, if the animal isn't damaging anything or a threat, they won't do anything about it. We could get a live trap ourselves I suppose but I really don't want to go to the expense. My first choice would be to just shoot it but there are several problems with this: 1. We don't own a gun (although we've thought about it with the move out to the country) 2. Discharging a firearm in town is quite a bit illegal. V did some research online and found mixed results from pouring ammonia down the burrow. He also found something about feeding it Bubbalicious bubble gum. My guess is that it gums up it's insides and kills it. While it would be effective, I'm not in favor of it. It seems a rather slow and cruel way to get rid of it. So, any suggestions? We already removed the woodpile it was under and filled in the top of the hole. It has evidently just moved in so I don't think the burrow is terribly deep yet. Hopefully we have discouraged it enough that it will move on but I'm not going to hold my breath on it.
In local fare, I thought I would introduce to you one of our local products:
Yum, vanilla yogurt! Now I just need some peaches or strawberries.
This is made in a tiny town about 15 miles South of us, They are a new company, started by a guy who moved into the area and wanted to do something to help out the small farmers in town. Many of them are Amish and it gives them a great outlet for their milk. We also get our eggs from a small company there.
The product isn't at all like commercial yogurt, it's much better!
I know several people who have tried it who don't like it. It isn't stabilized with gelatin like most commercial products so if you jostle it too much it gets a bit liquidy, and it has a cream top, not homogenized in. I've found it to be much more like homemade. So I can get my yogurt fix and feel glad about supporting a new local company.


  1. I'm sorry to say I have no idea how to get rid of your little friend. Borrow a neighbors dog n let him dig him. lol. The new yogurt sounds very tasty. We have a big bull frog in our back garden and he is a very loud croaker!! We enjoy his songs...debbie

  2. Oh Judy, I am sorry!

    I found a little desert mouse in our garage a week or so back. It had died rather a horrible death I am afraid by falling into an empty plastic trash can. Unable to climb out it had probably dehydrated. I have to admit I was filled with thoughts of your mouse problem at the house, though I only found a few droppings here and there near the entrance. However, I am sure where there is one mouse there are more, so I completely gutted our garage, and am keeping my eyes open for more droppings. None so far thankfully. We may have to do traps, though I hope not because I am completely unable to kill anything, (except mosquitos). I am still hoping this was an isolated incident.

    Can you make it really awful for your visitor by digging up the burrow repeatedly so that it just gives up and moves somewhere more hospitable? Do you have a cat? I am sorry I don't have much experience of things like this, but I am sending unwelcoming thoughts in it's direction and hope that may help. :)

    Oh and the yoghurt looks delish!

  3. Hi Judy,
    Sorry you have a groundhog. If you can't shoot it, I don't know HOW you could get rid of it.

    Stop by my blog-I have an award for you.


  4. Ack, oh no! One more thing that you *don't* need just now (or ever, actually)... No suggestions, but I agree with you that there has to be some less slow-and-cruel way to solve the problem. I'd have thought about animal control as the first resort too. If the animal isn't damaging something.... so people have to wait until the damage is already done to head off the problem? Sigh.

    Happier note on the yoghurt! It sounds like the yoghurt we have here from our local dairy - because it doesn't have the stabilizers, it separates/liquifies a bit, but everyone who tries it finds the taste to be like none other, and can't stop eating it! Glad you have another local product to enjoy :-)

  5. Judy, I agree with you on the not-so-violent approach, you don't need the local police showing up for the firearms charge, lol! Other than trapping it, maybe just try making it a horrible place to live? I would clean it up and put a windchime or something there? I have even heard of playing a tape of a cat or dog barking near the hole. Wish I was closer, you could borrow my dog and it would be gone in about 10 minutes! One of my dogs looks like an Australian Shepherd, but that's where the similarity ends...she is half Jack she incessantly listens to the ground and digs up moles, voles, etc and brings them to me, yuck! Not behavior typical of the usual Aussie Farm Dog, lol! We invented a new breed : The Outback Jack...! Good Luck, and if you have a friend with any kind of young terrier, have them over for dinner!

  6. Stick your garden hose in the gopher den and flood it out. Once out, you can put a brick or something over the top to prevent it from getting back in until it dries out and you can fill in the hole.

    I used to stop at Kalona for cheese curds but now there is a new cheese store about four miles from the farm and right on my way. In fact, it just won a first place national award for best hard cheddar cheese last month with their Prairie Breeze cheese. Dang it is good!

  7. Can you get some rat poison and put down in the hole? Then again, that might stink for a few days, but it would be permanently gone....

    That yogurt looks yummy!

  8. Please don't kill it - I agree w/all who suggest "encouraging" it to move by disturbing it's new home. It's best to try to live with wildlife, I believe, than to annhilate it, whenever possible.

  9. Judy-Ask your Animal Control if they rent live traps. Once trapped you can move it somewhere else (hopefully not by someone else's house, LOL!!!) Someone I read was trapping their groundhogs (I can't remember offhand, but I'll find it).

    I love that kind of yogurt. I used to only be able to eat flavored yogurt until I started making my own in teh crockpot. Now I love it plain or with just a tiny bit of jam, honey or maple syrup.

    What a great small business (and add-on value agricultural product!)

  10. Thanks for all the support. I do think maybe we've won, though. It's been almost 48 hours and our unwelcome boarder hasn't redug the burrow we filled in. So maybe messing up it's habitat was enough, especially since it was a new burrow.
    Time will tell.

  11. I seem to always be late on seeing these posts. Incidentally though I do know that Bubble gum does not work! *guilty grin* we tried it will all our rotten prarie dogs...still there.

  12. that is so cool about the yogurt! i've eaten that brand lately, too, out in kansas. they are very reasonably priced for being organic (WAY cheaper than stonyfield). i have to admit i'm used to very processed yogurt, so the liquidy texture you mentioned and the cream top threw me off. but i'm in the process of adjusting to unflavored and less processed yogurts. sometime soon i'd like to transition to goat dairy and one day have my own dairy goat(s).


Glad you stopped in. I would love to hear from you.