October 3 – How much wood would a woodchuck chuck?

Wednesday when I got home I got most of the truck unpacked.  Stacey and I went out to dinner.  Thursday I mostly unpacked all the boxes and bags that I had transferred into the house.  I got the motorcycle unloaded and stowed in the boat house.  It wouldn’t start though.  Friday I went in to the office.  I unloaded the truck there too, and actually got a lot of stuff stowed away before our division meeting.  After that I went through my pile of mail.  There was surprisingly little of importance.  I went to the pet store to get mice and crickets, then on to the cell phone place.  I waited forever for the technician, only to have him tell me they don’t do repairs on moisture damage.  I only had a little of the Pacific Ocean in there.  I had put the phone in my dehydrator for two days.  Everything worked except the display.  And now it was a worthless piece of crap.  Great.  My only good fortune was that he had a used one (41 seconds of talk time used) of the same model–third generation Razr.  So I ponied up the dough and bought it.  We took Lowell out for dinner in honor of his birthday (a day early). 

Saturday morning Stacey and I went to the Barry Apple Festival.  It was fairly cold, low 50s, but we were ready for that.  We were not ready for how small and relatively uninteresting it was.  We drove an hour to get there and only spent about 30 minutes.  We bought a funnel cake and left.  I took a brief nap and dove in to the yard work.  I covered all the wood piles with plastic or tarps.  I secured them reasonably well, but only the next wind storm will tell me where the weak points are.  In the process, I found that there were actually three woodchuck burrows around the house.  Great.  He has a network.  I picked up the fallen sticks in the yard and collected all the pine cones for tinder.  I set up the live trap on the back porch, as I had brought it back from my lab.  I potted up some of the plants I’d brought from Arizona.  While pulling out pots, I was stung by a paper wasp.  What a treat!

In the morning I found I’d caught a small opossum in the live trap, not the targeted woodchuck.  I took it, and a small collection of sticks, to the brush dump.  I took some photos after I turned him loose.  I picked up some bricks and a good natural stone while I was there.  I drove along the riverfront and found they had paved the road through the campground and redid a culvert by the launch ramp.  Also, they’re adding on to the tire shop downtown.  I went to QU for lunch with the Board of Trustees, which I’ve not done before.  It was interesting, but not a big deal.  I met a couple of the trustees.  I went to my office and dropped off some of the plants.  From there I went straight to Lowell’s.  He was out mowing, so I changed into hunting clothes.  I drove his Mule out to find him, and we went fishing.  I caught two bass total on a slug-go, and lost many more.  Lowell caught three nice crappie, a couple of bluegill and a good bass.  I went out and sat in a treestand.  There was a big covey of quail when I got there.  That’s a good sign.  I saw almost nothing but squirrels all night.  Just after sunset I did see a deer running through the field on the other side of the fence.  When I quit and walked in I got a shot at a cottontail by Lowell’s shed, but it was a clean miss.  Lowell showed me his new hot tub, all nicely enclosed by a greenhouse and equipped with a 4-speaker stereo.  Nice.  It looked very inviting, but I was more hungry than cold.  I got home just in time for Stacey’s hamburgers.  Perfect!

There was nothing in the trap in the morning, but later I saw the woodchuck in the back yard.  I stuck the BB gun out the sliding glass door and fired, but it sounded like there was no BB in it.  The woodchuck ran back toward the burrow, but didn’t go down.  I reloaded while he moved out into the weeds again.  He couldn’t have been more than 6 feet away when I shot him in the back of the head.  He emitted a squealing grunt and ran down the hole.  I put a few shovels full of dirt in the entrance.  I’ll know he’s still alive if he digs out.  I did lots of odd jobs around the house, including book keeping.  After the afternoon nap I went to practice shooting my bow in the back yard.  My accuracy went up quite a bit in just two practice sessions.  I notice that there were some butterflies feeding on the fallen crab apples.  I got out the camera with the long lens and monopod.  While I was out shooting away my neighbor came out.  We talked about butterflies and various things.  She asked if I had seen the “critter” running around our back yards.  I said, yes, I’d seen the woodchuck.  I never mentioned that I had just shot it, as she seemed to think it was cute.  I guess he’s been eating the crab apples. 
I took Savannah down to give blood.  I knew I wouldn’t qualify because of my trip to Ecuador.  Savannah came back all in a huff because she was rejected.  It seems they’ve changed their criteria again.  At her height, they need her to be 15 pounds heavier.  She’s definitely not interested in gaining 15 pounds.

Photos to accompany this week’s entry are located here:

I have found that this is a much easier way to provide the images, as uploading directly to the blog is really quite tedious.

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