A Smart Little Cookie

A year and a half ago I began to introduce my youngest granddaughter, then three and a half to the outside world. At the same time her parents moved from their starter home with no yard to speak of to one with a large open property visited regularly with many wild animals.

One animal I have plenty of here but she doesn’t see at her home is the groundhog.  We sit and watch two of them playing from the living room regularly.  They love to walk up the steps of my neighbors house and sit on their porch but will also chase each other around in the grass.

groundhog signs

One morning as I was opening the living room curtains I spotted this.

My granddaughter would be visiting that day and I couldn’t wait to show her the holes in the grass the groundhogs made.  While we had watched the groundhogs at play for months we hadn’t had a conversation yet about where they live or that they dig holes. The older grandchildren know this as we had a groundhog living at the apartment.  I showed them the entrance and exit holes and we watched him (her?) come and go regularly.

This day, before I had a chance to direct her attention out the window she spotted the holes in the yard and excitedly wanted me to come see what the groundhogs had done in the yard. I was stunned she was able to put her limited knowledge together and come up with the conclusion that it was the groundhogs who dug these holes.

We talked briefly about why they dug the holes then went on to other activities for the rest of her visit. I couldn’t be prouder of her for being so observant of the exciting world outside and thrilled I have the time to enjoy these little pleasures with her.  What a smart little cookie she is.



    • I don’t have a plan to keep the groundhogs out of the vegetable garden. They rarely come into the fenced part of the property and I think it’s because the trees, specifically the silver maple, have such invasive root systems there is no where for them to dig. The roots are so bad that even if I didn’t need to for mobility issues I would still have to put in raised beds to grow anything. It took quite a while to find spots for the fruit trees where they would have enough room for them to grow unimpeded by the maple’s roots.


    • I think I moved here at just the right time. Soon enough to still catch the attention of my granddaughter while she was still curious and right after the birth of my grandson so I could introduce him to nature from the beginning. Of course I didn’t realize I would have as much of an impact on my daughter-in-law and reignite her curiosity in nature. 🙂

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    • So far the neighbors haven’t but I do wonder what will happen in time. That house is for sale and is rented only until it is sold. The renters never come outside, the owner of the property even hired a lawn service to keep the grass trimmed. Of course I’m having a problem with a groundhog who decided a great place to build its den was under my one ramp. That’s fine except they always dig an exit hole for emergencies and this animal decided the base of my ramp was the perfect spot for that. So far I’ve left it alone and laid a sheet of plywood over the hole so visitors (and my chair) don’t fall into it but I have to come up with a long term solution and my groundhog may not be happy with me.


      • Yikes! That sounds like it could be dangerous! We don’t have groundhogs here… just prairie dogs, but they only live in colonies where there are big open spaces.


        • They aren’t too bad. The ones in the urban areas are pretty used to being around people so unless you try to pet them they won’t bother you. I saw prairie dogs in Arizona, we don’t have them here. The one thing about this area of Pennsylvania is that there is not a single poisonous living creature. As far as poisonous animals there are areas of the state that have rattlesnakes and recently the brown recluse spider has been spotted but that’s pretty much it. That leaves rabies as the only other concern when encountering wildlife.


    • I think you are right. The baby is now 18 months old and seems smarter than my kids were. He was here Saturday showing off that he knew the parts of his body when I decided to show him a couple his parents hadn’t taught him. I showed him his neck, elbow and knee. In our play I said the words a total of twice, when I pointed to the body part and when he pointed, a few hours later as they were getting ready to leave I was curious if he remembered any of them. He knew them all! He’s funny because he rejects baby toys too. He refuses to play with shape sorters but pulls out the connect 4 game and will fit the pieces into the game board repeatedly.

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      • arrgh a wise Old soul Lois.. I started to teach my Granddaughter when she was just around 2 the names of some trees along a hedge we walked to the allotments along.. It was easy as the leaves were different, but I didnt think she would remember them.. they were Holly and Hawthorn .. The next time we walked she pointed every bush out along the way which was the above two.. saying their names.. They are far in advance of our children at their ages.. 🙂 That I do know lol xxx


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