Sunday, August 10, 2014
At this time of year lush plant growth has created hiding places all around the garden. Just recently, Becky was startled when a deer burst from this area. Apparently the deer had spent the night secluded near the anise scent of sweet cicley. This new pile of subsoil was our first indication that we had another visitor. A woodchuck was building its new home along and under my first stone wall built here.
This is actually the second entrance to the new burrow. The first was in the corner with a hidden tunnel running underground at wall's edge. That entrance was filled and the tunnel flattened. This new entrance was opened the following day. Mixing my prime dark carefully prepared garden soil with the nasty yellow subsoil was one of many issues with the new tenant. What is holding in place the undermined wall stone is a bit of a mystery. We tried to pack the soil into the hole to firm up the support of the hanging stone.
A probe of the tunnel with a board revealed the nearly three foot length of the hole. Packing the fill under the wall needed to be done. Thinking that my previous closure had trapped the woodchuck inside, water was brought to the scene to try and force the tenant out.
Water is now running into the hole and a dispatch tool is ready for use. Considerable time was needed to fill the hole with water. The hole was large and our soil does not retain water. No woodchuck was driven from the hole so no shots were fired.
Applied science returned nearly all of of the excavated dirt to the hole. Anyone that has ever dug a hole knows that all of the removed dirt never goes back into the ground. There is always a pile of dirt left over. Water completely changes the physical behavior of dirt. Plastic and pack-able, it was driven back into the hole. Our hope is that no large voids remain under the wall. Burrowing animals are one cause of slumps that form in old stone walls. Over time the wall settles into the hole created by a woodchuck. We hope that our application of a cement of sorts will prevent this unfortunate action from occurring here. We also hope the this animal has learned that its home here will come with a high cost and that it simply moves on. We are on alert and watching!