Groundhog Stew | A Beginners Guide

Trying to decide what to make for dinner after a long day can be a daunting task. I’ve been thinking about trying a new take on one of my favorite meals- Beef Stew. You’ve probably heard of Rabbit Stew, Possum Stew and maybe even Roadkill Stew, but have you heard about Groundhog Stew? Come and listen to a story ’bout a groundhog named Ted…

Our resident groundhog.
Our resident groundhog. (Photo- Karen Hance)

It would seem that we have a new visitor to our bird feeders- an unwelcome guest of sorts. He eats the fallen bird seed from the ground and for the most part minds his own business while doing so. EXCEPT…..

Our groundhog loves to snack on the bird seed below our feeder.
Our groundhog loves to snack on the bird seed below our feeder. (Photo- Karen Hance)

Except when he’s being unruly and naughty, eating my flowers and vegetables. I take great pride in my gardens, and this year, for the first time in 8 years, they have been almost completely destroyed. Things that have never been eaten before, like Marigolds, Black-Eyed Susans, Purple Coneflower, Zinnias and Lantana have been eaten down to the ground. My beans have been completely devoured, the stalks on my onions have been eaten as well as parts of my pumpkin plants. My corn was even trampled and knocked down.

He ate the Purple Coneflower, sometimes just biting them off and leaving them laying on the ground.
He ate the Purple Coneflower, sometimes just biting them off and leaving them laying on the ground. (Photo- Karen Hance)
My beans were almost completely eaten to the ground.
My beans were almost completely eaten to the ground. (Photo-Karen Hance)
He trampled my corn and knocked quite a bit of it over.
He trampled my corn and knocked quite a bit of it over. (Photo- Karen Hance)

Who is this nasty little guest? It’s a groundhog and he is new to the yard. He had done a good job of hiding all summer, up until this week, when he finally made his presence known. Prior to his cover finally being blown, I thought it was a bunny eating everything, even though they’ve never done this kind of damage before. My neighbors probably thought I had lost it as I was chasing the bunny through the yard, all the while threatening to skin it if I caught it, yelling at him to get out of my gardens and never come back. I was quite a sight.

The poor little bunny I wrongly accused of eating my plants.
The poor little bunny I wrongly accused of eating my plants. (Photo- Karen Hance)

Now that the “cat is out of the bag”, or in this case the groundhog, it all makes perfect sense. Only a hungry groundhog could do the amount of damage that my yard sustained this year. His latest feat was to dig a big hole in the backyard near the deck. He has to go!

A lovely hole he dug in my yard.
A lovely hole he dug in my yard. (Photo- Karen Hance)

Now don’t get me wrong, he is as cute as a button. If he would just stick to the bird seed, I wouldn’t have a problem with him and he could stay. While photographing him one day, he got spooked and took off, rounded the back of the garage, squeezed under a fence, past and old grill and under a pile of firewood. He was about to come out from under the firewood when he saw me standing just three feet away. He froze for a brief moment, and then disappeared under the firewood- his bad, because now I know where the entrance to his home is.

Surprise! His home is under this firewood.
Surprise! His home is under this firewood. (Photo- Karen Hance)

And this is where the Groundhog Stew comes in… You’ll need a big kettle and one pesky groundhog. You’ll need to ask your neighbors for some vegetables for your stew, because you don’t have any- the groundhog ate them all! Be sure to set a pretty table for your dinner guests with a centerpiece of beautiful flowers. Again, you’ll need to get these from your neighbors because you don’t have any of those either- the groundhog ate those too! If he ate your neighbor’s flowers as well, you can always pick some pretty wildflowers from the roadside- many people call them weeds, but I think they’re beautiful.

Hopefully won't be seeing the likes of him around the yard anymore.
Hopefully won’t be seeing the likes of him around the yard anymore. (Photo- Karen Hance)

In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to eat him- I’m an extremely fussy eater and I’m not a fan of trying new foods (lucky for Ted). Now that we’ve found the entrance to his home, we filled it in with stones and dirt, in hopes that he will move on down the street and annoy someone else. I could never harm him in any way, he’s much too cute. I’m a big fan of wildlife in my yard, as long as they are not eating the fruits of my labor. Our yard is visited by a large variety of birds, as well as deer, raccoons, bunnies and butterflies, it’s even been certified as a Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. I have since apologized to the bunny for ever thinking that he was responsible for the destruction of my gardens. (Easter Bunny- please take note of my apology and fill my basket with lots of chocolate next Easter.)

Our yard has been certified as a Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.
Our yard has been certified as a Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. (Photo- Karen Hance)

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my antics with the groundhog. If you like what you’re reading, please sign up to receive notices when a new post goes up and I’d be grateful if you’d share my blog with your friends and family.