Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, June 22, 2013

♫ ♪ “Yes, we have Trouble; Right here in River City”♪ ♫

“And it begins with “T” and rhymes with “P”, and that stands for Pool!”  Do you remember that song from “The Music Man”?  In the movie, Robert Preston came to town to save River City from evil by organizing a band with “76 Trombones!”.  Well, we’ve got trouble here in the Volunteer Village, but there is no band and I couldn’t find  anyway of rhyming “T” with “W”… which stands for Woodchuck.  I suppose I could get out my fipple flute and play it, but I don’t think it would help.

IMG_3477Woodchucks (also known as groundhogs or whistle pigs) are members of the squirrel family, and build extensive tunnels to hibernate in and give birth.  This particular female had a litter under the bunkhouse several weeks ago.  Now, she and her young are out and about the Volunteer Village.


So, what’s the trouble with that you ask?  Well, two things.  First, since moving out of the den, the little family has decided to take up residence each evening underneath and inside Steve’s rig.  Actually, they’ve found someway to get under his bed down below, and manage to wake him up in the middle of the night with their jumbling around.  RVers often have to deal with mice, stink bugs, wasps, pack rats, and those awful Chinese beetles, but woodchucks?  First time I’ve heard of that!


Secondly, they drive Emma absolutely nuts!  Momma and kids munch away on the clover just feet away from the limit of Emma’s tie out.  Bark, bark, bark, bark!  Ugh!  At least I don’t have them living in my rig.  Disappointed smile

Just this morning, Rick’s blog taught me how to add these “speech bubbles” to my photos using Picasa after I had asked him how he did it in a recent post about his new grandson, Mason.  So, I had to try it out.  Long time readers may recall that now and then I slip into an anthropomorphic bent with my wildlife pics.  To me, sometimes these photos just beg for a subtitle, and now I can use these bubbles instead.  I’ll try not to get too carried away with this.  Flirt male

Later in the morning, I picked up Rachel and we headed out to scout the route for the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS); not to be confused with the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas that I’ve been working on.  The BBS is a national survey that I’ll be giving you the details on later this week when I do it.  It’s a very regimented survey that is 25 miles long on a specific route that is used year after year.  I did 13 years of the BBS in southern Minnesota before I retired and hit the road.

IMG_3504The specified route on the refuge uses some of the same roads I use for the atlas work.  I wanted to scout the route today, after the big storm on Thursday, to make sure all roads were passable.  We drove past the big beaver lodge on the Egg Lake Trail once again.


           Only today, we actually got to see some beavers.  There were three of them that we spotted.


As we approached the levy, all three of them smacked their tails on the water and dove down.  I’ve read about that tail smacking alarm, but never witnessed it before.  Cool beans!  Another first for me.

It was a good thing we checked the route today, as two trees had been blown down across our path.  One was old and rotted, so it was easy to remove in chunks.  The other posed a bit of a challenge, but young Rachel became Wonder Woman, and gruntingly hauled it out of the way.  I also learned how to use four wheel drive on the truck to power ourselves through a couple of very wet and mucky sections where we were fishtailing around in the muck and mire.


We saw quite a bit more on our scouting drive, but I’ll save that for the next post.  The above photo is just a preview.  Happy summer solstice (a day late) to you all!


                                                                              THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy


  1. Okay, ghoggies IN a rig? Oh dearie me! I wonder how much sleep I'll get tonight thinking about that . . .

  2. Cool beans on your speech bubble, Judy.

    Nice pics of the Beavers, they are hard guys to spot most times.

  3. That lady slipper is beautiful! Okay, the yellow is still my favorite, but the Showy is gorgeous! Have to say I was surprised that you'd never heard that SMACK of a beaver slapping the water before. Really happy that you heard that indignant "in your face" sound... quite expressive, isn't it? I'm loving your summer... sure hope you are as well!

  4. ya did good on the speech bubble. . .I watched the same video you did, so now I know how it works also. . .thanks Rick!

    Not a good deal about the woodchucks. . .seriously. . .under the bed. . .aii yaii yaiii. . .

    ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing Blog

  5. I never knew that a woodchuck is also known as groundhog. Our groundhogs around here are huge.

    Cool photos of the beavers.

  6. I'm loving your summer too! Great photos! Ooh...four wheel drive. Sounds like fun to ride in the mud!

  7. Great pictures! Just love that showy ladyslipper. You are the lucky one. Now groundhogs, not so much. The speech bubble is great. Poor Emma!

  8. The only downside to being out in the woods is the multitude of rodents, and I detest rodents, even the easter bunny!

    I drove a Jeep Grand Cherokee for a number of years with 4 wheel drive, and of course my Ford F-350 - never had either of them in 4WD. My grandson inadvertently (or on purpose) put the Ford into 4WD when he was sitting in the driver's seat pretending, but all I did was switch it off. I try to stay off roads that need it.

  9. Our neighbor has a mother woodchuck with her young living under his shed. We now are experiencing early morning visits from the red fox. I think nature is taking care of over population!!

  10. Great post. I personally love it when you anthropomorphize!! Beautiful ladyslipper too.

  11. nice speech bubbles:) I guess I will not mention how we dealt with with woodchucks when I was a kid on the farm.

  12. I love to "fiddle" with photos - great use of the speech bubble. There's another fun free photo program that you might like to try called Photo Scape. (It has speech bubbles too!)


  13. thumbs up om speech bubble. have no love of those ghogs. has eaten more of my flower bulbs than I care to mention. bunnies here used to do the same thing to my old dog Duke, they'd peacefully munch away a foot from end of his tether. animals are dumb and sometimes I think they have a warped sense of humor

  14. I see you put Rick's instructions to good use. I sure hope the woodchucks move on soon ... like Donna says, animals aren't dumb and prove it frequently ;-)

  15. Don't think I'd want a run-in with one of those groundhogs. Not sure what damage they might do, but I don't think I want to find out. Cool pictures.

  16. I think I'd have to resort to drastic measures if they were under my bed!

  17. We got mice under the bed in our Phaeton. I theorized they were following the plumbing. Those beavers built quite an impressive dam.

  18. Groundhogs under our garage threaten the foundation. Sigh. And last year they ate all the green bean plants in the garden. But it is true they are not under my bed. Good luck with them! Love the flower and the beavers and the birds and and and and and....

  19. Oh Judy, you beat me to the punch with that Lady's Slipper of the Queen!!! Aren't they beautiful? I will be showing our big group of them in my next blog.

  20. Neat beavers...I have seen the beaver damns but
    not the beavers...and looks like Maggie will be
    using a few bubbles...to get her message across!

  21. Boy that's a new one...woodchucks in an RV. I guess it wouldn't be too bad if they brought a supply of firewood with them... ;c)

    Nice to see that Mother Nature still has surprises and new experiences for you. I've heard of the beaver tail slap, but I've never heard it. Of course it would probably help if I got a chance to see a beaver, haven't seen one in person (yet).

  22. Hi Judy,
    Just checking up on my favorite blogs after a vacation in Maine. Read about your computer drive problems. Maybe it's time for you to use cloud storage for all those beautiful pictures. Cheap and safe.

  23. I've always called them groundhogs. Seven year old granddaughter reminded me this weekend they are also called woodchucks. I never heard them called Whistle Pigs. Whatever they are called, they are becoming nuisances all over the country. At daughters where we are currently, they are EVERYWHERE. Under every out building. Huge tunnels under the stable where we used to stable our horses when the house was ours.

    Prolific little buggers, aren't they.

  24. I think this was one of your best posts, and that WAY over the top. So... what are the missing predators that eat woodchucks? The other day, I looked out my bedroom window to see something sitting along the driveway. I grabbed my binoculars in time to see a big female red-tailed hawk pick up a Colombian ground squirrel and fly off. Either that squirrel or some others watching let out their piercing alarm whistle.

    A few nights later, my bunkhouse mate had a bobcat looking in his bedroom window at him. They love ground squirrels also.

  25. Good grief! A tiny mouse in my house is bad enough, but a groundhog??? I wonder what kind of damage they might be doing under his bed. I still haven't gone under my motor home to plug holes where the mice have gotten in, but will soon, with the help of a friend. Maybe Steve should so the same thing. There must be an opening pretty big for a critter that size to fit through it.