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Friday, February 11, 2005

April Saw the FIRST Groundhog of the Year!

I know that Groundhog Day is traditionally the day we all see a groundhog, but that's all staged nonsense. I'm talking about random groundhog sightings in the wild, here. Well, as wild as the suburbs of Chicago can get I imagine.

We have a mall here just a short drive from our home, that we call The Groundhog Mall. We call it this because in the surrounding out-lots along the perimeter of the mall are many, MANY groundhogs roaming free. My brother and I even went out there over the course of a couple of days to capture as many little whistlepigs on video as we could. Very cool!

Get Off My Lawn!
(Still Shot from our Stupid Video Trips)

During the spring, summer, & fall months April and I like to go for short drives and see how many groundhogs are about. We keep track of how many we see in one pass through the lot and last year we saw close to 20 of them. The Groundhog Mall is one of our favorite little amenities of the area.

We also keep track of when we see out first and last groundhog of the year. Normally around here we don't see any so early in February because the temperature is still so cold, the groundhogs are still hibernating. It has been unseasonably warm around here for a few weeks and the ground below has risen in temperature. Hence, our first groundhog sighting of the year!

I'm sure this makes no sense to most of you. April loves these furry little critters and it makes her happy to see them frolicking around, especially in a place so commercial and populated like a shopping mall. We like to go on nature hikes, zoos, and the like just to see animals. Seeing them in the wild is always more fun somehow. Having our own little place where we can see free-range groundhogs at will is always big silly fun for us.

Of course now one chunk of the land has finally been sold to a new tenant and a big portion of our groundhog spotting territory will be lost to commerce. We knew this would happen, but it doesn't make it any less disappointing. There's still lots of good places to see these guys, but it will not be the same. With hope, not too many of the little guys will be harmed during construction. I have to tell April that the groundhogs are aware of the oncoming building and are relocating as we speak. Ah well. At least we had two full years filled with fun at The Groundhog Mall.


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