…..altho that was not part of today’s plan! I was going to cut some quince and forsythia to force some early blooms indoors. There are two beautiful quince bushes by the old house that is slated to be burned in a few weeks. I also discovered the daffodils are poking thru, along the perimeter of the house. I guess I will have to get out there with my shovel and see if I can salvage any and replant them near our new house. Hopefully, this can be done without destroying this year’s potential blooms!

While cutting the branches, I could hear the river. Might as well go check it out, to see what it is doing after last night’s rains. Altho narrow,the Shoemaker River is high and fast moving, with little riverlets flowing from our house, along the dirt road and into the mother river.

As I made my way to the river’s edge, I came across an old “friend”, of sorts! Last year, while I was walking one of my dogs on the old road to the river, a feeble groundhog crossed the road in front of us, and even approached us, instead of running. The dog and I backed off, and later my husband went in search of the little guy, thinking he probably was ill, by his reaction to us earlier. He was unable to find him, and as time went on, I assumed that the little groundhog did not survive the winter. Well!! As I walked to the river today, sans dogs, I heard a rustling in the woods – and looked up to see what I think is the same old woodchuck, in the same spot – sitting on a log, and not in any big hurry to get away from this human!!

The other groundhogs we have come across are fast as can be and disappear at the first sound of us. Not this guy. He had a thick coat of winter fur, a little rumpled, giving him that disgruntled look of a grumpy old man. He turned his back on me when I spoke, and slowly got off his log and made his way up the embankment to his den. On previous trips thru the woods – I had discovered several holes right in the area he was heading, so I knew where he lived. This is an area where I thought about setting up a bench and easel, a great spot to write, think , paint or read. I may have to rethink that idea, since this area is already spoken for!!

Anyway, I continued on down to the river. The water is clear and cold and moving!!! It’s not very deep, even on a good day the sections near us might get to just above waist deep in sections. But it was clearly deep enough to prevent the neighbors on the other side from cutting across to “our” old dirt road. This has been the custom for generations, long before we ever knew this area existed. There are not alot of neighbors on the other side, so this does not create a heavy traffic problem by any means. When the river is low, it is a very convenient means to get to the main road and save time- made easier by a 4 wheel drive.

The ducks who hang out on the river were not there today, altho they may have been, but would have been swept on a roller coaster ride downstream! I headed back to the house, and passed the blase’ groundhog’s homebase – he was still there!! Altho, when I spoke, he turned his back on me, letting me know his interest in me was FAR less than mine in him! As usual, I did not have my camera with me – you’d think I would have learned by now- that is when the good picture opportunities present themselves!!!

I think I will neglect to tell my husband about this particular groundhog sighting. His existance does not affect me in any way. He is too far away to devour my garden- his holes will not cause my horses to break a leg, and my dogs can’t get to him. He has survived another winter, and as long as he can, he should continue to do so. After all, he was here first!!!