A rough start to the day, and the groundhog battle begins

I am not a morning person.

I never have been.

It is not unusual for me to be up at 2 or 3 am. If it were feasible, I would sleep all day and be up all night. When I had a job working the night shift at a gas station convenience store, it was fantastic. I was awake and alert all night, and had some of the best sleep during the day, ever. At least I did when I wasn’t getting phone calls from people who knew I was working nights, but figured that since I was home during the day, that was a great time for them to call and chat. 😀

My daughters are much the same as I am. Usually, that works out. Our general routine is just shifted over. When others are having lunch, we’re having breakfast. That sort of thing.

Since I do the morning routine and the girls do the evening routine, I do try to get up earlier to make sure the outside cats have food, etc., but it’s still later than average, shall we say.

Then there are mornings like this.

I was awakened by the distinctive sounds of a cat in the basement, climbing the screen barrier between the basements. I’d found and blocked where they had been getting through, so I tried to ignore it.

Until I could hear Beep Beep in the old basement, making her distinctive beeping meow, and starting to claw at the screen at the top of the old basement steps. The screen we use to keep the cats out of the basement, while we have the door open to keep the house cool.

It was just before 6am when I dragged myself out of bed. When I got into the old basement (navigating those stairs is never a good thing!), I discovered Turmeric was in there, too! I managed to get them both out of the old basement without killing myself on the stairs, without either of them scratching the heck out of me, and without letting any of the other cats, waiting at the basement door, down, so that was a win. :-/

The next while was spent fussing about in both the old and new basements, to figure out where they were getting through. They’d managed to create an opening through my last blocking attempt, so I scrounged up something else to put across the gap.

Then, after going to the bathroom, I was going to go back to bed when I started hearing a noise. Flushing the toilet had triggered one of the pumps in the basement, which is not unusual, but this sound was something else entirely. It was a strange, high pitched, pulsing, vibrating noise.

So I unlatched the screen and hobbled back into the old basement.

It was the septic pump that had turned on, but as I walked towards it, I passed the noise.

It wasn’t coming from the pump.

It was coming from a space above the basement wall.

The old basement is very low, and even short little me can see the top of the basement walls, where the floor beams rest. On the other side of the wood is the crawl space under the old kitchen. The old kitchen is where the breaker box is. When my brother set up the laundry in the entry, he had to run new wires through this spot, and he even ran an extra set of wires, in case we ever need to install something else. It was such a pain to run the wires through, he wanted to save future hassles.

So all I’m seeing in this spot is the new wire, neatly bundled up on one side of a floor beam, and another older wire running through holes in the floor beams, and is one of the wires that powers the pumps and tanks. It doesn’t even enter the basement at this location.

Which means there is nothing in this spot that is mechanical that might be making the vibrational noise. At least, not in the basement side. But what could possibly be in the crawl space, on the other side of the wall, that could make that noise?

Whatever it was, it stopped when the septic pump turned itself off.

This is a mystery on its own, but it’s not the only one. A while back, the well pump would make grinding noises as it lost pressure. It is old and needs to be replaced, but no plumber dares work on it, because we might have a leaky foot valve, which is in the well. Replacing the pump might cause the valve to fail, and we’d lose water. The well itself is so old, if something like that did happen, we would have difficulty finding replacement parts the right size, or might have to get a new well dug. So we’re on pins and needles when it comes to this pump. Oddly, since we’ve made the effort to never open the taps in the bath tub to full pressure, which was emptying the pressure tank faster than the pump could refill it, the grinding noise has stopped. Even with using the hoses so much to water the garden beds, and the pump running so much more than usual, it’s been fine.

However, when we were still figuring out what was going on with the pump, one of the distinctive things was that, before the well pump turned on and started making the grinding noise, I would first hear a sproinging noise. It was loud enough I could hear it from my office/bedroom, but by the time I got into the basement, the pump would be running and the noise was gone. Then, I happened to be in the basement before the well pump turned on one time. I heard the sproinging noise, and it was not coming from the pump. It was coming from the same place I heard the vibrational noise, this morning.

There is something behind the basement all at this spot, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is. When the old kitchen was added on to the house, it had neither electricity nor running water. The only thing that should be there is electrical wires, and there is no reason for wires to make sproinging or pulsating vibrational noises!

I have emailed my brother to ask him. He’s the only living person who would have any idea what’s under there.

By the time all that was done, there was no point in my trying to go back to bed, so I went out to do my morning rounds early.

I am somewhat encouraged.

The beet bed that was decimated yesterday actually looks better. A few beets still have their leaves and, after the evening watering, they have perked up again. There was no new damage.

I also have some hope for the carrots, too. The tallest fronds may have all been eaten, but they still had a lot of growing to do, so there are still new fronds coming up. We may end up with more spindly carrots, but I think we might still have a chance with them. The next few days will tell us, one way or the other.

We are still left with the groundhog to deal with.

This is how things got left, last night. About half the pile was pulled to one side, and once water started running into the den, the groundhog came out and hid in the remaining branches. I never saw it this morning, but as I approached the den, I heard it scramble away from the opening.

Those branches had to go!

I’ll have go come back with the weed trimmer to clean this up more.

Some of the dirt from digging the den had partially buried some branches, so moving them knocked some dirt and rocks into the opening.

I don’t know if the groundhog ran off while I was hauling branches away. I saw and heard nothing, though.

Once the branches were cleared away, I brought the hose over and started to spray into the opening, pausing every now and then to give the groundhog a chance to run out. It never did, so perhaps it had already left.

In looking up how to get rid of a groundhog, flooding the den was one of the recommended methods. It was also suggested to do it in July or August, in case the groundhog was pregnant or had a litter. That was something that had occurred to me. We’re only seeing the one groundhog at this den, but it’s entirely possible it’s a mama with some babies down there.

With that in mind, we will be taking our time in driving it away from this den, so that it can find another location for a den and, if there are any, move its babies out.

Once we are sure it’s been driven out, we will block the opening and level out the pile of soil it made.

Hopefully, the critter will move on, and we will not have to take more drastic measure. :_/

As for me, this broken and battered body of mine is giving out. Time to lie down and, hopefully, get some sleep!

The Re-Farmer

3 thoughts on “A rough start to the day, and the groundhog battle begins

    • I just got a response from him, and he suggested the pipes, too. I’d thought of that and touched them, and they were not vibrating. The noise was definitely coming from above them, too.

      He asked for another photo, but he did at that there are no motors of any kind back there. Even the wires run down a wall in the old kitchen, before coming through to the crawl space at the basement.

      Liked by 1 person

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