Uh-oh, Here Comes Trouble!
If you're a gardener, this guy is trouble: Marmota monax, the ground hog or wood chuck. When he stands on his hind feet, he looks like a little man in an extremely baggy fur suit. Unfortunately, groundhogs are extremely hungry vegetarians, and this one has burrowed up right next to my garden.
Gardening is one of those pursuits that people who don't do it regard as peaceful and serene. In real life, it's full of rage and angst. No one feels as angry as a gardener who has coaxed tiny, hard seeds, like little specks of gravel, into big lush plants, and who then finds little gnawed-down nubs sticking out of the ground.
And the garden you see is never the one that was in the gardener's head. Maybe there were more flowers, maybe there were herbs, maybe there were bushel-baskets full of tomatoes in the garden in the gardener's head. The garden in real life always falls short, sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot. Some years the peppers get started late, or not at all. Some years the peppers are great but the lilacs get a mysterious disease.
The weather doesn't co-operate, the plants outgrow their alloted space or stay two inches high all season, insects descend and eat the whole planting.
Gardening is full of lessons: for one thing, unlike tests in high school, a garden does not permit "cramming". It can't be neglected for months and then suddenly be planted, watered, and poof! yield a crop overnight. Gardening, like exercising, is incremental. Poking seeds into the dirt or pulling out weeds might only take five minutes, but those five minutes must be put in within the appropriate time frame.
(And now that I'm done being philosophical, I better go put in my five minutes getting out the seeds I need to start this weekend.)