Monday, November 26, 2007

Number 16

Offering obeisances before lunch. Number 10

Rudra has now officially gotten 16 groundhogs so far this year. He is a little behind on his groundhog kills for the year. Last year he got 20 and the year before he also got 20.

Every morning Rudra goes with me to the barn to help with the cows. He likes to hunt for mice, or any other animal that dares to come into the cows’ home without an invitation. Also he likes to make a nest in the hay and take a nap. Sometimes though he gets bored and goes back to parents’ house to nap on the sunny yard. Yesterday he hung out with me the whole time playing in the hay and dozing.

After Rudra and I finish taking care of the cows’ yesterday morning, we started walking back to parents’ house. When we got as far as the hay barn Rudra all of a sudden took off running towards the old woodpile and the black walnut trees. As I rounded the corner I saw him with a good size groundhog in his mouth which he was shaking very hard. He then ran to the house with the groundhog in his mouth. It was still alive. Sometimes the groundhogs die from fright by the time he gets home. That may have been the case, because by the time I got to the house it was dead and there was no blood.

Now we have this funny little thing we do after Rudra has gotten a pest (groundhogs will destroy your entire garden). He really loves it when we do it. We stand there and clap our hands and tell him he is such a good boy. He really likes it when everyone does it. You are supposed to do it at least three times on the day of the catch. If you don’t do it he makes sure to bring the dead groundhog to your attention when you come out of the house.

The next stage can go a couple of ways. Number one is that he immediately starts to eat the groundhog. Two is he lets it sit there for a couple of days and then he eats stewed ground hog. This is not bad in the winter time when it is cold since it does not smell much, but it is terrible in the summertime. The third way is interesting; he buries it, and lets it ferment for a week or two. Then he digs it up and has pickled groundhog. Rudra eats almost the whole groundhog every single time. That is unless we have to get rid of it because it smells so bad before he eats it.

He is a good dog, he eats everything he catches. No waste.

Submitted by Lakshmi Devi


love said...

I realize you do a lot for animal protection, but shouldn't this include wildlife, too?

While I enjoy reading of your realationship with your domestic animals and vegetarian lifestyle, I have been consistently dismayed by the attitude of pride and celebration at the deaths of wild animals, who also suffer and play a role in our fragile ecosystems. This has made me hesitant to support ISCOWP to the fullest extent.

Wouldn't raising money to build a fence that would permanently solve this problem be a better solution? A groundhog-proof fence (there are many plans on the Net) would both protect your crops and ensure fewer lives lost. I would be pleased to contribute to such a fund if it would mean a decrease in the number of animals killed.

Lakshmi said...

Dear Love,

Thank you for your letter.

We are different then most farmers and gardeners. Most of them will shoot, poison or have death traps set up to destroy the groundhogs. Also in the pastures the groundhogs set up their homes which are deep tunnels and holes/burrows. There can be a major problem there, because a cow or any other animal like a deer could break a leg. Usually for a cow, horse, or deer this would be a death sentence. Again, usually farmers put poison down the holes or shoot down the holes, etc. to kill the groundhogs.

We have 165 acres so there is still the problem of the groundhogs in the pastures if the fence that we are trying to build around the garden proves to be successful in keeping the groundhogs out of the garden. At one time we did try trapping them and releasing them far away but then new ones moved into the holes/burrows.

So much of life on the land consists of the hunted and the hunters, the dominated and the dominators. You see this relationship even in the tiniest creatures. One is eating the other to live. Even amongst the cows there are those who lead and are the controllers and those who must follow. Even amongst humans, or should I say obviously amongst humans, there are those who dominate by all means including violence with little care for any other.

As humans, we have intruded upon the natural balance of life on the land to grow our food and in our case protect cows. We do not wish to become one with the dominated or the dominators. So instead of us becoming involved in this balance, the dog is involved fulfilling his natural propensities. We are very thankful he takes care of some of the animals that have totally destroyed our garden in the past. We live on a low income so that we can care for the cows. A productive garden saves us much at the grocery store.

We have been collecting for a deer/groundhog/rabbit fence for around the garden to help peacefully reduce the problem of wild animals destroying the garden. The fence will be dug into the ground about a foot to help prevent the groundhogs and rabbits from entering the garden. We have not yet collected all the funds needed. Here is the link for the project progress report and how one can donate to the project.!.htm

I doubt the fence will allow Rudra to retire but it might make his life a lot less stressful. When we collect enough funds to build the fence we will find out how it will affect Rudra’s life.

We are always open to any suggestions and help in achieving those suggestions.