Summertime in the Hudson Valley means more than just green mountains, winding rivers, antique fairs and crickets—it also means groundhogs, also known as woodchucks.
Among famous groundhogs of the northeastern United States, most everyone already knows Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck (full name Charles G. Hogg), but I’d like to introduce you to a lesser-known celebrity groundhog: Newburgh Haggis.
First spotted by Evan in the summer of 2008, Haggis has made a very nice home for himself (herself? I’m not going to check) in our garden, devouring numerous vegetable and herb plants straight down to the root. He’s raised children under the deck, created a tunnel system to rival the NYC subway, and dutifully “relocated” (i.e. dug up and left for dead) several plants according to his own landscaping sensibilities.
In other words, he’s a member of the family. Sometimes he has friends Scarface and Fatback over, but mostly he’s a solo ‘hog. We’ve accepted the path of destruction he leaves in his wake, and we welcome his arrival every year.
Moments after the photo above was taken, the sweet potato plants pictured were reduced to tiny stumps, of course, but at least Haggis got a nice meal out of it, right? Sure, he’s trouble. But he has such a cute face.