This explains what had the dog all worked up! Our new friend was more interested in eating dandelion stalks around the chicken coop than munching my tulips. He kindly posed for a few minutes so I could snap this photo through the bathroom window. My husband figures he -- or she -- likely has made a home in the nearby rock pile that was the foundation of the old house that was on this property many decades ago.
I do believe this is the first time I've seen a groundhog. We have raccoons and porcupines a plenty, and finally a chipmunk, but this guy is new. My dad once had a pet groundhog -- perhaps this is a gift from him!
Later, while outside stacking wood, my husband straightened up just in time to see a young male bear walk out of the clearcut onto the old road that runs alongside our house. This is the time of year when Mama Bear banishes the cub or cubs she gave birth to two years ago in order to mate again. Apparently, these young bears are most dangerous because they are "mad" at being being turfed out of the family; not sure if that's a human concept, being "mad". I rather think they are scared -- suddenly alone and having to fend entirely for themselves in a big world infested with humans who see them as threats. That would make me defensive and touchy, too.
So welcome! Rodents small and large will find a safe haven on our 72 acres here in Cumberland County (as long as they stay away from our chickens).