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Way Downstream …(Nov. 14-20, 2019)

Trick or Treat! says groundhog aka whistle pig

      Groundhogs must have identity crises, given that they also are known as woodchucks (even though they have nothing to do with wood, or chucking.)

         They are known, too, as whistle pigs, a term some folks associate with Whistle Pig whisky, a brand of 15-year-old rye.

         At dusk on a recent evening, a time when creatures in our midst get hungry, terminology became clear.

         The rodent in question is big, 15 to 20 pounds, perhaps attributable to its fall diet of two entire lettuce crops, green-tomato salsa and every curly kale plant in sight (including six unplanted.)

         Yet it was unclear who was eating our pumpkin, given the thoroughly disreputable array of squirrels who also inhabit our small swath of Chesapeake world. (Their breaking-and-entry felonies are known to the Bay Weekly faithful.)

         All was revealed when a shrill tooting — a sound between a ref’s whistle and toddler shrieks — echoed through the neighborhood.

         From my perch, I witnessed a fur blob whistling as it waddled, for in fast pursuit was a feral feline who also dines hereabouts, a tuxedo boy who answers to Boots.

         Encounters in the semi-wild usually go unnoticed, but in this case a victim lay behind: a gnawed pumpkin that had performed only light duty and still held the promise of pie.

         We’d hope to end this Downstream with a hero cat lapping half-and-half. Unfortunately, the whistle pig returned the next day for pumpkin lunch.