In Vermont a woodchuck is either a groundhog (Marmota monax) or a derogatory term used by out-of-staters to describe a native Vermonter displaying Vermont characteristics. I will be using woodchuck in this post in the second definition.

Of course there’s some identity confusion here. I’m from Baltimore and should be using “woodchuck” to denigrate my neighbors but, truth is, I’m a woodchuck wannabe.

Like everyone in Vermont who drives to get almost anywhere, I’ve been noticing, and marveling, at the round woodpiles that are popping up on people’s front lawns.  Here’s a photo of one:

round woodpile

And here’s a website that talks about woodpiles as art.

There’s a reason why they’re in the front yard, where people can see them. They’re impressive! I’m wondering, however, whether they are in fact made by real woodchucks. A real woodchuck would put it next to the abandoned 1949 Ford tractor that rests in the weeds just outside the back door.

I am, as I said, a wannabe woodchuck. They probably won’t ever let me in to the Woodchuck Society because I haven’t accumulated the requisite abandoned farm equipment, but I’m working on other parts of my resume. I’ve been splitting wood for almost six weeks now, and am getting to the end of what can be split with an axe. A friend with a gas-powered splitter is coming on Saturday to help me with the big stuff.

This morning, in anticipation of providing access to the splitter, which gets towed into place behind a truck, I decided to stack the stuff that had accumulated on the ground into an Impressive Woodchuck’s Round Mound.

Here it is:

Woodchuck's pile

It’s to die for, don’t you think? It’s bigger than it looks, is remarkably stable in a chaotic-seeming way, and yes, that’s a beer bottle on top, because to work with wood is to provide an excuse to have a beer when you’re done.