We've got tenants.
At least, that's my cheery, Snoopy-esque view of it. [ Oh, I should've found the Peanuts where he gets his tenants and linked to it. Ah well. ] One morning I walked out the front door and found a lot of dirt on the sidewalk, including a small mound partly burying the watering can. There was a good-sized hole, flush against the side of the house. The burrowing creature showed a touch of art, too: the hole was dug underneath an empty bowl, with the bowl's edges resting on the side of the house and a potted plant, so it had a loose, elevated position, like a 60s public performance space's ceiling.
Coming back from yoga a couple days later I saw what dug it: a groundhog. It's a smaller model one, about rabbit-sized (my guess about the burrow-digger was a rabbit), and was at least as startled to see me as I was to see it. It darted for the hole faster than I figured on groundhogs moving.
My father tried simply filling in the hole, but the groundhog re-excavated it. He tried again and the groundhog was not to be deterred. By the fifth time my sister-in-law was pointing out the county will lend humane traps for relocating the animal. I was delighted with the determination of nature to make a home in a decent enough spot. My father's current strategy is putting pavement tiles over the hole so as to force the groundhog to try again a foot or two down the way.
We shall see who comes out ahead.
Trivia: Animator Walter Lantz studied, and played with, the giant panda Su-Lin in Chicago's Brookfield Zoo, in the late 1930s, a visit recorded by Universal newsreels. During playing the panda swiped his $200 cashmere coat. Lantz used the study to create Andy Panda. Source: The Walter Lantz Story, Joe Adamson.
Currently Reading: Good Girls, Good Food, Good Fun: The Story Of USO Hostesses During World War II, Meghan K Winchell. It's more academic than I figured, so while there are segments of interviews from USO hostesses, there's not that pesky narrative to give guidance to people who know the USO mostly from old time radio references.