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Mountain Home Magazine

Chucking the Woodchuck

Aug 01, 2023 09:00AM ● By David Nowacoski

We’ve got this young woodchuck that has made himself at home under my back porch. I used to think he looked kind of cute. He would crawl up on the rock wall of the porch and stretch all out to soak in the warmth of the rocks. We’d see the startled look in his eyes when he returned home only to find us quietly sitting in our chairs. Then he’d scamper off to his favorite entrance, a hole between the rocks just at the corner of the deck.

I was okay with him being there. I never saw him in the garden or in the orchard. He’d seemed pretty content with just foraging the dandelions we let grow in our lawn.

Until this week.

This week, he made a mistake.

To appreciate the severity of this mistake, I must explain another problem I have here on the farm: our internet connection. Our internet is so slow that sometimes it forgets we are still waiting for an answer. It just leaves that little wheel spinning until we get so frustrated we close everything down and try again. For those of you who understand such things, on a good day we get 5 Mbps. Bad days are less than 1. Very hard to run an online grocery store when we can’t do anything online!

I finally gave up on my hopes that we would see faster service from our provider and purchased one of those Starlink things. I’m really not sure how it works, but supposedly when I ask for recipes that use parsnips, it beams my answer from space. It was advertised as being very, very fast.

It only took a few days to get here, and the instructions seemed simple enough. The only issue was that I had to drill a hole for the cable to run into my office from outside. That wouldn’t be too hard, until you realize that I have solid concrete walls. After a few hours of drilling a hole through concrete (and the occasional piece of steel rebar), I was ready to hook everything up.

Here is where I made one crucial error. In my excitement to see how this was going to work, I took a shortcut. Instead of immediately mounting this on my roof, I just stuck the receiver on the deck and ran the cable along the rock wall. The piece I needed for a roof mount hadn’t arrived and I wanted to try this out now.

I plugged everything in and—wow!—153 Mbps. I could search for a recipe for summer goulash and have it in front of me before I realized I spelled goulash wrong. It was so fast I was absolutely giddy.

And so it was for almost a week. But the other day I was working in the office, enjoying this feeling of immediate gratification, when it stopped. Just stopped working. I quickly checked the status on the app, and it was flashing “Offline.”

What?? No, no, no! I want my fast internet back! I looked out the office window to see if the receiver had fallen over or something.

And that is when I saw him. That cute little woodchuck was chewing on the cable I had left on his rocks. I ran outside but—too late. The damage was done.

Now this brings us to a great dietary lesson. There are things that we know we should eat and there are things that we know we shouldn’t eat. Dandelions from the lawn, for instance: good for you. Internet cable lying on the rocks? Will definitely shorten your life span.

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