A gardener came in love with a pig that was eating his vegetables

A gardener came in love with a pig that was eating his vegetables

When he returned from a trip a few years ago, Jeff Permar noticed that his patch of cantaloupe plants had been damaged in his Delaware garden. Permar was angry, so he placed a camera behind his house hoping to catch the culprit.

A few days later, his phone rang: The camera had detected movement. But when Permar saw the video, he couldn’t help but smile.

It showed the groundhog looking at the camera while holding and eating a cucumber.

“There was a lot of swagger,” Permar told the Washington Post. “He was looking at the camera like, ‘Yeah, I’m eating your vegetables. What are you going to do about that?’”

Permar decided to share his food. He named the groundhog Chunk in honor of the large entrails he carried with his incisors.

Soon, Permar started posting videos on the Internet of Chunk, who makes a lot of noise while eating broccoli, tomatoes and other vegetables at his favorite restaurant, facing Permar’s camera.

Chunk food clips just went live viral on social media as a wild groundhog and his ever-growing family, whom Permar calls “The Chunks,” they have built a fan base.

“Chunk, for whatever reason, really, makes people happy,” Permar, 49, said.

Permar began gardening with his family while growing up in Newark, Del. In the years 2000 and 2010, Permar maintained an organic garden in Dover, Del., growing cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, corn, cantaloupe, watermelon and squash.

“It was my treasured possession,” Permar said. “I was always making sure everything was fine.”

In October 2018, Permar moved to Middletown, Del., where he lives with his brother and two sons. He built a 30-by-40-foot garden behind his backyard shed.

Permar was in Orlando for a week in June 2019, and when he returned, he saw damage to half his cantaloupe plants. He tried several methods to keep the intruder out, including securing a garden fence, adding chicken wire and placing logs near his plants. But his appetite continued to dwindle.

So Permar removed his home security camera and placed it in his garden. He was working in his Dover office a few days later when a camera caught the action. While watching the video, Permar’s disappointment turned to compassion when he realized that the stick was just trying to survive.

“He won my heart right away,” Permar said. “And I felt bad for him.”

Permar had never encountered groundhog raiders before, and he didn’t want to kick Chunk off his property. The groundling appeared to be alive under the shed and in the pit behind the garden.

Permar tried to separate the two gardens with chicken wire so that Chunk could have his food. But Chunk ate from both gardens about three times a day. One night, Permar was buying groceries because there was not enough food in his garden for dinner.

In July 2019, another groundhog appeared on camera: Chunk’s companion, Permar, whom he nicknamed Nibbles. Permar created a YouTube channel that has already amassed 135,000 subscribers. He also posts videos on Instagram, where he currently has 580,000 followers.

The groundhogs hibernate between November and February, but in June 2020, Chunk’s family appeared to be growing again when Permar noticed that three groundhog pups joined him for dinner. Permar named them Chibbles, Chip and Nugget. That same year, Permar began selling merchandise – shirts, bags, hoodies, pillows, plushies and mugs – with pictures of Chunks.

Permar grew more food and set a small table with a blue and white cloth outside the shed, where the groundhogs ate. He also placed nine other cameras in his garden to record the chicks on the ground in any direction.

Chunk’s family continued to grow over the years, adding children named Permar Chunk Jr. and Snacks. For the most part, Permar tries to leave the groundhogs alone, but he joined them in 2021 when he saw that Snacks had developed malocclusion – a malocclusion of the teeth – and took him to the vet.

Earlier this year, Permar finally learned how to protect his plants by wrapping them in tomato cages. Now, he said his family and the underground chicks split the food equally.

“Seeing them eating and being nourished and having full bellies and all that is rewarding,” Permar said.

Permar said the groundhog family now has about 20 members, so he had to find ways to separate them. In time, he learned that Chunk is the brawniest, Chunk Jr.’s right ear is bent and Chip has a white spot on his nose.

Permar guesses that Chunk is the one he’s now about 6 years old – the life span of an underground chick – so his power transition has officially begun. Chunk Jr. you just picked a family meal and became the new star of mealtime videos.

#gardener #love #pig #eating #vegetables

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