Reclaimed Wood Sign for a Groundhog’s Castle

We are very fortunate to have cats, chickens and a toddler in our lives. In our garden and in the woodland behind it, we occasionally see deer, squirrels, chipmunks, turkeys and many types of birds that either live in the woods or pass by. But it seems that the only animal that we did not intentionally acquire, but made a lovely home in our garden, is a chubby groundhog we named Bennet.

Bennet pops up from time to time to eat the grass, the flowers and, if lucky, the vegetables we grow. He’s a monastic and a very skittish fellow who can easily be scared away with every unfamiliar move by us or by Asher, our son. Surprisingly he doesn’t seem to be scared by the chickens when we let them outside the run, or by Itzik, our outdoor black and white cat. Bennett claimed his own property in the old root base of what used to be a gigantic oak tree, which by now has been reduced to hardly anything but a few loosely formed root remains.

The old oak was surrounded by a mount of stones that in my imagination resembled a castle. Recently, after I found a few discarded citronella torches I staked them in the ground around the castle and told Asher that these were the towers for Bennett’s castle.

So after all this fairy tale buildup, I felt that I had to make Bennet’s domain official. I decided to use a reclaimed Wood board and print on it the name ‘Bennet’ and hang it in front of the castle.

On a sheet of thick paper I drew a banner and inside it the letters of the groundhog name. Then I cut off each of the letters, placed the template on the board, and sprayed it with cream color paint. After the paint dried, I removed the template and hang the board on a metal garden ornamental post that I found (yet again) in a neighbor’s free stuff pile.

Let’s hope that our little woodchuck friend appreciates the effort.

P.s. The deer candle holder and the two black candles were also a “Curb find” from two different occasions.

– Yoav Liberman

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Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.

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