12

Gator Family Vacation: A Punk Croc Odessey – Part 2

Alligators spotted at Lake Worth over Memorial Day Weekend | wfaa.com

Where we are – The gators decided to head north for a family vacation on Lake Michigan. Meanwhile, Uncle Stu has been road-tripping with his favorite punk croc band, Acrocalypse. Stu called Granny to have Stan meet him in Detroit. Stan and his family pull up outside a landmark club on Detroit’s west side, The Swamp. You can read Part 1 here.

Police wrangle 9-foot alligator outside Florida apartment building – WSVN  7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports | Fort Lauderdale

Justine: Gee, Dad. This place looks a little scary.

Stan: Don’t worry, girls. It’s just showing its age. This club has been around for years.

Stan walked up and tried to open the door, but it was locked. He walked around back and tried that door.

Stan: That’s odd. I know Stu said The Swamp.

Adele: Knowing Stu, he got the right club in the wrong city. Try calling him.

Alligator Crawling out of Apartment Storm Drain Shocks Local Residents

Stan dialed the number and it rang. No answer and the mailbox was full. Stan let out a low growl. He called his mother.

Stan: Hi, Mom. Have you heard from Uncle Stu? I’m at the club, and there’s no one around.

Granny: Didn’t you get his message?

Stan: What message?

Granny: The band went out last night, and the bus broke down. They need you to pick them up in Flint.

Stan: Flint! We just drove through Flint. Why didn’t he call me?

Granny: I don’t know, dear. But they need to be back in Detroit in time for tonight’s show, so you better hurry.

Back seat alligator | Animals | Know Your Meme

Stan was growling loudly by now. He turned the car around, and they drove an hour back to Flint. It wasn’t hard to find the Acrocalype bus. There weren’t many black-and-purple VW buses roaming the streets. 

Stan: Uncle Stu! We finally found you!

Stu: Stan! You made it! I was getting worried about you. Adele! It’s so nice to see you. Beautiful as ever. And the girls growing more gorgeous daily. C’mon. Let me introduce you to the guys!

The Three Crocodiles. The sun crept below the mangroves… | by Auden Wright  | The Authentic Eclectic | Medium

Stu introduced them to three rather small crocodiles. 

Stu: This is Billy Joe, Iggy, and Mick. Better known as Acrocalypse.

Stan: Pleased to meet you.

Billy Joe: The pleasure is ours. We appear to be stranded.

Stan: What happened?

Stu: We decided to see a band up here on our night off. When we got up this morning, the van wouldn’t start. I need you to take a look at it.

Stan: Me? I’m not a mechanic. You had me drive all the way down here to look at your van?

Robert Irwin Shares Video Of Alligator Enjoying A Car Ride | ETCanada.com

Stu: Don’t be silly. I invited you to the club. But first we have to get to the club. So I need you to get the van moving. (Whispers) These are nice guys, but they don’t know the first thing about anything practical.

Stan rolled his eyes. He could hear Justine and Suzy giggling. Adele was trying not to smile. Stan opened the hood and told Stu to try to start the engine. He listened for a minute.

Stan: When was the last time you put gas in this thing?

Stu: Um. Probably about three days ago. It usually lasts about a week while we’re on a gig. We should still have a couple days worth of gas left.

Stan: How far do you usually drive?

Stu: Just around the city.

Stan: You’re not in the city. You’re in Flint.

Gator Snaps Up Low Fuel Prices at Flagler Airport - GoToby.com: Florida  Real Estate Newsalligator at flagler airport - GoToby.com: Florida Real  Estate News

Stu: Oh yeah. I shoulda got gas.

Iggy: Man, Stu, you really shoulda got gas.

Stu: Okay. Let’s get gas and get back. We gotta get Stan ready for the show.

Stan: What do you mean, get me ready for the show?

Mick: You’re our bass guy for the next few nights. Iggy’s got a bad paw.

Stan: I’m not a bass player.

Billie Joe: Stu said you can play.

Global Times - 【Odd】A baby crocodile holds an electric guitar as it leans  against a tree at a crocodile breeding sanctuary in Tangerang, Indonesia.  Photo: IC http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1030457.shtml | Facebook

Stan: I’m an accountant.

Iggy: Stu, you said he could play. You said he could play our stuff.

Stu: He can play your stuff. He was in a band called Blind Justice. They were very popular locally.

Stan: That was years ago. And we weren’t punkers. We were rockers.

Stu: You were good.

Justine: You were in a band, Dad?

Stan: It was a long time ago. When I was in college and just after.

Adele: You still play once in a while.

Stan: Not professionally.

Scientists Gave Alligators Ketamine and Headphones to Understand Dinosaur  Hearing

Suzy: Dad, you have to try.

Stu drove with the gators back to Detroit. By the time they arrived, Stan had agreed to try playing with Billie Joe and Mick.

Mick: Okay. Let’s start with “I Wanna Eat Your Dog.”

Stan joined in after a few notes and kept up with the band. Stu was nodding his head and keeping time. They moved through a few more of the old hits: “I Wanna Be Your Frog,” “Eat on the Brat,” and “Cairo Calling.” Stan was having a great time. The girls weren’t sure whether they were impressed or appalled.

Suzy: Dad, you’re actually pretty good.

Justine: I’m impressed. I have to post this on my GatorGram.

American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

The band mates huddled together, whispering. Stu looked at them nervously. Finally, Mick motioned him over, and they whispered some more. 

Iggy: The doc says I can’t play for about a week. Think you can cover the gig?

Stan: I don’t know. I’m supposed to be back at work.

Stu: Call them. Tell them it’s a family emergency.

Adele: Go ahead, honey. How many chances like this will you get?

And Stan got to live out the fantasy of many middle-aged former rockers.

29 Funny alligators ideas | funny, bones funny, funny pictures

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

16

Gator Family Vacation: A Punk Croc Odessey

Why Are Alligators Showing Up on Beaches? | The Weather Channel

Stan and Adele were basking in the warm Michigan sun. For some reason, the family had decided to vacation Up North by Lake Michigan this year.

Suzy: Hey, Dad. Who planned this year’s vacation? It’s really pretty here.

Justine: It is pretty. But I got cold last night. You should have packed blankets, Mom.

Adele: It’s no worse than home in the winter.

Alligator On Sand - DesiComments.com

Stan: We’re only going to be here a few more days. I really like the sand. It doesn’t catch in my toes like the rocks by our creek.

Adele: I’m pretty sure your cousin Danny suggested it. He came up here when he was interviewing for a residency.

Suzy: I can’t believe he graduated from Animal Tech and is a real bird doctor.

Justine: I still think it’s goofy that he wants to treat birds. Where’s he going to work?

Stan: He got a really good offer from a clinic in the Everglades.

Everglades Holiday Park Airboat Tours & Rides | Alligators

Justine: Ooh! Gator nirvana! And he won’t have to worry about snow like up here. I can’t believe he even considered Michigan.

Adele: I guess they have a lot of birds in all these trees.

Just then, they heard a loud splash. Cousin Penelope had married her boyfriend Maxwell. They were trying to get their son Stephen into the water.

Penelope: C’mon, sweetie. Let’s go in the water.

Stephen: I don’t want to, Mama. You know I don’t like water.

Do Alligators Live in Saltwater or Freshwater? - AZ Animals

Maxwell: Don’t be ridiculous. You’re an alligator. We love water. It’s how we cool down.

Stephen: I’m not hot.

Maxwell: We’ll just get our feet wet.

Stephen: I don’t wanna.

Penelope: It’ll be fun.

Stephen: I don’t wanna.

Maxwell snuck up behind Stephen and pushed hard with his snout. Stephen landed in the water with a thud. The water only came partway up his legs, but Stephen was not happy. He started howling.

Young alligators basking under the sun. - Picture of Alligator Adventure,  North Myrtle Beach - Tripadvisor

Penelope: Stephen, just relax. It’s only water. You’ll have fun if you stop complaining. Look at your cousins. They’re having a great time.

Stephen: I don’t care. I don’t like water.

Finally, Penelope and Maxwell gave up. They all returned to the beach. Stephen was shivering.

Justine: How bizarre.

Suzy (giggling): You know what a princess Penelope has always been. The kid’s just like her.

Alligator Adventure - North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - Top Brunch Spots

The gators laid on the warm sand and enjoyed the sun with their eyes closed. Stan was just about asleep.

Granny: Stan! Wake up! I have to talk to you.

Stan opened one eye.

Stan: What’s up?

Granny: It’s your Uncle Stu. He needs your help.

Stu was a beloved elder member of the family. He kept the others entertained with his stories. Part of the reason he had so many stories was his legendarily bad sense of direction. He spent many hours being in the wrong place and trying to get home.

dreamt that alligators and crocodiles became famous music artists and it  was very popular news, they also wore headphones for some reason : r/Dreams

He hadn’t joined the family vacation because he was spending the summer touring with his favorite punk croc band, Acrocalypse. He had been a fan for years, since it had evolved from its swamp rock roots, the band Creedence Crocodile Redemption.

Stu had been welcomed by the band and had been traveling with them on the tour bus. He did odd jobs along the way. It seemed to be working out well for everyone.

Stan: What happened? Did he miss the bus?

Granny: I don’t think so. He said he needs your help.

Gators – Gatorland

Stan: Doing what?

Granny: He didn’t say. But he want you to meet him in Detroit.

Stan loved Uncle Stu, but it was always an adventure when Stu needed help. Nothing was ever easy.

Stan: Why me? Everyone’s in Michigan. Can’t someone else go? What about my family?

You can take them with you. Please? Do it for me.

Stan sighed. He talked to Adele, and they made plans to leave for Detroit in the morning.

Next week: If he wasn’t lost, why did Stu need Stan?

Robert Irwin Shares Video Of Alligator Enjoying A Car Ride | ETCanada.com

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

17

There Goes the Neighborhood: The Groundhogs’ Bad Season: Part 2

Groundhog Day: Munching Marmots Emerge From the Scientific Shadows - The  New York Times

Where we are: Harold and Madge Groundhog were concerned that their yard was being beautified in preparation of being sold. They were rather fond of their human; they and the other animals pretty much had the run of the place. You can read Part 1 here.

Harold: It’s getting worse. Now the other human, the younger one, is starting to clean up the yard too.

Madge: I know. The sticks are all gone, and the grass is shorter than it’s been in ages.

Harold: And the sidewalks are all clean.

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Madge: Our human is out every weekend, clearing away the weeds. I guess it’s more the way humans like it, but I miss the overgrowth. She got rid of all the grape vines. She said they were “invasive.”

Harold: Just because they were trying to root in the vinyl siding.

Sara Squirrel: Isn’t that like ivy-league? I thought that was high-class for humans.

Madge: Beats me. All I know is that the sun is getting into our home a lot more than it used to. And I don’t really feel safe anymore.

Roger Raccoon: Me and my friends have been trying to keep it from getting too clean. We’ve dumped the catnip and tomato plants a couple of times.

Ricky Raccoon: Not that you can tell. It gets cleaned up first thing in the morning.

Harold: And they moved some of the stuff inside.

Madge: They keep putting the catnip back down for that new cat to lie in.

Sara Squirrel: Yeah. Those two cats act like they own the place. I thought for sure the inside cats would try to drive them off, but they don’t seem to care.

Pierre Rabbit: I saw the human planting some stuff in front of the house.

Just then a bat flew over. The bats didn’t really like the rest of the animals, but he was curious about what was going on.

Benson: Hey, guys. What’s up?

Madge: We’re worried that the humans are getting the place ready to sell.

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Benson: You should see what’s going on inside. Major cleaning. Whole rooms are being cleared out.

Madge: Are they talking about moving?

Benson: I wish. My whole family has been living peacefully in the attic. They stirred everything up; we’re all moving out to the bat house. It’s ridiculous inside.

 Madge: But that’s your home!

Benson: It’s not worth it. The human is afraid of us. Every time she sees a bat, she gets the younger one and he puts us out. We’d rather leave on our own terms.

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Pierre: It’s not so bad out here. We have a lot of room, and no one bothers us.

Priscilla Rabbit: Did you hear the humans say anything about selling the house?

Benson: No. That’s not what’s going on. I guess that the other main human died a couple of years ago. They’re just finally getting around to really cleaning everything up. It’s a big house and a big yard.

Harold: Yeah. I guess it would take a lot of energy to get things straightened out.

Benson: The humans who are left said something about the one who’s gone being a pack rat. I don’t really know what that means. I saw pictures. He looks like all the other humans.

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Harold: Weird. I don’t think we have rats around here. I think they look like big mice.

Mortimer Mouse: Yeah. Kinda. But not so cute.

Harold: Do you know what a pack rat is?

Mortimer: I think it has something to do with the way that some rats hoard things.

Benson: Yeah. That sounds right. They are throwing away a LOT of stuff in the house.

Harold: And a lot of stuff out here.

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Priscilla: But they attracted those two cats. I don’t really like cats.

Pierre: But as long as they feed the cats, the cats don’t bother us.

Priscilla: Good point.

Roger: If they’re not cleaning to sell, we can probably stop trashing the plants on the porch.

Ricky: Sounds good to me. They’re not growing anything good anyway.

Madge (sighing): I guess that means I have to live with less privacy.

Woodchuck Food Habits - Woodchuck Wonderland

Benson: I overheard them say something about moving some of the peonies into the space they cleared.

Madge: Ooh! I love peonies. I hope that’s soon.

Benson: I did hear one other thing. There is no plan to clear the back area anytime soon.

Ricky: All right! Block party this weekend!!

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

20

There Goes the Neighborhood: The Groundhogs’ Bad Season

Groundhog Photos and Facts

The groundhog family had been living under the porch of the old farmhouse for generations. It was a pretty nice location: the humans didn’t spend too much time outside, and they never bothered the groundhogs. There was plenty of clover to eat and even an ornamental peach tree to climb.

Life had been particularly good in the past couple of years. Something had happened to the male human, and the female human stopped working in the yard almost entirely. The garden in front of the porch got overgrown, and it was hard to even see under the porch. The groundhogs were thrilled. Nothing bothered them, and they came and went as they pleased.

File:Groundhog on rock.jpg - Wikipedia

But this past spring something changed.

Harold: Hey Madge, you notice that the human seems more active than usual?

Madge: Yeah. She’s been over at the side of the house digging around. She’s talking about putting in a rock garden.

Harold: That would be nice. It would give us someplace to sun.

Madge: That’s true. We wouldn’t have to walk around to the back of the house anymore.

Harold: I hope she doesn’t dig up all the clover.

Madge: I wouldn’t worry about it. It hasn’t happened in the 20 years our family’s lived here.

Harold: Excellent point.

Woodchuck Food Habits - Woodchuck Wonderland

Indeed, soon enough the human stopped digging up the side of the house. She came back one day with a bunch of plants that she put on the porch.

Madge: Did you see all that gorgeous greenery. It looks pretty yummy.

Harold: It’s awfully close to the house. I’m not going up there to explore.

Madge: I think she’s going to plant some of it in our yard.

Harold: Oooh. That will be nice. The more green, the better.

Nature Notes: Winter is Coming | The Michigan Nature Guy's Blog

However, the human didn’t put the new plants in the yard. She moved them into larger pots and left them on the porch. One morning, the groundhogs heard digging.

Harold: Look, Madge. She’s clearing the part of the yard by the other front porch. Maybe that’s where she’s going to grow our new plants.

Madge: That would be convenient. I wonder if we should figure out a way to tell her where to put the stuff we like best.

Harold: Let’s go explore what’s up there.

Woodchuck Food Habits - Woodchuck Wonderland

The groundhogs discovered that most of the plants were too high to reach. There were a couple of bushes and some catnip. They also found tomatoes and peppers in pots.

Harold: This is very disappointing. I hope the good stuff is in the pots up top.

Madge: Let’s ask the rabbits to check it out for us. They can jump up there and see.

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The next night, Pierre jumped up on the railing and had a look around. All he could see were herbs. Except, there was one particularly appetizing smell.

Pierre: Bad news, guys. There’s nothing really good up there. Oregano, sage, rosemary. Nothing that’s really going to appeal to anyone.

Harold: Well, rats.

Madge: I hope she finishes putting it in soon. At least we won’t have to worry about having a human out all the time.

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The human continued cleaning out the yard. The groundhogs weren’t really paying much attention. One Saturday, they woke up to loud noises a few feet from their nest. They looked out in horror.

Madge: Do something, Harold! She’s digging up right next to our porch! We’re going to lose all our privacy.

Harold: What do you want me to do about it?

Madge: I don’t know. We have to stop this.

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Later that day, they heard the humans discussing the work. They were very excited about how much “nicer” it looked and how much better it would be once all of the weeds were gone. The groundhogs decided it was time for a neighborhood meeting.

Harold: We wanted to get everyone together to discuss what’s going on in the neighborhood.

Sara Squirrel: You mean the humans’ “Beautification” project? It’s awful. They’re picking up all the sticks, digging out all the weeds, and cleaning up the sidewalks.

Roger Raccoon: Before we know it, the whole place is going to look like it belongs on the front of one of those sales brochures. Like it was when the humans first moved in.

Pierre: We can’t let that happen. What if this human decides to sell it? No one is ever going to be as easy to manipulate as she is.

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Roger: That’s true. She lets us pretty much run the place.

Harold: Maybe. But she’s destroying my peace of mind right now. She’s ruining the entrance to our home.

Priscilla Rabbit: She’s bringing in nasty plants too. I thought she had planted some fennel. Super yummy. But when I dug up the bulbs, it was only the plant, not the edible kind. Talk about rude.

Madge: A couple of cats have started hanging around too. You know the neighborhood won’t be safe anymore if they stick around.

Roger: We have to do something before we get beautified out of our happy homes.

Next Week: The animals’ plan and how it works out.

10

Bears v Bulls: The Great Tug-of-War

These Photos of Animals Eating Food Will Brighten Your Day

It was time for the annual Everest Financial company picnic. It was a family event, and a highlight of the year. One of the most anticipated events was was the big tug-of-war. Every year, the “big boys” of the firm fought it out for bragging rights. It was always the bulls on one side and the bears on the other. The bulls had been winning for the past few years, but the bears had been practicing.

The bulls were an upbeat bunch. They always looked at the bright side, even when things seemed to go against them. They were optimistic and hopeful for the future. The clients loved them. Oddly, on the years that the bulls won the match, the company usually performed very well.

What Is a Group of Bears Called? | Animals Pickings

On the other hand, the bears were a lot quieter. They had a tendency to try and find the flaws in the bulls’ approach. They were cautious by nature. Some of the customers were afraid of the bears. They thought that the bears were bad luck. In fact, when the bears won the tug-of-war, the company usually performed poorly for some time afterwards.

The big day arrived. It was a beautiful sunny day. The bulls, as usual, were convinced they were going to win.

Herd Bulls | texasminiaturecattle

Jerry: OK, guys! We’re on a winning streak. We have to keep it going.

Louis: I don’t know. I have a weird feeling about today.

Jerry: What do you mean?

Louis: I’ve been hearing rumors.

Jimmy: What kind of rumors?

Louis: That the bears are a lot stronger than last year.

Jimmy: So what? We’re strong too.

Louis: Yeah. But some of the guys haven’t been working out. They’re convinced that we’re going to keep winning forever.

Jerry: Don’t be ridiculous. Of course, we’re going to win.

Angry Bear - JattDiSite.com

The bears came charging onto the field. They did look tough. And mean. Obviously, they meant to win this year.

Barry: Listen up, team. We can do this. Those stupid bulls are way too cocky. It’s time to teach them a lesson.

Theo: Things have been going their way for too long. It’s time for a correction.

Monique: Let’s show them what happens when you get too excited and lose track of common sense.

Meerkat | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants

A huge crowd had gathered. There was a lot of tension in the air. The judges brought out the rope and laid it on the sand. The animals lined up on their respective sides. The main referee, a huge lion, explained the rules.

Lion: You may wrap the line around your body or hold it in your teeth. If you bite through the rope, the other team wins. The first team to pull the entire other team across the middle line wins. No throwing of dirt or bodily fluids. No poking, hitting, or biting. The judges may disqualify a player or an entire team. No eating opponents or spectators. Are you ready?

How the lion lost its strength: big cats' survival at risk as DNA defences dwindle | Wildlife | The Guardian

The bulls and the bears stepped into position and nodded.

Lion: Go!

Both sides dug in and tried to pull the other off balance. At first, there was a lot of grunting and groaning, but not much movement. The crowd was cheering loudly for the bulls. But Louis had been right; some of the bulls had gotten complacent, thinking that things would always be going their way.

So stubborn .. | Animals, Animals beautiful, Bear

The bears dug in hard and refused to budge. Before long, it was obvious that it was only a matter of time before the bulls collapsed. At first, it was just a couple of them losing their footing. Then they were attacked by horse flies. Soon their entire line was falling apart. The bears waited for an opportune moment.

The wind picked up and started blowing the sand around. It seemed to bother the bulls more than the bears. The bears kept up their pressure. Suddenly, the bulls collapsed. With a giant heave, the bears pulled them across the line and won the game.

Some of the crowd congratulated the bears, but mostly they went back to their picnic. The bears winning might be a bad sign, but there was always next year. And they didn’t want to rile up the bears any further. The last time the crowd upset the bears, they rode the bulls back to the office.

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Ed. Note: Apologies to anyone who isn’t familiar with the US stock market. Generally speaking, the bulls are the people who think things are going to get better, and the bears are the ones who think they are going to get worse. At the moment, the bears are on top. A “correction” is what happens when the market starts to slow down after it gets too hot.

Of Bears and Bulls: The Irrationality of People | by Anthony Sassano | Medium

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

14

No Mow May: Sheep Going For the Green

How to Keep Animals Cool in Hot Weather | Livestock Solutions from OLE

Ed. Note: We are pleased to welcome Snoops’ and Kommando’s human brother to the ranks of our contributors:

Alonso was not a happy sheep.  As he walked dusty New Mexican streets with the hot May sun beating down on him, he wondered if he and his brothers had even made the right choice coming this year.  In past years, they had done quite well for themselves.  Every season, they would be shorn in the spring, and then they’d pile into their battered Jeep for the trip North.  There, they got by taking care of people’s lawns—not only was it a free meal, but they normally even managed to send something home to help the rest of the family.  But in recent years there was less work every season.

Coachella Valley on Twitter: "A bighorn ram headbutts a barrel cactus to  break through the skin and spines to get to the water rich pulp inside.  Bighorn sheep can go for months

Lush, green, delicious lawns were becoming less and less common, as rains were becoming more sporadic.  Where sprinklers had once flowed freely all day every day, there were bare trickles of water into sparse patches of grass.  And that was if there was any lawn at all!  Last year, they’d come calling on a well-to-do tortoise who had always been very generous, only to find his yard not a swathe of green, but a wide, sandy space filled mostly with rocks and gravel.  The only bits of green were a few cacti.  Alonso’s littlest brother Francisco had tried eating a cactus once.  His review was, “Ith nah vehy tathty.”

Lambs learn to eat Dalmatian toadflax by watching Mom at pasture potluck

But the latest news was even more ludicrous than the cacti.  He, Emiliano, Sancho, and Francisco had gotten into town a few days ago, and had been overjoyed when they saw a yard practically overgrown by shoulder-high grass, but the bear living there had turned them away, simply saying that he was “letting it go this year.”  Initially, they had figured he was just grumpy and out of sorts from having just woken up, but the next house was even worse.

Why Do Cats Lay In The Sun?

That home also had a large, verdant lawn, but when he’d offered their services to the cat who answered the door, she had also declined!  When Alonso asked why, the cat had replied, “It’s No Mow May!”  Alonso had started to ask just what that meant, but that was when his brothers showed up, back from another bust.  They’d trotted up to Alonso, startling the cat.  “Just how many of you are there?!  One, two… threeeee…”  Then the darn cat had just fallen asleep right on her front porch.

As the flagging flock fled that latest absurdity, Alonso turned to Emiliano, who’d been in charge of the other two as they hunted for work, since he was the second-eldest.  “We finally find some decent lawns, and nobody’s biting, least of all us!  That cat said something about ‘No Mow May,’ do you have any idea what that means?”

Felted Bumblebee Sheep – League of NH Craftsmen

“We got that too,” Emiliano replied, “Something about bees, I think, but all I know for certain is that it’s hot, we’re hungry, we’re a long way from home, and Abuela isn’t going to be able to buy a new hat this year.  We’re in a bad spot.”  He looked glumly at his older brother.

Just then, a rattlesnake passing by stopped and slithered over.  “Sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear you fellows speaking among yourselves.  You sound like you’re in quite the sticky situation, but I think I might be able to assuage it.  I’m running late right now, but if you meet with my assistant, then she should be able to help you out.  Tell her Simon sent you.”

Cute Sheep Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

Alonso didn’t know what to make of the stranger, but it wasn’t like they had any better options, and, judging from the diamonds he was wearing, the snake was at least well-off enough to back up his offer.  Maybe running into him was a stroke of serendipity.  “Alright, we’ll take what we can get, at this point.  Where do we go?”

“Start off to the Southern edge of town, and keep going until you see the windmills—you can’t miss it!”  With that, the snake was slithering off as swiftly as he’d arrived.

A windmill and a lovely sheep named Susan... 🌱🐑 🌱 💢 Nominated 💢 stock  photo bbe0d3de-e8f7-4408-9bfa-707db6c854ff

“Thanks!”  Alonso called after him.

“…I think,” Sancho murmured.

With renewed purpose, the four brothers walked off to the South.  Even if they weren’t quite sure about the details, it was still the best lead they’d gotten since they’d hit town.

“Who do you suppose that snake was, anyway?” Sancho asked.

Snakes with hats. Say no more. | Cute reptiles, Cute little animals, Baby  animals pictures

“Probably some wealthy suburbanite.  I just hope all this walking is worth it.  Anyone who lives this far out ought to have a huge yard, right?”  Alonso replied.

“I guess that makes sense.  Gosh, I’m so hungry even the cacti are starting to not look so bad.”

Francisco chimed in, “The middle is actually pretty juicy!”

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Alonso cut him off.  “Don’t even think about it; Mama isn’t here to pick the needles out of your tongue.”  As they crested a hill, they suddenly saw what the snake had clearly been talking about.  Before them, they saw a luxurious expanse of grass, speckled with small ponds and, just as promised, a couple of small windmills.

The vision of paradise before them invigorated the tired sheep, and they broke into a run, heading for the windmills at full tilt.  As they neared it, a gopher came hurrying out of a building on the grounds.  “Excuse me, can I help you gentlemen?”  she asked.

All four of them skidded to a stop.  Alonso began tentatively, “Um, Simon sent us?  We’re lawn-care specialists…”  He was doing his best to be courteous, but his stomach was rumbling at the sight of so much green, and his brothers were practically drooling.

Sheep Take Over Golf Course in England, Act As Greenskeepers

“Oh, wonderful!  We need a team to take care of the green for us!  And if Simon thought you looked like a good match, we really just need to do some quick interviews and sign some papers…  Do any of you have experience working on a golf course?”

A few hours later, the brothers gathered around one of the ponds and looked proudly at each other in their matching visors.  They were so stuffed they could hardly move.  “You know what,” Emiliano said, “Not only do we all have fancy new hats, but I’ll bet the one Abuela gets this year will put ours to shame!”

the moon's wife on Twitter: "instead of getting into a pointless argument  on the internet, why don't you look at these pictures of sheep wearing hats  https://t.co/BmwdN2OipO" / Twitter
Pictures courtesy of Google Images.
18

Groundhog Day: What Happened on Hog Hill?

Groundhog Day 2022: Forecast, Facts, and Folklore - Farmers' Almanac

Things had been a little tense on Hog Hill on February 2 (Groundhog Day). When Gus Groundhog made his annual prediction, he only appeared for a couple of minutes and made the actual announcement on his Twitter account. Not at all the festivities we were expecting. We decided to do do a little investigating.

The first thing we discovered was that Gus hadn’t been on any type of social media since Groundhog Day. Had he gone back into hibernation? We spoke to some of the neighbors.

Interspecies Friendship: Deer and Rabbit – Animal Intelligence

Peter Rabbit: It’s been very quiet over there. Usually, Gus has a big party after the announcement. But this year, there was nothing.

Penelope Rabbit: Maybe he’s sick.

Bethany Deer: Maybe. He didn’t look very well on the 2nd.

Joe Squirrel: Maybe he just got tired of all the fuss. You know folks blame him for the weather when it’s still snowing in April.

Josie Squirrel: Maybe someone turned off all his accounts. Maybe it’s a conspiracy against groundhogs. Someone should look into that.

17 Repeatable Quotes From 'Groundhog Day'

Obviously, we are going to have to talk to Gus.

We went to the burrow. But no one answered the door. Maybe there was something wrong. Was he even still in town?

What next? We staked it out, watching both entrances. No movement for over a week. The other animals in the neighborhood were getting curious.

Cute Rabbit And Squirrel Buddies | Squirrel, Funny animals, Cute

Josie: No luck? I hope everything’s OK. Maybe we should just go in.

Penelope: Do you think so?

Josie: What if he’s really sick? Maybe we should call the animal welfare hotline.

Joe: Hold up, ladies. Groundhogs hibernate. Not seeing one in February is no reason to go bursting into his house. For all we know, he saw that there was going to be a lot more winter, rolled over, and went back to sleep. We’d scare him half to death breaking into his house. He’d have every right to attack us. Have you seen those claws and teeth?

Great groundhogs: Getting to know Illinois' burrowing hibernator:  University of Illinois Extension

We realized Joe might be right. Maybe there was no story. Just then, Peter hopped up.

Peter: Hey, guys. What’s up?

Joe: Everyone’s worried about Gus. Apparently the media has got everyone wondering about him. Personally, I think we should just let him be.

We felt badly. We had thought it was a quick human interest story. It was never intended to be an investigation. We didn’t want to upset anyone, so we started to pack up our stuff.

Josie: Don’t blame them. They haven’t bothered him. And it’s weird that we haven’t seen Gus during his big time of the year. Usually he’s active after he gets up for the announcement.

Adorable Baby Groundhogs That Will Make You Forget About Winter | Baby  groundhog, Animals, Baby animals pictures

A car drove up and stopped in front of Gus’s burrow. A matronly groundhog got out and looked around. She seemed surprised by the group of animals.

Groundhog: Hello. I’m Emma. Is everything okay?

Peter: Hello. We’re well. And yourself?

Emma: Yes, I’m wonderful. I’m here to visit my grandbabies.

Josie squealed.

Josie: Grandbabies? Gus had babies?

Woodchucks | Hungry Baby Woodchucks | Baby groundhog, Wildlife photos, Baby  animals

Emma (laughing): Technically, Georgette had the babies. But yes – Gus is a daddy. Didn’t he tell you?

Penelope: No, we haven’t heard a thing since he came outside for a couple of minutes on Groundhog Day.

Josie: We’ve been worried about him. He even disappeared off social media. And he’s a local celebrity, so he’s always on Twitter.

Emma: There’s no need to worry. He’s just running around in circles with his five little chucklings.

Emma went up to the door, and Gus let her into the burrow. He lifted a paw and waved at his neighbors.

Gus: Hey, guys! Sorry to have been off the radar. Tons of snaps coming soon. Watch for me!

That was the Gus we knew and loved. It wouldn’t be long before he was back.

We KNEW there had been a story.

10 facts about groundhogs

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

25

Yak Express: Not Living Up to Its Name

Snoops and Kommando here. This story was written by our cousins Thunder and Onyx with the help of their human. Hope you enjoy it. (It actually explains a lot.)

Since a horrible illness took over the world, cat consumables have been hard to come by. From luxuries such as catnip and heated blankets, to basics such as canned chicken and kitty kibble, nothing was safe from the shortages that had befallen Cattusville. To compile the issue, all humans had been stressed to the max, which made home cuddles and attention dwindle to an unacceptable rate. After some investigating, the cats of Cattusville discover that the holdup on goods has nothing to do with human error, and everything to do with the transportation yaks that swam across the ocean to deliver goods from one country to another. This frustrates the felines, who are now in the midst of discussing this horrible issue. 

Jolene– What a horrible day! I just spent 20 minutes in line at CatMart. All for 7 items! I’m about to stop shopping there and try Furrs. They’re a bit pricier, but I hear their customer service is on point. 

Bonnie– Speaking of pricier, I noticed even at Bargain Felines, their prices skyrocketed. A can of tuna used to cost a dollar- I just spent two dollars, and I swear there was less juice in it than usual! 

Saran Wrap– at least you can find tuna! I’ve been to three different stores, and still am missing half my shopping list. I can’t find silver vine anywhere. And there was only one catnip plant available in the city, and it looked horrendous. Almost like a dog had been nibbling on it! *The cats all shuddered.* I’m about to just use my human’s credit card and order everything online! At least then I’m guaranteed to get something! 

Cookie– You know what the real issue is, right? It isn’t a lack of servants, or less fish available to catch and sell; it’s the transport yaks. 

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Jolene– Transport yaks? What on earth are transport yaks?

Bonnie– Yeah, I just assumed humans were being lazy and not putting things on shelves for me to purchase. And that they raised the prices to get more for less. 

Saran Wrap– Isn’t a yak a big, scary creature? I saw a photo of one once. It didn’t look friendly, or very tasty. The only benefit I saw to it was the fur, which would make a wonderful blanket. 

Cookie– Well, yes, yaks are bigger than us. And I’m not sure if they’re friendly- I’ve never actually met one. But they’re the reason we’re having issues buying our items. Our whole country relies on their services. And there’s been so much demand lately, our yaks aren’t able to keep up with it. 

Jolene– I’m not sure how a big, scary blanket is supposed to be in charge of our economy and buying. Don’t the humans just say, “hey, we need this”, and it magically appears?

Bonnie– That sounds about right. 

Cookie– No, that isn’t how it works. You see, Cattusville gets a lot of their marketables from different countries, such as Katzenlot, or Gatomanor. 

Saran Wrap– But those countries are so far away! Like, 20 nap times away!

Cookie– Exactly! We cats have much better things to do with our time, so we contract yaks to swim across the ocean and deliver our goods. But because of the hoarding that the illness caused, Cattusville keeps demanding more and more items from everywhere else. So then more and more yaks get sent to swim to us. But the shore can only process a couple of yaks at a time, no matter what the demand is. So the extra yaks get stuck at sea, waiting to drop their load. However, by the time the water-logged yaks make it to shore, it might have been months. This naturally makes the yaks very grumpy, so they are slow in letting the humans remove the load from them. Then, they take a couple of weeks to relax before swimming back to their native country. But that takes up space on our shore, so that slows down the process even more. 

Jolene– Wow, how awful. Thank goodness we’re not yaks! *The others nod in agreement* 

Himalayan Yak & Yak Products in Nepal | Visit Nepal 2020 | Bookingsansar

Cookie- But that’s not all. Some yaks get so upset at the wait, that they turn around and head back to their native shore. That delays our shipments even more.

Bonnie– Oh, no! I know they’re not treated well. But that doesn’t seem fair to us, either. 

Cookie– Well, it’s really not. But can you blame them? 

Saran Wrap– I can’t blame them at all. I thought I had seen a report on RabbitNews, saying that some yaks had not only returned to shore, but were so disgusted by working conditions, that they’re refusing to work until things get better. Some were even considering hibernating, just to make a point. I had just assumed it was fake news, since there’s so much of that nowadays. 

Cookie– I saw that report as well. Sadly, it is very true. 

Jolene– Wow. I never knew all of this. 

Bonnie– Yeah. Now I feel bad about hissing at my human for bringing home beef treats instead of turkey. The yaks probably haven’t had a chance to deliver the turkey treats yet. 

Lolcats - scratching post - LOL at Funny Cat Memes - Funny cat pictures  with words on them - lol | cat memes | funny cats | funny cat pictures with  words

Saran Wrap– And I guess I should stop mewling about the raise of price in scratching posts. Those can’t be easy to transport, and the yaks do deserve extra compensation for doing such a hard job. 

Cookie– It doesn’t make it less frustrating, but at least you now know the root of the issue. But, enough talk about yaks. Who wants to find a nice sun spot to lounge in for the next three hours?

The other cats run off with Cookie, eager to stop talking about yaks and lounge in the sun. Even with as evil as the world illness has been, at least it hasn’t stolen the sunspots- at least, not yet. 

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

10

Gator Family Christmas – Part 2

This is the Santa Alligator, he brings presents to every Alligator who serves in the Alligator Army, you all have been added to his nice list :) : r/Alligator_Army

Where we are – Stan and Adele have invited the family to South Carolina to celebrate Christmas. On his way to pick up his son Vinny, Uncle Stu met a woman and thinks he’s in love. You can read Part 1 here.

It was two days before Christmas. Vinny pulled into the driveway and everyone went out to meet him.

Stan: Welcome! Glad you made it.

Stan looks in the car.

Stan: Where’s Uncle Stu?

800-pound gator caught on camera - CNN Video

Vinny: The last time I saw him, he was baking Christmas cookies.

Granny started laughing.

Granny: Stu’s never baked anything in his life. Your mother was afraid to let him in the kitchen.

John: Remember when he tried to grill that turkey? He didn’t realize you had to light the fire ahead of time. He ended up setting the turkey on fire.

Vinny (laughing): Yeah. We had to go buy clam chowder for everyone to eat. Maybe I shouldn’t have said he was baking. He was sitting in the kitchen while Katya was doing all the work.

Granny: That sounds more like Stu.

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Adele: Is Katya his new soul mate?

Vinny: I guess. She seems nice enough.

Adele: How did he meet her?

Vinny: He went up to her house to ask for directions. He couldn’t figure out how to get to my house. She asked him to come in, and he’s still there.

Granny: We should have guessed. So he wants to stay with her rather than us for Christmas?

Vinny: You know Dad. She was nice to him, so he thinks he’s in love.

Gator Country - Gators need cuddles, too!! | Facebook

Stan: In fairness, he does irritate a lot of people. It was probably nice to find someone agreeable.

Vinny: He’s safer with her than some of the other characters he runs across.

Justine: Reading his stories on GatorGab is amazing, Uncle Stu leads a very interesting life for a retired gator.

Adele: He does have some interesting adventures.

Granny: He’s too trusting. He lets other people talk him into doing stupid things. So he’s not coming for Christmas.

Vinny: Katya told him he was welcome to spend the holidays with her if he would like. He thinks it would be a nice change.

Granny: Change from what? He’s never been to Stan and Adele’s. It’s our first Christmas here.

Vinny shrugged. He was disappointed his father hadn’t come with him, but knew that there was no point in arguing with him. His father was as stubborn an alligator as he’d ever met.

  • Pin on Animals, Animals, Animals

Suzy: Well, that’s disappointing. He’s funny and he tells great stories.

Adele: I agree, honey. Maybe we can invite him again next year.

The rest of the gators spent the evening catching up with Vinny. On Christmas Eve, everyone put their presents under the tree. They drank eggnog and at cookies while Granny told stories about Stan and his brothers when they were young alligators.

Justine, Suzy, and Danny listened intently. They loved hearing about Christmas at the swamp. Before long, it was bedtime.

Granny: You kids better get to bed. It’s time for Santa Claws to come.

Suzy: Oh, Granny! You know we’re too old for Santa.

Granny: I know, dear. But I need some peace and quiet. I’m not used to having everyone around. I want to be well-rested for the big meal tomorrow.

In the morning, they were opening their presents when there was a commotion outside.

Florida Woman Fights to Keep Her Pet Alligator Who Wears Clothes and 'Rides' ATVs - ABC News

Adele: What is all that noise?

Stan: It sounds like sleigh bells.

Adele: We live in South Carolina. It can’t be sleigh bells.

Justine: It’s definitely bells.

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Someone knocked on the door. Then rang the doorbell. And rang the bell again. And again.

Adele: Hold on. I’m coming.

She opened the door.

Adele: Stu! What are you doing here?

Stu: I thought I was invited for Christmas. Today’s Christmas.

Adele: You were invited. But you told Vinny that you were staying in Florida. With Katya.

Stu: I never said that. I said I wasn’t coming with him.

Vinny: Dad, you said you were staying there.

Florida woman shocked to find 'aggressive' eight-foot alligator knocking on her door | Daily Mail Online

Stu: I did stay there. But now I’m here. Can I come in?

Adele: Of course. How did you get here? Did you drive by yourself?

Stu: No. Katya drove me. She has an excellent sense of direction.

Adele: Where is she?

Stu: I told her she wasn’t invited. She’s in the car waiting for me.

Granny: Stu! You’re an idiot. Tell her to get in here. It’s Christmas. We’re not going to make her wait in the car after she was nice enough to bring you all the way up here.

American Alligators resting

Stu: Okay. I didn’t want to impose on Adele. You’re really going to like her.

Stu went out to the car and invited Katya in. She explained that Stu hadn’t told her that he was supposed to be going to a big family Christmas. Once she found out what he was missing, she insisted on driving him up so he wouldn’t get lost. Her own family was celebrating later in the week so she wouldn’t miss anything by helping Stu.

Stu acted as if nothing unusual occurred. He sat at the head of the table and got the biggest slice of roast beef.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

21

Gator Family Christmas

130 Alligators Etc. ideas in 2021 | crocodiles, alligator, animals wild

Stan and Adele and their daughters Justine and Suzy are hosting the family Christmas this year. Most of the relatives from south Florida will be coming to South Carolina for the festivities. You can read about their family reunion here and here.

Justine: I’m so excited! I can’t believe Granny’s going to be here for Christmas! When are they arriving?

Adele: Your Uncle John is supposed to be driving everyone up the week before in his camper.

Suzy: What about Cousin Danny? Is he coming?

Adele: He’s in school until that Tuesday. So he’ll be coming separately.

Alligators avoid some beaches but not all

Stan: Cousin Vinny’s going to be able to get some time off from the resort for the holidays. So he and Uncle Stu will be coming separately. They won’t be staying as long.

Adele: Thank goodness! I was afraid Stu was going to try to find the house by himself, and we’d never see him again.

Justine: It is kind of scary how bad his sense of direction is. We’re friends on GatorGab. Last week, he was walking on the beach and was partway to Daytona before he realized he missed the turn into his subdivision.

Adele: We should probably start cleaning so we can get everything decorated before they get here.

Alligator basking in the sun | One of the alligators at Sant… | Flickr

Suzy: Where is everyone going to stay? Our house isn’t that big.

Stan: I’m renting a sauna. They said it feels just like southern Florida in the summer.

Justine: Oooh! That sounds nice.

Stan: And I’m going to set up a sunlamp in the basement.

Granny Gertie arrived with John, Jacob, and Norm a few days before Christmas.

Suzy: Hi Granny! Did you have a good trip?

Hungry, hungry... alligator? Reptile 'crashes' Florida picnic, chows down on burgers - New York Daily News

Granny: It was long. Your Uncle John doesn’t really believe in taking rest breaks while he’s driving. I feel stiff.

John: Mom, you’re an alligator. You always walk like that.

Norm: Besides, it would have taken forever if we had stopped every time you wanted to. You wanted to eat every time you saw a picture of food.

Granny: It all looked so delicious.

John: How are things here? Adele, the house looks amazing.

Adele: Thanks, John. We’re doing well. Today was my last day of work before the holidays. We had our big potluck.

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Justine: Mom took swamp grass cookies. They’re always a big hit.

Adele: We exchanged “Secret Santa” gifts. Here’s mine.

She held up a package of “Roadkill Helper.”

Adele: Apparently someone thinks I don’t know how to cook.

Justine: You said your Secret Santa was that goofy chameleon. He’s just afraid of you.

Stan: You did threaten to step on him once.

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Granny: Don’t worry about it dear. You can give it back to him at next year’s gift exchange. Could someone show me where we’re sleeping? I’d like to take a nap before dinner.

The visiting gators settled in. Danny arrived a few days later. Three days before Christmas, Vinny and Stu still had not arrived. Justine was scrolling through GatorGab and saw a post from Uncle Stu.

Justine: Hey, guys. Uncle Stu says that he left for South Carolina yesterday. Has anyone heard from him?

Stan: No. Does it say anything about Vinny?

Neighbors spot monster alligator strolling through Myrtle Beach community | WPDE

Justine: He says that he is going to pick up Vinny and head here.

Suzy: He’s picking up Vinny?

Norm: It’s supposed to be the other way around. Somebody better call Vinny.

Granny: I’ll try to reach Stu. My brother has the common sense of a pumpkin.

Granny and Stan started trying to figure out what was going on while the others paced around the house. 

Granny: Stu got bored waiting for Vinny and decided that he would go to South Miami to pick him up at the club. He says he’s north of the city at a very nice lady gator’s house.

a congregation of alligators

Stan: So Vinny can pick him up there?

Granny: He’s not sure he wants to come anymore. He thinks she might be his soul mate. I told him he’s an idiot.

Stan: Vinny wants to know what he should do.

Granny: He should pick up his idiot father and bring him to the family Christmas.

Justine: Maybe we should invite the lady gator too. Uncle Stu just changed his relationship status to “It’s Complicated” on GatorGab.

Granny Gator began to make a low growling noise deep in her throat.

Next week: Will Uncle Stu and Cousin Vinny make it to South Carolina for Christmas? (see part 2 here)

Santa gator: Woman allowed to keep pet alligator in home - ABC7 New York