18

Groundhogs of the World Unite!

The opinions presented in this article are strictly those of the author. The do not reflect the position of The Cheeseland Times or its editorial staff. Groundhog Day was celebrated on February 2.

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Did you think that because they gave us a special day that the humans think we are special? You’re wrong.

Humans don’t exchange gifts on Groundhog Day. They don’t have cute cards for Groundhog Day. They don’t say “Happy Groundhog Day!” to each other. If you have been living underground, the entire point of Groundhog Day is to pull a member of several of our communities from their nice, warm beds to tell the humans how soon winter is going to end.

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They’ll tell you that the groundhog emerges from his burrow on February 2. Let me give you a clue humans. We go into true hibernation (low body temperature, slow breathing and heart rate, and low metabolic rate). We sleep from October until March or April in the northern places where you want to see us. We do not wake up on February 2 so we can tell you how much longer you will have to scrape off your car.

How on earth would we know when winter is going to end? Do they think the information comes from some otherworldly spirit with special knowledge? Do they think we inherit it with our other attributes? No. They think we can tell because seeing our shadow on the morning of February 2 has some special meaning.

They refer to it as “the groundhog seeing his shadow.” Listen up, humans. When you wake us up and pull us into the cold upper world, we don’t see anything. We are blinking, trying to wake up. The sun is in our eyes. The reason we look grumpy is because we are grumpy. You would be too if someone did it to you.

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The whole thing really irritates the female groundhogs. Do the humans think they always grab a male? No. They can tell the difference. They could change their stupid saying to “the groundhog seeing its shadow.” Get out of the 20th century humans.

They hold us up under the arms and show us off like some kind of prize. Do they think that’s comfortable? They’re lucky we’re not carnivores. We have to pose for pictures and video. Then they throw us back down our holes and expect us to go back to sleep. After they’ve woken up the entire family.

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We are more than furry shadow-makers. Let me give you a few facts about groundhogs.

We are part of the squirrel family. In fact, we are the largest member of the squirrel family. We are technically marmots. We are the big, friendly branch of the family. But not when we are woken from a deep slumber.

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We mainly eat plants. Clover is especially yummy. We also eat alfalfa and dandelions. Occasionally a slug or a snail is a nice treat. Nuts offer variety. If you’ll notice, humans, you consider several of those things pests. Do you celebrate our contributions to containing those populations? No. You want to see our shadow. You know, you have shadows of your own.

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As a proud member of the groundhog community, I’ll tell them when winter is going to end. Winter ends on the vernal equinox. That’s when there are as many hours of sunlight as there are dark because the sun is directly over the equator. This year that is on March 20th.

In the meantime: leave us alone!

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Gregory Groundhog

You may reach me at gghog@info.ghog or follow me on Twitter @gghog

 

(All pictures courtesy of Google Images)

 

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5

The Adoption of Bertie Turkey

 

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A flock of wild turkeys were strolling around discussing current events.

Turkey 1: Do you know what’s happening in a couple of weeks? It’s going to be Thanksgiving. Do you know what that means?

(The other turkeys look bewildered.)

Turkey 1: That’s the day that every human wants to have turkey for dinner.

Turkey 2: So what? They hunt for us every day.

Turkey 1: I was talking to a guy who was passing through. Apparently we have some kind of relative called a domesticated turkey. Humans raise them on farms just to eat them.

(The turkeys look appalled.)

Turkey 3: That’s barbaric!

 

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Turkey 1: He said that they have put together a team of freedom fighters called Freedom for All Turkeys (FAT). They are going to try to release as many turkeys as possible.

Turkey 4: What can we do to help?

Turkey 1: He wants us to let them know if we see any of these farms so they can set the turkeys free.

(They all nod and go back home.)

Wilma: Fred, I heard the most horrible thing today.

Fred: What’s that? (He’s scratching the ground looking for something.)

Wilma: The humans have something called farms where they raise turkeys just so they can eat them!

Fred: Relax. I’m sure it’s just a rumor.

Wilma: No, it’s not. There’s a group called FAT that’s trying to release as many as possible. We have to help.

Fred: What can we do about it?

Wilma: I want you and the boys to go to one of these farms and bring one of those poor turkeys back. At least we can adopt one of them.

(Fred sighs.)

 

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George: Dad, why are we out here in the middle of nowhere?

Fred: Your mother wants us to rescue a turkey from a farm.

Tim: How much farther is it? We’ve been walking forever.

Fred: It should be around here somewhere.

(Finally they see a sign: Tyler’s Turkey Farm 2 miles. They groan and keep walking.)

 

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(They walk up to a large fenced area.)

Fred: Well, I guess this is it.

Tim: Dad, this is stupid.

George: He’s right. Turkeys don’t fly a lot. But we can fly high enough to get over that fence.

Fred: Well, maybe this isn’t it.

(They hear a lot of rustling and gobbling.)

George: Nope, this is it.

 

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Tim: Is that one of them?

George: It’s huge! Guess that’s why they don’t fly away. That thing can barely walk.

Fred: You, there! Are you a domesticated turkey?

Bertie: Yep. My name is Bertie. Are you guys turkeys? You look like you haven’t had a decent meal in weeks. C’mon in. We have plenty.

Fred: We’re here to rescue you.

Bertie: From what? It’s great here. Nice grounds. Plenty to eat.

George: They’re going to eat you! That’s why they feed you so much.

Bertie: Oh dear! That’s not good. How do I get out?

(They look around.)

Tim: Look. A couple of the wires are loose here.

(They pull the rest loose with their beaks and pull the wires back to make a hole.)

Bertie (skeptical): You want me to go through there?

Fred: You have no choice.

(The two boys fly over the fence and push Bertie. Fred holds the wires back as far as possible. After much struggle, Bertie finally pops through.)

 

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They make their way very slowly through the woods, Bertie needing to stop frequently. What had taken a half day going took three days coming back.

So if you’re wandering around the Michigan woods, may just see Bertie hanging around with a bunch of wild turkeys. He looks about the same, although a lot lighter.

 

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(All pictures courtesy of Google Images)

WordPress says this is going to publish on Sat. at 6a.  It is now Sat. at 8p and I am manually publishing it.

9

Halloween: The Well-Dressed Cat

Editorial Comment: We at Cheeseland are not fans of cats dressing for Halloween. However, as a service to those who are, we have invited Tiffany Furreau, consultant on “The Real Cats of Beverly Hills” to show us the latest trends in cat costumes. Please do not let your humans see these pictures.

 

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Greetings from sunny Southern California! I’m Tiffi, stylist to the stars, and I’m here to show you the latest in cat fashion for that special Halloween party.

One of our very favorites is the classic Puss in Boots. You can be every lady cat’s dream date. Don’t you just love the feather in the hat?

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Want something a little more traditional? Witches are always a good look. And as you can see, it’s no longer a black-cat only costume. Party at your house? Add a bubbling cauldron and you have a sure-fire winner.

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Going as your favorite food can be a great conversation starter. The tongue is a nice touch if you’re going for the irony angle.

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Maybe a group of friends could join the fun. This lobster costume is just adorable. I would probably ditch the pot. It looks so common. Besides, you couldn’t circulate and enjoy the food and drinks.

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I think this burger costume is very chic. But I do think it rather overwhelms the poor kitty wearing it. I think it would be perfect for a Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest cat. And after the party, it makes the perfect bed.

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Don’t you think these three would make an adorable selfie?

 

You’re almost certain to be a hit if you dress like a human. What better way to start the ball rolling on how silly humans are than to come as a pilgrim? And the look on this kitty’s face is perfect.

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Editors: Thank you very much Tiffi for your interesting offerings. However, we aren’t convinced. We still feel that the well-dressed cat looks best in fur at home or a party:

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13

The Truth about Black Cats and Halloween

There are many stories about black cats and Halloween. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what they really do on October 31.

They make a list and check it twice

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Gotta make sure who’s naughty and nice

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First the naughty:

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Mouse in the bed here

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Missing candy there

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Making mischief everywhere

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Then the nice:

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Watching for trouble

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Protecting the treats

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Nuzzles and snuggles that can’t be beat

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At the end of a long night

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They can be seen

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Asleep in their beds, enjoying a dream

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This post is dedicated to Tigger, my parents’ first cat. She was a beautiful, long-haired tuxedo cat who would sit very still in the back corner of the porch and watch the trick-or-treaters. Every once in a while she would move, startling the kids who thought she was a decoration.

14

Cat Forum: Halloween Safety

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Snoops: Greetings, fellow felines. Welcome to Cat Forum where we catch the news that the others drop.

Kommando: Do you like that? The marketing folks thought we needed a slogan and that’s what they came up with. It makes me think of a dog sitting under the dinner table.

Snoops: Regardless …

Kommando: Seriously, Snoops. Do you want a slogan that makes the audience think of drooly dogs?

Snoops: We can deal with that later. We have a very special guest today. She is Captain Ginger McPhurrson from the Cat Safety Patrol. She is going to be giving us some tips about Halloween Safety. Welcome Captain and thank you for being here.

Captain McPhurrson: Thank you for having me. I would like to commend you for planning ahead. So many cats think that all you need to do for Halloween is get some kibble treats and send the kittens out around the neighborhood.

Kommando: See? The other people didn’t even get a chance to drop this. It’s a dumb slogan.

Captain McPhurrson (laughing): You may have a point there, Kommando. There are three things I would like to talk about: trick or treating, catnip, and humans.

First is trick or treating. If you are planning to allow your kittens to go out this Halloween, you need to go with them. The days are gone when the fathers could take out the kids and hang out drinking spiked cream while the kittens went door to door.

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Last year, we caught a band of cats who were ransoming kittens for tuna and other goodies. A whole neighborhood bought tuna steaks to get their kittens back.

Snoops: That’s terrible. Those poor kittens!

Kommando: Those cats should be sent to a dog shelter!

Captain McPhurrson: We agree. The important thing is that no kitten should be out by themselves on Halloween. This also applies to the 1-year-olds who think they are all grown up. No parent means no trick or treating.

Snoops: That is definitely good advice. What else do you have for us?

Captain McPhurrson: I want to emphasize that Halloween is meant to be fun, but catnip needs to be used responsibly. Every year the hospitals are full of hallucinating cats.

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Snoops: Can you tell us how much is safe to use?

Captain McPhurrson: Well, that’s part of the problem. Some cats don’t seem to be affected by it at all, while others seem to be “nipped” after a few leaves. We recommend that every party have at least one or two non-nippers. That way they can watch for friends who seem to be overly frenzied.

And under no circumstances whatsoever should catnip be given to a kitten under one year old.

Snoops: You said you also wanted to talk about humans.

Captain McPhurrson: Our best advice is to avoid them as much as possible during the Halloween season. Those of you who live in cat communities should stay in your neighborhoods. Humans are all wrapped up in their own kittens and don’t watch where they’re going. Besides, human kittens are scary on Halloween. They usually dress up so they don’t look like humans.

Kommando: The really funny ones are the ones that try to look like cats.

Captain McPhurrson: They are scary looking.

You cats who keep human servants have a different issue. Some of those humans will try to get you to dress up in little costumes or use you as a prop for their party. You shouldn’t sacrifice your dignity for the humans, no matter what treats they offer. Before you know it, you will be on Instagram or Facebook and all your friends will know.

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Snoops: That is a lot of really good advice, Captain. Thank you again for being on our show.

Captain McPhurrson: I enjoyed being here. I hope you both have a happy, safe Halloween.

 

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(All other pictures courtesy of Google Images)

2

The Easter Bunny Explains All

Hello, I am the Easter Bunny; the animal you see every spring. I would like to thank Cat for the opportunity to clear up a few things before Easter this year. I would also like to thank Kommando Kitty for giving up her spot as this week’s guest writer.

I am a rabbit; a real rabbit.

I look like this:

rabbits are everywhere don t worry i don t mean that literally they ... (not a photo of me)

Not like this:

The Easter Bunny Shoplifter Due In Court The Day After Easter [Video]

I understand that children like to see who brings them candy. However, I think it is important for adults to understand that I do not walk on two feet or have plastic eyes.

I use magic to deliver eggs.

If your children wonder how one rabbit can get eggs to everyone within 24 hours, tell them they don’t have to worry that I will get tired before I get to your house. I do pretty much the whole thing from home.

I used to be a regular rabbit. One day I was running from a small child and jumped down a hole. But it wasn’t a rabbit hole. The place was full of faeries. One of them flew over to me and said, “Thank goodness you made it! We were almost finished.”

I tried to tell her that I wasn’t her rabbit. But before I knew what was happening, she turned me into the Easter Bunny. My job was to find a band of bunnies from everywhere they celebrate Easter.

Those bunnies tell me how many children there are in their neighborhood who will be receiving treats. (Here’s where the magic comes in.)

I conjure enough treats for each bunny to deliver and make sure they get there in plenty of time to be sorted and tagged. (It’s a trade secret how the baskets actually get to the children.)

I don’t know Santa Claus.

I’m hibernating when Santa visits down here. I would never visit a place with that much ice and snow. Rumor has it he has a private island for his down time in the spring and summer.

I don’t have the same job as Santa Claus.

I understand where this idea came from. The Germans were the ones who dreamed up both Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. They decided that we would each decide who was naughty or nice. Then we would bring all kinds of goodies to the nice children.

They got Santa’s job right, but were way off on mine (rather surprising considering how precise they usually are). I originally was responsible for coloring (hen’s) eggs and distributing them. More recently, they added chocolate eggs and jelly beans.

Modern baskets are a combined effort.

Sometimes the parents help me by adding other types of candy to the basket. The home-made cookies and candies are particularly nice.

Any brand-name candy is not from us. I would never buy commercial candy to hand out. My bunnies are busy enough as it is. However, it is very kind of people to buy this candy for children (particularly someone else’s).

And a word about chocolate rabbits. We work hard to get the eggs and candy out. I really don’t appreciate people putting chocolate rabbits in the baskets to be gobbled up. Perhaps you could replace them with dogs or hawks, or something else that harasses rabbits.

Those pre-filled baskets that have been appearing in stores the last few years? An abomination! Not the pretty chocolate ones filled with chocolates. The big ones filled with ugly toys. No child should ever believe that the Easter Bunny is responsible for something that commercial.

If you want your child to have a toy for Easter, buy your child a toy for Easter. Let them appreciate that we both care for them.

Thank you for your time. If you know a rabbit who might be interested in joining my network, please pass their name along to Cat. We’re always looking for good help.

And of course:

Happy Easter Bunny Images Background HD Wallpaper Happy Easter Bunny ...

8

Easter Dinos? Seriously?

The store has an interesting ad running over the public address system. I don’t remember the exact words, but it says something like, “Chocolate bunnies are nice but why not do something a little more special? Give an Easter basket full of toys this year.” They are trying to get people to buy those cellophane-wrapped baskets that are in the center aisle of most stores this time of year.

I think they’re sending us down a slippery slope. If you give your child a basket full of toys this year, will he want to pick out what toys he wants next year? Then he will want cash because he doesn’t play with toys anymore. Or your daughter will want a new sweater. Before you know it, we’ll have Christmas in December and also in the spring.

Of course, they think that Jesus was actually born in the spring…..

As a chocolate addict, I’m probably prejudiced. But chocolate has no age limit. I asked my teenagers if they were too old for Easter baskets this year. They said they didn’t need the baskets, but still wanted the chocolate. My mother made Easter baskets for us well after the Easter Bunny stopped coming by the house.

Of course, Easter candy has degenerated some too. It used to be that the stuff in the basket had at least a passing relation to the holiday. Chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, jelly beans. I guess jelly beans are a bit of a stretch – are they supposed to represent eggs?

Now the candy section has Nerds and Smarties and Airheads and all sorts of generic candy. Maybe they’re going for a run against Halloween. Wouldn’t it be great if Easter became some sort of cross between Halloween and Christmas? Conspicuous consumption and gluttony. What could be more American?

Actually, when the kids were little, I put together Easter baskets and topped them with a stuffed animal. It worked out well. My son’s favorite animal was a rabbit. Back then, Easter was the only time you could find them. (Once he outgrew it, they were everywhere.) You had a choice of three animals: lambs, bunnies, and calves. Logical. All springtime animals.

Our display is expanded. You can get puppies, kittens, pigs, cows (adult), or pretty much any animal you might want.  My favorite are the stuffed dinosaurs. Are they included because they come from eggs so were probably born in the spring? Out of some sense that reptiles were not adequately represented in the Easter menagerie? Or is someone really confused and thinks there might have been a few hanging around Jerusalem a couple thousand years ago?

Speaking of animals, there’s still time to get your small pet their outfit for the Easter parade. They have furry ones if your dog or cat wants to be a chick or a bunny. They have butterfly wings. (It seems those were around at Halloween, but I could be confused.) There are also raincoats in the same display. I guess they wear it over the outfit if it rains on Easter.

There is an accessory with a picture of a cat on the hanger. It goes around the neck and looks like a clown collar made of tulle. At the points of the tulle are little bells. The cats I know (and have known) would be out of it before the bells would be of any use in announcing their presence.

Nothing for hedgehogs. Probably has something to do with the quills.

Our cats will be sleeping away most of Easter (like every other day), so I’m saving that money. I can spend it on molds to make Easter goodies (as the box says). These look like small cakes or cookies that then get decorated with fondant and icing. Which makes them more work than Christmas cookies.

There’s a cute cake pan. It says it’s for making a 3-D cake in the shape of a lamb. Aren’t all cakes 3-D? The problem with that type of cake is that you can’t slather frosting on them. You have to use a pastry tube to cover it with little rosettes of frosting. Various colors of frosting.

Thinking all this through is giving me a headache. I’m going to go eat some Cadbury eggs (the really, really sweet ones that look like they have a yolk inside) and fall into a sugar coma. I’m sure someone will wake me in time for church on Sunday.