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.

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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.

16

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(Please note that Cheeseland is not responsible for the content of these ads. It is solely the responsibility of the individual to determine the truthfulness of any claims.)

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Snoops and Kommando here – Next Thursday is Remember Me Thursday – it’s a reminder that every kitty deserves a forever home. Please do your part and adopt several cats. Kittens are acceptable.

11

Road Trip! The Gators’ Summer Vacation – Part 2

Image result for tennessee mountains

Al and Abby Gator have left their swamp in southern Florida for a visit to more temperate Tennessee. You can read Part 1 here.

Soon enough Abby and Al had a good idea of what the human’s desire to “go viral” was going to mean for them. It seemed like every time they started making progress on the drive, they would pull over. It was usually at a gas station or restaurant. The guy would get out and invite people over to see “his” alligators. Invariably he would draw a crowd of people to look at his “tame” alligators. It was totally humiliating, and the Gators hoped no one they knew would see it.

Abby and Al tried to endure it with dignity. It was terrible having a bunch of humans trying to put dirty hands on their bodies. It wasn’t even the children who wanted to pet them; it was the adults. Finally Al had enough. When one particularly obnoxious man said he wanted to “pet the suitcase-to-be”, Al snapped at him.

Image result for snapping alligator

The driver loved it. At the next stop, he showed the video of the “vicious” alligator he was courageously transporting. Luckily they arrived at Orlando before Al tried to discover how courageous he really was. They were dropped at the station for the Raccoon Brothers Regional Rail Lines.

Abby: Thank goodness! I thought we’d never get here.

Al (growling): It’s a good thing. The world was almost minus a couple of humans. Not that anyone would have noticed those two were gone.

Abby: Forget about them. I’m so excited! We’re finally on our way!

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Conductor: Welcome aboard. We don’t see many alligators.  May I see your tickets, please?

(Abby hands them to him.)

Conductor (looking at the tickets): Don’t think I’ve ever seen a gator go that far north. You sure this is really where you want to go?

Abby: Oh yes! I’ve done a lot of research. We can’t wait!

Conductor: Well then, have a wonderful time.

Abby: See how nice he was? He wasn’t even afraid of us.

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Al: I guess you’re right. This will be a good trip. I’m worn out from that horrible truck ride. Wake me when we get there.

(Al fell asleep almost immediately. Abby cuddled up next to him and was soon asleep too. A while later, the conductor noticed that their breathing had slowed considerably. Afraid of what would happen if they got too cold, he found a large blanket and covered them.)

Abby: Al! Wake up! Look out the window!

Al (mumbling): mmm…why?

Abby: We’re almost there. It’s very pretty.

Al (looking out): Where are we?

Abby: Tennessee, silly. Don’t you remember?

Al: What happened to the ground? It’s not flat.

Abby: I know! The conductor says that the little ones are called hills and the big ones are mountains.

Image result for pine tree forest

Al: And the trees look funny. Where are the palms and the cypress trees?

Abby: They don’t have those here.

Al: We better take pictures of it. The other gators will never believe this.

(The train stops and they get off. The sun is hot, and Al relaxes a little. )

Al: So where’s the swamp? I want to bask and warm up a little.

Abby: This is Tennessee. They don’t have swamps. They have rivers.

Al: You didn’t tell me they don’t have swamps.

Image result for swamp

Abby (nervously): I didn’t know they didn’t have swamps. I thought there were swamps everywhere, so I didn’t ask.

Al: What’s wrong, Abby?

Abby: Everyone’s staring at us. And I don’t see a single reptile anywhere.

Al: I’m sure they’re staring because you’re so beautiful. Where are we staying?

Abby (pointing): Over there. The Critter Comfort Inn.

(They enter the lobby. The lobby empties and the little opossum behind the desk faints. The gators look around, confused. The manager, a rather large raccoon, comes out. He is accompanied by two large bears.)

Image result for two bears

Manager: May I help you?

Abby: Yes, please. We have a reservation. It’s under Al and Abby Gator.

Manager (looking at his computer): Did you register online?

Abby: Yes.

Manager: What did you put down as species?

Abby: Alligator, of course.

Manager (embarrassed): There seems to be a problem with your reservation. It shows the species as “unknown”. The system doesn’t recognize “alligator.” We’ve never had one stay here.

Al (irritated): Is that a problem?

Manager: Unfortunately, it is. We cater to small mammals.

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Al: And you can’t make an exception?

Manager: I’d like to. You seem like nice folks. But like I said, we cater to small mammals. If word got out that we had alligators here, it would ruin our business.

Abby: Why?

Al (sarcastically): Because they think we’re going to eat them.

Manager: I’m sorry. But alligators do have that reputation.

Al: Fine. We’ll take our business elsewhere.

(The gators stalked out without eating anyone. As a gesture of goodwill they left a bag of their favorite treats, Boa Bites. They thought the mammals probably didn’t like snakes either.)

Abby (sobbing): I’m so sorry Al. I had no idea they’d be so specie-ist. They looked so nice in the pictures.

Al: Don’t worry, honey. We’ll hydrate ourselves in one of their rivers and take the next train home.

Image result for tennessee river

Abby: OK. But let’s go out of town. I don’t like it here.

(They found a nice spot with a soft sandy bottom. Neither of them realized that the night air would get as chilly as it did. They were unable to move when they heard a noise.)

Cub: Daddy, what are those?

(The gators looked up to see one of the large bears they had seen earlier at the Comfort Inn.)

Image result for mother black bear and cubs

 

Next time: Dinner Guest or Dinner? The Conclusion

 

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

6

There’s No Place Like Home

 

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Mr. Groundhog was getting ready to build his den for the winter. It had been a warm autumn but cold weather was predicted.

Mr. G: Dear, would you prefer moss or dry leaves to sleep on this winter?

Mrs. G: Sorry, I wasn’t listening. What did you ask?

Mr. G: What type of bedding do you want in the winter den?

Image result for groundhog winter den

Mrs. G: We don’t need a winter den.

Mr. G: Of course we need a den. If we don’t have one, we’ll freeze to death.

Mrs. G: Don’t you remember? We’re traveling this winter.

Mr. G: We’re groundhogs. We sleep all winter.

Mrs. G: Of course we’ll sleep. We just won’t do it at home.

Mr. G: Have you been eating those old berries? You’re not making sense.

Mrs. G: Didn’t I tell you about den2den? You travel to another state and spend the winter in someone else’s den.

Image result for rabbit winter warren

Mr. G: That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. Why would I want to sleep in someone else’s den?

Mrs. G: In the spring you get to see a different part of the country.

Mr. G: Great. Foreign grass. Where did you get this wonderful idea?

Mrs. G: From Margaret. Someone told her about it.

Mr. G: Margaret’s crazy, you know. Do I have to listen to her the entire trip?

Mrs. G: As a matter of fact, you don’t.

Mr. G: Are they going somewhere different?

Mrs. G: Actually, they’re not going. Bob said it was a stupid idea and refused to sign up.

Mr. G: I knew I liked Bob. I’m not going either.

Mrs. G: It’s too late. I’ve paid in full. In fact, the shuttle will be here shortly.

(Mr. G grumbles and paces. Before too long he hears wheels.)

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Mrs. G: C’mon dear, it’s time to go. Are you packed?

Mr. G (sarcastically): My spare fur is at the cleaner.

(They sleep for the entire trip.)

Driver: Well, here we are.

Mr. G: Where is here? I’m freezing.

Driver: Not really sure. I just follow the GPS.

Image result for gps map clipart

Mr. G: So where is this den?

Driver: Right over there.

(He points to a small opening at the bottom of a hill.)

Mr. G:That doesn’t look like a groundhog den.

(The driver looks at his printout.)

Driver: Says here it belongs to a mole.

Image result for mole animal

Mr. G: I thought it was den2den. Moles live underground. They don’t have dens.

Driver: Hmmm. Guess there was some kind of mix-up.

Mr. G: So fix it.

Driver: I’m just the driver. You need to talk to your agent.

(Mr. G looks at Mrs. G.)

Mr. G: Who’s our agent?

Mrs. G: I don’t know. I bought the booking from Margaret.

Driver: That’s against the rules. You couldn’t stay here even if you wanted to.

Mr. G (gritting his teeth): So what do we do now?

Driver: Well, let me think.

(He makes a couple of phone calls.)

Driver: The Mouse House and Rodent Inn are both full. You probably don’t want the Fox Den or Eagles’ Nest. How’s the park sound?

Image result for backyard

Mr. G: Fine. We’ll make arrangements to get home in the morning.

Mrs: Margaret told me about a great ride service. You call a number and an animal will drive you in his personal vehicle. I think I have the number on my phone.

(Mr. G glares at her.)