6

There’s No Place Like Home

 

Image result for groundhog images

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.)

Image result for animals traveling cartoon

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.)

 

 

 

6

Is WordPress Specie-ist?

As I was wandering through some blogs a few days ago, I made a discovery. There are a lot of blogs about/by cats. Which makes sense, since everyone knows cats are the original Internet stars. There are probably an equal number about dogs, although I really didn’t do a full recon on that. In fairness, for me size matters when it comes to dogs. Generally speaking, I prefer those of 40 pounds or more.

Of course, I found some posts about hedgehogs. Lord Nelson (my hedgehog) seemed to be the predominant recurring character. I guess grumpy and spiny is not for everyone. In fairness to Horatio, though, he has stopped huffing at me.

The only thing I found for bears were some very nice photos, but nothing with any personality. Likewise for most creatures who live in the wild. Raccoons and bats made the cut for the cuteness or nuisance factor. Not exactly material for an ongoing storyline. I disqualified blogs like Cute Overload who have a variety of animals, but only pictures/videos intended to make you say “awwwww”.

Then I tried to figure out how one would put backyard critters in a blog. When I looked out the window this morning, I would have sworn it was November: cool, gray and rainy. Eureka! A story about how the little guys decide where to winter. Hint: most of them can’t afford the fare to Florida or Padre Island. If we’re quiet, we can listen in:

The fall meeting of the semi-rural/suburban animals was about to get started. Squirrel, the most energetic of the group, was getting ready to moderate. He looked around to make sure everyone was represented.

Then he frowned and pointed. “You predators, you know you’re not allowed at these meetings.” The coyote slunk off, but the rest stayed.

Fox: You never let us stay. What are going to say that’s so top-secret?

Squirrel: You know very well that the main topics of these meetings are food and safety. The last time we let you guys stay, you and raccoon spent the meeting whispering about which of us looked tastiest and which was the easiest to catch. We’re talking about winter survival today. Now scram!

Raccoon: We have to survive too, you know.

Squirrel: Maybe, but not by eating us.

Fox and Raccoon walked away. The deer made a circle around the little group to keep them out.

Squirrel: OK, does everyone have a den ready?

Woodchuck: We found a great place under an old tree trunk. My cousin Woody already claimed the primo spot under the deck.

Rabbit: Just remember, Woodchuck, we live in that complex too. Keep the noise down.

Woodchuck: What are you talking about? We hibernate all winter. You guys are the ones practicing to repopulate the world in the spring.

Mouse: We’re taking our usual spot in the walls of those two old houses over there (points to a couple of Victorian holdovers).

Mole: Well, be careful. There’s a couple of domestics over there that roam around a lot outside.

Mouse: Not to worry. The pointy-eared one spends the winter in front of the fire and the floppy-eared one only comes out to mess up the landscape. The human won’t stay out and play with him.

Squirrel: Are all of you going to fit in those two houses?

Mouse: Not a chance! But the older kids want to try toughing it out in the woodpile. I tried to tell them that the humans use those woodpiles in the winter. They think they won’t get caught. You know what it’s like trying to talk to kids.

The animals all laugh and nod.

Frog: It’s almost time for us to burrow into the mud for the season, so we’re set.

Snake: Same here. What about you, squirrel?

Squirrel: We’re splitting up this year. Some of us are going the usual route and sleeping in trees. But my brother Earl heard that attics are nice and toasty in the winter.

Mole: There’s bats up there!

Squirrel: Earl says they were all driven out over the summer.

Mole: But the humans will hear you.

Squirrel: That’s part of the plan. The mice will be in the walls and the squirrels will be in the attic. It’ll drive the humans nuts, but it will be too cold for them to do anything about it. We just have to get out quick in the spring.

Mole: I think the rest of us will just hang out at the club underground. It’s pretty cozy if we cuddle up. We mostly sleep anyway.

Squirrel: Well, it looks like everyone’s set. The community center has extra nesting material if you still need any. Otherwise, on to the potluck! Remember, you can take as much as you want, but eat everything you take. It’s the season for bulking up, we don’t want any food to get wasted. Anything you brought that’s not eaten, you can either take home or donate to the emergency pantry.

The animals disperse to eat and talk.

The humans have been inside commenting on how cute they all are. They don’t realize they are about to be invaded.