The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘nature’

End Groundhog Day in NWO!

Saturday was February 2. That’s a VERY IMPORTANT day for two-leggers in Canada. They call it… GROUNDHOG DAY.

When Elizabeth and Kay were discussing it over breakfast, they thought I was asleep having pleasant doggie dreams. But I wasn’t. Despite the fact that I had just had my breakfast and two chicken balls laden with morning meds, I was not above perking up when I heard the words ‘gound hog’. I began to drool in anticipation of the delicious dripping I would get over my evening meal if Kay cooked ground hog through the day. What a delightful repast to come home from work to! Yeeuummm!

My head was resting on Elizabeth’s feet – they make a wonderful pillow. I guess she felt my reaction. She pushed her chair back, my head went THUMP on the floor and Elizabeth delivered another rude awakening:

“Groundhog, Stella. Not ground pork. GROUNDHOG.”


“They’re outside…”

“What! In this weather?” I’ve stood in front of the deep freeze when she’s opened it to get two-legger food out of it. It’s like standing in front of a bonfire compared to the temperatures outside today! And, I’ve seen pictures of hogs. They’re like two-leggers on four legs, with one major disadvantage in weather like this… Unlike two-leggers, hogs don’t seem to have any removable wool that they can put on their nearly wool-free bodies when it gets really cold.

I shivered in sympathy with my envisioned hog. Yes, they taste good, but the fact that I enjoy eating them doesn’t mean I enjoy the thought of them suffering!

“Groundhog, Stella. Not pig.”


“They’re those garden-raiding, tubby rodents that chirp so loudly when you chase them into the culvert in the summertime.”

Oh... That kind of Groundhog...

Oh… that kind of Groundhog….

Oh, of course. I knew that. I just haven’t seen one for months. Which begs an obvious question: “Why do they call today Groundhog Day? You two-leggers don’t have Dog Day, yet you seem to really like us and want us around all the time. Then when some thieving rodent isn’t anywhere in sight, you decide to commemorate it by giving it a day all of its own? As if you miss it? I don’t understand.”

“It isn’t really the animal we are honouring, Stella. It’s our way of remembering what the groundhog does on the second day of February.”


“Some animal behaviour is very predictable. Like bird migration. Birds almost always return on the same day every year, year after year. Sometimes they’re off by a day or two, but usually you can set your watch by them.” Elizabeth looks at her watch to tell two-legger time. She’s exaggerating a bit with this statement, but I understand what she means. “In some parts of the groundhog’s range, they come out of their burrows on the second of February to see what the weather is like. We believe that, if the groundhog sees his shadow, it is so badly frightened by it that it dashes back underground for another six weeks. That means that there is another six weeks of winter coming. If it doesn’t see its shadow, then “Spring has sprung, the grass is riz…”

Well that got my tail thumping hard. What a ridiculous thing to think, that we would EVER have green grass in February! BOL! It is -38C out there this morning [Scribal note for US readers: -36.4F]. Without the windchill!

Trust me, two-leggers. If that little root-grubbing, leaf-eating, garden-robbing fur ball is cozy in his burrow on a day like today, he isn’t coming anywhere near the surface to see what the weather’s like anytime soon! And when it does get warm enough for him to raise his chubby little cheeks above ground, it won’t be his shadow that chases him back to where he came from, no sir!  -:o[=

Trail Packing: Wordy Wednesday!

I tried really hard to get this up for yesterday. Turns out I’m really a techno-peasant pup. I had to give up my ambitions as a documentary producer and turn the project over to my scribe. To my relief though, even she had trouble putting this together for you. She had to break it into two parts to get it to work. That’s all right, though, isn’t it…. Now you can take a quick break for water and treats in between films!

Every winter, Elizabeth packs trails for us to walk on instead of using the big gravel path. It gets slippery, and the growly beasts drive too fast on it, so it becomes dangerous for us to walk on it. Sometimes when black growly beasts pass us, I leap at them. I really hate black. It’s a colour filled with danger. So, I need to protect my two-leggers from it. Problem is, the big gravel path is so hard and slippery that sometimes I fall, or my two-leggers lose their balance and fall, or the growly beasts slide trying to avoid us. One of these days, someone will get hurt….

Elizabeth’s solution is to make us trails through the forest. They are much easier on the paws and I don’t need to stay on a lead. I can forge ahead, scouting for danger without dragging my two-leggers along in my wake. We all enjoy that much more.

The snow is late this year (we didn’t get enough at all last year!), so we’re getting off to a late start on the trail project. But this weekend, Elizabeth packed two. I asked her if we could make a documentary about the process so those of you who don’t have snow or webbed paw extenders like Elizabeth’s can see how it’s done. I hope you enjoy our little feature. It’s about 51 dog minutes long (that’s just over 7 human minutes… BOL!). It took us longer to pack the trail, but we didn’t show you everything. It took us MUCH longer to put the film together. Whew…!

They Set the Clocks Ahead too Far!

I’m overdue for Spring Blow-Out.

No, that isn’t a major annual digestive event. And no, Elizabeth is not having a big Spring Sale at the bookshop.

It’s hot outside, and I still have all my winter wool on. It’s time to blast it out of my skin and into the birds’ nests, wool bags and other various receptacles that can use it to more advantage than I can right now.

Last weekend, the two-leggers turned their clocks ahead one hour. But I think somewhere someone important put theirs ahead a bit too far. It’s still supposed to be cold out for another few weeks. And yes, I am complaining. I’m too hot!

Squawky White flappers - they look whiter from underneath...

Squawky White flappers - they look whiter from underneath...

It must’ve been Someone Really Important, because the summer flappers are coming home early, too. On our walk to the Cathedral last night after work, Elizabeth and I watched the white squawky flappers flying over the harbour. What’s that about? Don’t they know it’s too soon? They aren’t supposed to come here for another two weeks almost! And as we crossed one of the big bridges on the way to work today, I saw long-necked flappers swimming in the water below (it was warm enough that my car window was down for the trip). They weren’t my long-necked flappers, ’cause they weren’t calling hello to me; my long-necked flappers have more sense to be home this early, I like to think.

There are huge patches of the yard without white stuff on them now. The river looks like it’s thinking about turning splashy soon. It shouldn’t go splash for another month at least!

Balsam Firs - How can anyone NOT like Winter?

Balsam Firs - How can anyone NOT like Winter?

Winter is my favourite time of year. I love the cold. I love the white fluffy stuff. I love running through it and diving into it and lying in it and eating it…. I’m really upset. Where was Winter this year? Did I miss it? Who stole Winter? GRRRRRR.

So, I am forced to stage a protest. I’m having my biggest Spring Blow-Out ever. If you come into the bookshop and see a big white ball of wool rolling through the aisles, that’s just the beginning. Forget about dust-bunnies this Spring, two-leggers! The DUST-HARES are about to invade!

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