Monday, March 24, 2008

Memo to Punxsutawney Phil

High: 35°F
Low: 8°F
Conditions: Mostly clear. Winds NW at 10-12 mph
Dear Mr. Groundhog,
Six weeks ago (43 days, to be exact), you predicted more winter. Here’s what our yard looked like on that day:

Here’s what it looks like today:
First, let us congratulate you for your meteorological prowess. Without radar, satellite imagery, or fancy maps of the U.S., you correctly surmised that New England would remain in a deep freeze. Well done.

Having said that, however, we have a small bone to pick with you. Now, don’t misconstrue us: we don’t mean to criticize your role as an oracle or even your actual prediction. We understand that you were surrounded by the media and middle-aged men in top hats and funny suits. We hear there was a crowd there of thousands—many of whom had been toasting your prediction for several hours before arriving on the scene of your stump all boisterous and reeking of indulging humanity. There were camera flashes and rudely placed microphones and other distractions. This was no doubt a stressful situation for any quadruped, let alone a reclusive rodent like yourself. You did what you had to do, and no one can fault you for the results.

But here’s the thing: your predicted six weeks of winter are up. They concluded at midnight last Saturday, to be precise. And, as you can see in the above photos, we’re no closer to spring here in Maine than we were in February. To make matters worse, we’ve endured all kinds of wintery precipitation ranging from good old-fashioned snow to ice to freezing rain to crystalline pellets not even an Eskimo could identify (and they have dozens of words for snow). It’s a little scary around here: too slippery for the caninaturalist to skijore or walk through the woods without cutting her forelegs on the ice. We’re trapped walking the same stretch of gravel road and, I’m not going to lie: it’s getting a little boring. Meanwhile, the local deer population looks hungry, and they don’t even bother bounding away when we see them in the fields. Ari really only cares about them if they are streaking across the horizon, and lately she just seems to give them a look of empathy before moving on. To make matters worse, the snow is so high in our side yard that both the red and gray squirrels can access our birdfeeders with ease. Frankly, we think they’re looking a little obese as a result. We’re worried about their hearts. At least I am. Ari’s worried they won’t be able to run around the yard and taunt her anymore. Where’s the fun in that eventuality?

Frankly, we’re all a little weary here in the boreal forest. We did our best to embrace the extra winter. Really, we did. Most of the time, we even enjoyed it. But, Phil (may I call you Phil?), enough is enough. My calendar tells me spring began last week. I hear there are places in North America where things are growing and blooming. That really excites us. We’d like to be reminded what that looks like. Whaddya say, O Venerable Woodchuck. Maybe we could give spring a try?

Thanks for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,
Kathryn and Ari


jan said...

Most persuasive. However after having spent most of my weekend pulling weeds that grow all year in this climate, I would welcome a nice killing frost to level the playing field.

The Daily Echo said...

I'm thinking the brown ball of fluff is about as acurate as our human weather people have been recently. How else can you explain the question marks on the weather reports we receive in Mom's inbox?

Me & my puppies said...

You know there is a difference between the first day of spring and the first day that feels like spring. Sometimes there is a month between them. We have no snow and buds are visible but it's still in the low 40s. brrr!

G Man said...

hey you guys,

I'm with you on Phil not havin a clue about the weather, how'd he get that job anyway?

It's supposed to snow here today and my mom's grumblin about not knowin why we ever left California...


The Army of Four said...

Blogger ate my first attempt at a comment. Hrumph!
Amber was born on Groundhog Day and has never missed predicting a snowfall - or lacking thereof (even when the biped meteorologists say we're going to!). Her forecasts are the only ones I put any stock in. No offense to Phil.
Tail wags,

Gus and Louie said...

Maybe we should fire the Phil guy so you guys can have a beautiful Spring..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus and Louie

JB's Big World said...

You are so funny! I guess Phil did not quite get it right, did he? Your snow should be melting by now. I hope it warms up soon for you!

Maverick the Pirate said...

Harrrrr Ari
Who said Phil was the offical one to say when spring comes Harrrr. yer Cap'n wants spring to come to Harrrrr
Cap'n Maverick the Pirate

sugarcreekstuff said...

That was a pants wetter. How's about we drive down to PA, double team it and kick Phils @ss.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Ari (and Kathryn)!

We have some green things growing right through the "extra" snow/sleet/ice pellets around here.

Or maybe they've been freeze-dried.


dmitri said...

Hey, what do you guys expect, living way up there? Save your whining and get out there and do something in the snow. All the same, the letter to Phil displayed a mastery of rhetorical devices and solid argumentation--including concession/refutation patterns.

Island Rambles Blog said...

So sorry about the snow Ari (and Kathryn)...but dogs are supposed to love the snow and roll in it and play in it.....we used to drive our dog up the mountain as she loved snow so much...hey ..send us your snow and I'll send you some spring time!! cheers.

Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

What do you expekht from a marmot (aka a whistlepig)?

Be ready - after winter - and mixed in with spring - don't you have MUD SEASON??

I guess that means lots of paw wiping for the bi-peds!

Welkhome Bakhk to K!
We've missed woo BOTH!!


Anonymous said...

Hey Ari, we're farmcollies. It's out job to keep our farm free of pests. You want we should take out the ground hog? Let us know.

Maggie and Scooter
Search & Destroy Team
Seasons Eatings Farm

Steve, Kat, & Wilbur said...

I think that having all that snow would be so great! It should be winter all year round. :-)


Kapp pack said...

Yeah, I was thinking I was going to need to pay Phil a visit....but her did ok since he brought us snow last Saturday morning!

Kisses, Sky boy

Simba said...

We seem to be back into winter here.

Simba x

brucesc said...

We haven't had any snow since 1989, so I'm enjoying your snow vicariously. Loved the humor in this letter to Phil. Good work!

Sandpiper said...

I love your post today! Your pictures on the blog are wonderful!

Here in CT, the snow is gone - for today anyway. ;-) My family lives in ME and NH and are still buried in the white stuff.

Thanks for stopping by blog and leaving such a nice comment, too.

Ali said...

Great post! Hey, I have a recipe for groundhog....


Farmgirl_dk: said...

Wow! You are back and you are in top form! :-) Funny post...crystalline ice pellets. jeez. Enough is enough, is right.
Did P.P. ever get back to you on whether you can actually call him "Phil"? It's clear that somebody has pissed him off and he's making us all pay. It was below freezing even here this morning.

Lorenza said...

Hi, Ari!
I like your post! I think not even Phil can predict the crazy weather we have!
Here we don't have snow but is hot, cold, hot, cold!
Kisses and hugs

Cody, THE Fussy Pot Pants said...

Hang in there Ari... It is perpetually summer here.. No variety to life at all. :(

Anonymous said...

It is about time for spring. (Your letter was funny!) I bet Phil was way scared of all those old guys in big hats and funny suits.

Mom said thanks for commenting on her book blog! :)

Barklove from

Twinville said...

Oh man!! You guys are getting clobbered up there.

I think everyone in the country is experiencing some sort of odd weather this year, though.

While our weird deep freeze snow seems to be over (crossing fingers and knocking on wood) we have now been lambasted by insanely gusting wind. I hate the wind. It unsettles me and takes away my peace.

Do you think that there will be a new tradition of a SECOND go-round of "Groundhog Day".

Kind of like a checking-in, to see if maybe there will be ANOTHER 6 weeks of winter....after the first 6-week winter prediction comes through?

What a terrifying thought.

Pippa said...

It's nice and sunny here, but then it usually is.

I do feel for you both though.


Marigold said...

Yep. Phil...Goethe with hair.