How to feed your whistlepig

So, you’re thinking about a whistlepig of your own? How do you feed her? What do you feed her? How much do you feed her? Well, Tamara and Jack, close personal friends and culinarians for Perry County Blossom, have done the math for you. (They’re PhDs. They’re good at math.)  Here’s their grocery list for the last five months:

  • 35 heads of cabbage.
  • 40 pounds of carrots.
  • 300 pieces of fruit (apples, pears, nectarines, etc.).
  • 150 cups of oatmeal.
  • Extra cucumbers, vegetable scraps, tomatoes from the home garden.
  • Uncounted pounds of salted peanuts in the shell.

Remember, the next time you hear, “Mom! Dad! Can WE have whistlepig?” You have some concrete statistics to show where their allowance will be spent right after your “only- if-you-take-care-of-her” riposte.

Previous posts on our winter/spring prognosticator:

Groundhog eating a carrot.
Nom nom nom nom nom as carrots, apples and peanuts disappear.  (Photo by Jack)

The downside to celebrity

It was just a matter of time before the paparazzi found Perry County Blossom, our answer to that other weather predicting groundhog in Pennsylvania. Below the tabloid  is the real back story from her caregivers Jack and Tamara.

tabloid cover

2013 marks the fourth year, and third hibernation since Jack and Tamara first saw Blossom foraging among the oaks. Jack started feeding her and over the course of the year, she learned to recognize his voice, her name and the word “Dinnertime!” He guesses she was a year or two old on their first meeting.

In spring 2011, she’d had a litter of five and then seven the following spring. When the babies were about the size of guinea pigs, she would bring the pups out to eat and Tamara and Jack would watch them play. This year, she didn’t bring the pups out.

Nursing the pups  is very strenuous for Blossom; taking a toll on her energy and any stored fat. When she emerges, she’s starving and will raid the garden and chow down on whatever else is available.

Jack, her personal chef, says Blossom loves anything juicy such as ripe pears, peaches, tomatoes, nectarines and melons. He usually gives her a half-cup of old fashioned rolled oats ( with a pinch of Sel de Guerande,  French gray sea salt), one apple, one carrot, one-eighth head of cabbage and six peanuts in the shell. Blossom also gets any spare cucumbers from the garden.

Jack says there is a specific order in which she eats: oatmeal, peanuts, carrots, cabbage, then the apples. She will not eat squash or any kind of potato and especially despises bananas. Blossom has put on substantial weight over the past month, an improvement over her first appearance this spring. She was thin and was looking a little less than healthy.

They are sometimes joined by Ratty or Fox, a gray fox. Fox gets two dog biscuits every night plus table scraps. As Jack said, “It’s a wild version of the nuclear family.”

Whistlepig and sidekick eat out (or in)

Readers are familiar with that blogally famous Perry County Prognosticator, Blossom the Groundhog. As good as her predictions are, she has been a little less predictable.

However, her spokespeople, Tamara and Jack, have sent new dispatch. Blossom has reappeared after spending the spring rearing a den of babies (pups? kittens? whistlepiglets?) Jack, an excellent human chef and vintner, was pleased to offer a spread that would delight any rodent of Blossom’s stature: cabbage, apples and peanuts. This time, Blossom brought a friend, the curl-your-toes-cute Ratty the wood rat, who was content with a bowl of oatmeal. Thanks to Tamara and Jack for the photo update!

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Ratty Solo

Groundhog Day 2

Punxutawney Phil, perhaps the nation’s most famous rodent since Willard, has spoken, predicting an early spring in his annual Groundhog Day ritual.

Not to be outdone, our local whistle pig, Blossom of Perry County, has her own opinion, according to a text message from her spokespeople, Tamara and Jack. Blossom’s verdict? Six more weeks of winter.

In six weeks, we’ll see which of the two groundhogs has better climatic foresight.

COOL LAND BEAVER -- Pennsylvania has its weather predictor. Perry County, Ark., has one too.
COOL LAND BEAVER — Pennsylvania has its weather predictor. Perry County, Ark., has one too. Blossom is way more stylin’ though.