Janet Harriett is often an editor, sometimes a writer, and always a lover of all things penguin. She is the senior editor at Apex Publications and editor-for-hire specializing in science fiction, fantasy and horror.

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Marmota Watch '12 is ON!

Happy vernal equinox! Spring has sprung early around here. As proof, this afternoon, I had the first unconfirmed sighting of Woodrina, the resident groundhog, making this the earliest-ever start to Marmota Watch. I'd named the marmota in residence Woodrow when we moved in, but for the past two years, the groundhog has been spotted late in the summer with a second groundhog, which strongly indicates that she's female. Given the lifespan of the average marmota monax in the wild, Woodrina is probably not the original woodchuck, so I may have been right that the first one was male. If it's still the female living under the barn, she should be entertaining gentleman callers about now, so the 'chuck may have been the one in residence or the putative father of the forthcoming juvenile.

And, in answer to the obvious question, the woodchucks have lived next to a pile of wood for seven years and never shown an inclination to chuck any of it.

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