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February 02, 2012
Slew soothsays wet winter, soggy Spring
|Paul Archipley photo|
EDMONDS, Washington (STPNS) -- For starters, there’s probably no way to do a story about a weather-forecasting frog without throwing in a few bad puns.
So, we’ll just say up front that children attending Saturday’s GroundFrog Day festivities were ribbeted to the amphibian’s every utterance.
And if you were an adult and didn’t enjoy at least a few chuckles during the whole affair well, obviously, you must have already croaked.
The slime ball (and we mean that in the kindest way) of the hour was Snohomish Slew, the “Meteorologist Frognosticator extraordinaire” who, since 2006, has been getting the jump in the weather forecasting game on the East Coast’s better-known groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.
The weaselly little woodchuck emerges from his hole in Punxsutawney, Penn., on Feb. 2 to look for his shadow, which is his annual prognostication for six more weeks of winter.
Snohomish Slew, on the other hand, offers a throaty prognosis for the Northwest’s remaining winter outlook.
According to Slew’s scribes, who allegedly are fluent in frogese, depending on what Slew has to say we can either “brace for another six weeks of foggy, soggy and wet, or look forward to skies of gray, moist and breezy.”
His human counterparts in the meteorology game should be so accurate…
While Saturday’s Frognostication Celebration took place in Snohomish, the star of the show is an Edmonds’ resident, enjoying a pampered life at the Just Frogs Toads Too Amphibian Center on the waterfront at 300 Admiral Way, Suite 104.
Founder/President Thayer Cueter keeps the 3 ½-pound Slew fat and sassy with a daily diet of crickets and the occasional juicy earthworm for dessert.
Between Slew’s annual frognostications, Cueter uses him as an educational tool, taking him to local schools.
He’s lucky to have the work.
Slew, a bullfrog, isn’t particularly welcome in these parts, Cueter said.
An invasive species, bullfrogs were introduced to the Northwest in the 1930s as a food source. Those legs are made for more than hoppin’.
And, guess what, they taste like chicken!
Unfortunately, some escaped their breeding ponds, and they’re wiping out the local frog population and hurting a few other species as well. They’re officially banned here.
But Slew, about 8 years old and perhaps too tough to become some gourmet’s cuisses de grenouille, has found a steady gig, great hours, not too hard.
Last year, Cueter said, Slew grabbed the microphone and gave the audience an unequivocal croak, guaranteeing a wet six weeks.
“I was bowled over,” Cueter said.
This year, as some hundred frog fans waited breathlessly, he proffered a half dozen throaty little peeps.
“It was just a teaser,” Thayer suggested. “So I guess that means we’ll have a mixed bag for Spring.”
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