OAK HAMMOCK MARSH - In a shocking turn of events, Manitoba is in for another six weeks of winter.
Manitoba Merv, the groundhog hand-puppet that resides at Oak Hammock Marsh, interrupted his slumber Saturday morning and was able to see his shadow, despite suffering from the handicap of being an inanimate object.
The use of a prognosticating puppet is necessary because groundhogs -- also known as woodchucks -- hibernate in Manitoba.
"They wouldn't wake up anyway. When they're in hibernation, their body temperature is about zero and their heart rate goes down to about five beats per minute," said Jacques Bourgeois, marketing coordinator for Oak Hammock Marsh.
Merv, a golf club cover, is named after Merv Farmer, former owner of the Stonewall Argus. The puppet has never made a mistake, said Bourgeois.
But he has been lost. Oak Hammock Marsh once had to order a new puppet – Manitoba Maria – after Merv was misplaced.
Maria now resides in a drawer in Oak Hammock Marsh’s offices, where she never has the opportunity to see the light of day, let alone cast a shadow by it.