Blueberry Lane Herb Farm
Bye Bye Blues
Guinevere stood in the mirror and wondered what that noise was. She was so busy admiring her long white fur. She had just curled it with recycled cardboard tubes. She stretched her paws up to fluff her lovely locks.
There it goes again. That noise?
“Jeepers, there’s buttons scattered on the floor. I wonder where they came from,” pondered Guinevere.
She twirled around in the mirror and bent over to polish her shoes.
There it goes again. `
And there goes Guinevere’s dress! “OH MY STARS!” shrieked Guinevere. “My dress fell off! Gosh, it must have shrunk in the washing machine! Dagnabit, I wanted to wear this to a party! Hmm, I bet Coral Bell can fix it.” With faith in Coral Bell’s sewing magic, she changed into her billowy night gown to get ready for bed.
The next day, Rasmus and Pedro were ultra-lazy. Guinevere lounged with them in her nightie all day.
Meanwhile, Tilly energetically flew from window to window and up and down the stairs. When she took a break, she practiced her opera singing. All this activity was getting on everyone’s nerves.
“Tilly go take a nap! Get in your birdcage and be quiet,” bellowed Rasmus.
Tilly flew a low dive over Rasmus’s head. She perched on the sofa next him. There were crumbs all about from snacking. Pedro and Guinevere were munching on Small Pet Select Curly Q sticks with Rasmus. “You three! You’re lazy daisies. Get up and do something. Being active keeps up your energy.” Guinevere quickly reacted, “Tilly, it’s Sunday. It’s goof off day. Besides, it’s too cold to play outside, and there’s nothing to do inside.” Rasmus and Pedro nodded in agreement while they noshed on Pedro’s hay stash that was hidden under the sofa cushion.
“Being a lazy daisy makes you feel lazier. Guinevere, I was spying on you, and I saw you pop your buttons off your party dress. Do you know why they popped off? You’re pudgy from being lazy, that’s why. So are you Rasmus and Pedro!”
Tilly stood as tall as she could and puffed up her chest, “Look at my slender figure! I’m slender because I’m active. I fly all around the house. It’s exercise. That’s what you all need. Old fashioned exercise. Tomorrow is a new day and I have a plan.
Here’s your marching orders:
- Rasmus: set the alarm clock for 6 AM, make sure everyone is in the living room by 6:15 sharp!
- Guin: wear something stretchy and tie up your long guinea pig fur in pig tails.
- Pedro: you can’t stay up all night like other chinchillas. You have to be awake early.”
All three of them rolled over and grumbled. They moaned and protested. When Tilly flew upstairs, the trio started planning. How could they get out of her foolish plan? They whispered back and forth, scheming an escape route. Pedro suggested they hide in the barn. That would be too cold, even under Boulder Hills’ horse blanket. Guinevere thought they could hide in the attic, but none of them could reach the door knob. They were running out of ideas.
Suddenly, with a quick start, Rasmus sat up. He turned his tall ears this way and that way. That only meant two things. Either he heard something, or he was seriously thinking. He’s a very clever bunny.
Rasmus piped up, “The only place to hide is under Coral Bell’s bed. Tilly will never find us there. I’ve never seen her fly that low.” He thumped his rear leg, the sign that the plan was settled.
Toot Toot Toot!
Monday morning, 6 AM sharp, and Tilly sang reveille from her stage, the piano bench. Not a round rabbit, a chubby chinchilla or a rolly polly guinea pig was in sight. She sang reveille again. No one showed up. She decided to search for her students. “Where could they be? They are late, late for a very important date,” she puffed to herself.
Tilly impatiently flew up to the third floor. She checked every nook and cranny in the sewing room. She flew down to the second floor. “What was that? That’s odd,” she thought she heard Coral Bell whispering. She hovered outside Coral Bell’s bedroom door. She did not dare enter it. No one went in there, it was sacred. It was the only room Coral Bell wanted all to herself - one room without fur and feathers!
Silently, Tilly peeked into Coral Bells room. Being a parrot, she has superior vision. She spied something furry sticking out from under the bed. Then it wiggled. Then it swept side to side across the rug, and again it swept side to side. Tilly recognized that fur. She recognized that nervous, swishing pattern.
Toot Toot Toot! Toot Toot Toot! Toot Toot Toot!
Coral Bell sprang up and exclaimed, “Tilly why on earth are you singing at this hour? It’s very early, are you OK?”
“What was that noise?” Coral Bell asked as she rubbed her eyes and stretched. Forgetting her manners, Tilly zoomed in to Coral Bell’s private retreat. She pecked at the fur that swished from under the bed. A rollicking commotion ensued. Coral Bell jumped up and slipped on the fur. She demanded to know, “Who is under my bed? Come out here right now!”
Six beady eyes peeked out from under the bed skirt. “Come out here right now. Rasmus, I recognize that chin of yours. Pedro, I know your tail anywhere. Guin, are you under there too? Out, all of you!” Rasmus and Pedro skulked out at a snail’s pace. “Ra-Ra-Rasmus, come back here and help me,” Guinevere whimpered. “My fur is caught in a mattress spring, come rescue me.”
Nervous Pedro started nibbling on the bed skirt. Rasmus scowled, “Tilly, get under the bed and help. Untangle Guin’s fur with your beak.” Tilly was not in the mood to help. She felt angry. She felt tricked. She wanted to be alone in her bird cage. Seeing the expression in Tilly’s face, Coral Bell encouraged Tilly to be kind, because that’s the right thing to do. With hesitance, Tilly went under the bed to sort out Guinevere’s tangled locks.
Sullenly they sat at the breakfast table, slumped in their chairs feeling ashamed. It was silent until………Coral Bell spoke. “I’ve been thinking about what happened. I see the winter blues have set in. It’s been cold and snowy for 3 months. I realize it’s too frigid to play outside, the snow is too deep, and all that. However, there’s plenty to do in the house, you just need imagination. It’s very important to keep your mind exercised by doing things.”
Coral Bell continued, “You need exercise. So, this afternoon, Tilly WILL host her exercise class and you all WILL participate. While she’s doing that, I’ll take Boulder Hill out for a ride. I ride Boulder every day, because it’s good exercise for both of us. After exercise class, you each need to think of a hobby or a craft to keep you busy.
Last but not least, every one of you owe Tilly a heart-felt apology. Tilly is very good to all of you. Guin, she styles your hair and gets it untangled every time you get in a mess. Pedro, she helps you with your English. Rasmus, Tilly always cooperates with your rules. Tilly is a blessing to all of us, and it’s important to value the gifts each of us bring to this family.”
The coocoo clock announced it was 2 PM. Tilly blared The Beach Boys music to ramp up the energy level.
She whistled from the piano bench. “Class is in session. I am Tilly Trainer. Welcome to my ‘tons of fun’ exercise class. Everyone get in a straight line in front of the sofa. We’ll start with stretching, so give each other room. Then we’ll exercise our hearts. It’s called cardio. Pedro, no nibbling during class, so stop sneaking hay from under the cushion. Best to work out on an empty stomach otherwise you’ll get a tummy ache. Do what I do, here we go!”
Tilly’s green wings stretched up and down, in and out. She leaned left and right, forward and backward. She hopped in place on one foot, then the other. That’s where it got interesting. None of them could hop on one foot. “Get out of the way Tilly, I’ll show you how to hop,” Rasmus shouted. Rasmus was starting to feel spunky and showed off fancy hopping moves. Off and on the sofa. From the sofa to the chair. From the chair to the piano bench. From the piano bench to the sofa. Guinevere and Pedro followed along. Rasmus showed off with a binky. He’s the only one who could do that fancy trick since he is a bunny.
“Hey!” Guinevere screamed “I’m out of breath. Let’s do something else. I know how to do sit ups. Follow me.” They all lined up on the floor. Tilly whistled to mark the start, then she counted, 1 and 2 and 3 and …….
“OUCH, Senorita Guinevere, I cannot do these. I keep rolling over”, Pedro whimpered. “ Es mucho hard, I am quitting.”
Toot Toot Toot!
“No quitters in my class! Let’s dance instead.” Pedro hollered, “I can teach everyone the dance of Peru. It is called the Tondero. Who wants to learn it?” Guinevere and Tilly followed Pedro’s lead. Rasmus hid under the sofa and watched until he saw how much fun they were having. He asked Guinevere to be his partner. “Yes Rasmus, as long as you don’t stomp on my feet with your big thumpers!” Turns out that Rasmus was a light-footed rabbit with gentlemanly etiquette. “You’re a good little dancer for a guinea pig. I’m impressed! This is fun. It feels like good exercise too.” Guinevere blushed and said enthusiastically, “Oh Rasmus, this could be our new hobby. This a so much more fun than laying around the house all day. I hope you’ll want to dance again tomorrow!”
Toot Toot Toot!
“Class, it’s time to end. We’re all puffing for breath, but first we must cool down. Let’s shake out our muscles”. Rasmus stretched out his legs, everyone was amazed at how long they were. Guinevere’s pig tails dangled on the floor when she stretched her arms to her toes. Pedro flopped on the floor, rolled on his back, and wiggled his front and rear legs about. They giggled at how silly each other looked.
Boulder Hill watched from outside and whinnied, “way to go pals, now let’s see what other ways you can chase away the winter blues! Maybe you’ll come out to the barn for a while too.”
Tilly played a ragtime song on the piano and whistled along.
Guinevere and Rasmus used their paws to write in the frost of the windows “snow, snow, go away, don’t come back til next December day.”
Pedro used his creativity to cut out paper shamrocks and flowers; he decorated the whole house with them to make it feel more like spring.
Then they bundled up in their warmest hats, coats, boots, and mittens and ventured out to the barn. Puffy streams of white from their breath floated in the air, just like Boulder’s did when he whinnied. In the barn, on top of the highest hay stack, they bunched up to talk with Boulder. Day-dreaming is creative too, so they wanted to imagine a springtime outing.
Boulder was a thoughtful horse; he loved to day dream too. His tail swayed with ease. After taking his time to wonder where they could go, he offered poetic thoughts:
“When the grass starts to grow, I’ll take you in the cart
Over the hill, to the pond, and share a berry tart
You can look for frogs and hedgehogs
You can look for daffodils and pollywogs
You must beware of the sly gray fox
You must beware of the flying hawks
You never know where they will stalk
For they are quiet as a windsock
The pigeons don’t have much to say
Even if I neigh and neigh
So please come back and visit every day!”
During the next few weeks, Coral Bell and her adoptees prepared for spring. Each evening, they huddled by the fireplace to plan the garden. They selected seed packets. They made maps with rows marked for the veggie and herb patches. Lastly, they marked their calendar for March 15: spinach, arugula, and parsley would be planted first! Then they marked each week in April and May with the rest of the spring plantings.
With Tilly’s inspiration, they chased away their winter blues by learning the benefits of exercising your mind and body. They used their imaginations and had fun while making plans that would turn into happy memories.
And here are some coloring pages! Just click to download.
You can also download this whole story here!