Back east there’s a large rodent who gets all the glory this time of year for seeing its shadow and predicted six more weeks of bad weather. But here in Los Angeles, our remaining weeks of winter are decidedly less harsh. And since the local marmot population is relegated pretty much to individuals and/or zoological institutions, I’ve found our Russian tortoise Buster to be a far more accurate and available prognosticator.

Sure enough, emerging this sunny and warm morning and moving around for the first time out of her semi-hibernative state that began in November, Buster stepped outside her bungalow for a slow and solemn look around. As evidenced by her always-stoic expression below, if she could indeed speak she wouldn’t pronounce the continuation of winter, she’d tell me to go to hell and take the dang camera with me: