Monday, February 2, 2009
Six More Weeks
It's February 2, the day when we all watch as the most famous groundhog of all, Punxsutawney Phil makes a critical weather prediction. As he is pulled (rather rudely in my opinion) from his burrow, if he sees shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he does not, spring is on the way. Alas, today Phil's shadow appeared, so I suppose we must prepare for an extended winter season.
This interesting Groundhog Day tradition has been going on for well over 100 years. Phil has a team of top-hatted handlers, who care for him and his "wife", Phyllis, year round in a climate controlled den at a local library in Pennsylvania. Phil even has his own website, full of fun facts, games, and trivia. Check it out at www.groundhog.org.
By the way, you might be interested to know that groundhogs (also called whistle pigs for the shrill alarm sound they make), are rodents and the largest members of the squirrel family. They can be a serious enemy of farmers and gardeners due to their habit of ravenous feeding in fall and summer. This is a necessary phenomena, allowing the animal to become sufficiently "fattened up" for his long winter's hibernation.
As a weather predicter, Puxsutawney Phil's handlers claim he is 100% accurate. I'm convinced he's at least as good as our local weatherman!