Monday, February 1, 2010

You say potahto I say potayto… groundhogs or wood chucks, they all get their day in the sun.

L. tells me that Petey and Suzy did see their shadows this morning. Since we haven’t actually located or met any of the Groundhogs of Cricket Hill, the dogs are the nearest things we’ve got to go by. Anyway, six more weeks of …

Unfortunately, the National Climatic Data Center, located in Asheville, North Carolina has bad news about this prediction. Those good folks have evidently made good use of federal tax dollars by studying the accuracy of groundhogs’ predictions for the past 40 years and report only a 39% accuracy rate.
So reading about the history of GHD, it seems like it used to mean just a simple Winter Done Yet? Y/N kind of thing but then Christian Europe changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar and now even if you make it through the six weeks, winter still isn’t over. (In the old days 6 weeks was the actual calendrical end of winter). I don’t really handle the change-the-calendar thing well, cognitively. I find I have to just take it on faith, sort of like the international date line…

Anyhoo, Groundhogs of Cricket Hill makes me think of one of those fundraising calendars like Hotties of the Hartford Fire Department. Can’t you just see those Marmota monax showing off their little buff furry chests, standing on their hind legs, craning their necks looking for the damn shadows?

My friend W. Pedia tells me the darn things are also known as whistle pigs, an evocative name I’d say. Wiki P. has been kind enough to provide a table of famous groundhogs, 23 of them in all. Memorable names among them: Queen Charlotte, Sir Walter Wally, French Creek Freddie, Wiarton Willie, and Spanish Joe.
Which brings us to the unfortunate Mrs G. Some lame PR hack (like me) trying to get some publicity for a Mass. non-profit has spent the last several years promoting their own ground hog (“Mrs. G.”) for adoption by the state legislature as the official state GH. Evidently they haven’t managed to enlist any biotechnology trade groups to lobby for them and the thing hasn’t gotten any traction. What do you expect, going up against the likes of Sir Walter Wally with “Mrs. G.”

This blog’s brief hibernation seems to be over even though things are still pretty quiet out there on the hill. We’ll see; we do that.

(I’ve just reread this post and it sounds like I’m channeling Andy Rooney… scary.)

1 comment:

Green Key said...

Groundhogs - ack!! So cute . . . so destructive! Living with dogs, you wouldn't have direct experience of this. But if you don't have dogs, and your garden is not carefully fenced, according to specific anti-groundhog guidelines, you could end up like I did when I lived in Greenfield: a sad, frustrated gardener. First they ate all the lettuce, then all other veggies. Then they ate all my flowers! Even the echinacea flowers and leaves, killing the plants. They burrowed under part of the house - we had to dig them out. Ugh . . . groundhogs . . . boo!!