Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Rodents Who Divine the Weather
Groundhog from Wiki
Well, it was not unanimous; out of Balzac Billy, Buckeye Chuck, French Creek Freddie, Saskatoon Evan, Malverne Mel, Woodstock Willie, Jimmy the Groundhog, Octoraro Orphie, Staten Island Chuck, Wiarton Willie, Shubenacadie Sam, and Punxsutawney Phil, 6 predicted an early Spring, and 7 predicted six more weeks of Winter.
So, I guess the jury is still out. Our Winters in North Bay tend to be long, no matter what the prediction, so I will let the birds, trees, and insects tell me when Spring is here ;)
I found an interesting article on the CBC about the lore of Groundhog Day:
It's always been a pack of lies, of course, but it's fun, and we need fun if we are to survive another Canadian February.
Groundhog Day was inspired by an old Scottish couplet:
"If Candlemas Day is bright and clear/ There'll be two winters in the year."
How groundhogs got a reputation for predicting weather patterns is a mystery, because they are not the least bit interested in their shadows or the number of winter weeks remaining. The only reasons they come out of hibernation are for food and sex.
German settlers in Punxsutawney, Pa., are said to have started the tradition of watching if a groundhog sees its shadow in 1887, thus the fame of Punxsutawney Phil, the first underground rodent given credit for predicting winter's future course.
In Canada, it was 1956 before Wiarton Willie became a household name for his early February prognostications. Wiarton is a pretty town of 2,300 on the Bruce Peninsula between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. This being an expansive nation, there are other groundhogs in other
jurisdictions. Nova Scotia has Schubenacadie Sam, who's the first in the country to rear his head on Groundhog Day.
Read the rest of the article here.