Groundhog Day: Predicting Spring and Shadow

Groundhog picture from WikipediaYou just can’t have a garden blog and not post something on Groundhog Day. I am fairly certain there is a law about it somewhere. I mean after all, for us cabin fever crazy gardeners, the furry little buggers are the prognosticators of ultimate joy or supreme despair. Their legendary, albeit arguable, powers to predict the onset of Spring has long captivated those who wish only to see the sight of something green again.

I am happy to report that both the nearby “official” groundhogs, Buckeye Chuck and the ever famous Punxsutawney Phil, did NOT see their shadow and according to lore, Spring will be kicking the lazy, good for nothing ass of Winter out of here any day now.

This may not seem like an event of any real note, but when you consider that good old Phil has seen his shadow 97 out of the 111 recorded results of Groundhog Days, the fact that today was a shadowless day is a statistically momentous event.

Of course the question that pops up this time every year is “How the heck does a whole nation come to annually and avidly watch for the shadow of an overgrown rodent?”

Blame it on the Germans. Groundhog Day stems from a legend that the badger watches for his shadow on Candlemas (which falls around February 2nd). When the Germans migrated to America, there wasn’t always a badger handy so groundhogs were chosen as the next best thing.

In the end, we gardeners don’t really care where the tradition came from. We really just hope that the little, furry guys are right.

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