Does the groundhog’s prediction make sense to you? Let me get this straight….if the sun is shining and the groundhog sees his shadow, we will have 6 more weeks of grey skies and cold winter weather? Seems to me, more sunshine feels like earlier warm spring-like weather. This might explain why Phil, the groundhog, is only right about 40% of the time!
February 2nd is Groundhog Day so we’re going to talk about it during dinner. I love a good dinner discussion. This is not any ho-hum conversation starter such as, “how was your day?” Not only will the kids have fun learning new facts, but so will the grownups!
Did you know…
When is Groundhog Day?
The midpoint known as the cross-quarter day that falls between the winter solstice and the spring equinox is always February 2nd. With half the winter behind us, the question we want to answer is how soon can we expect warmer weather?
Who thought up this crazy event?
Taken from ancient traditions and later becoming the Christian celebration of Candlemas, February 2nd evolved into a day of prognostication (that’s a big word for prediction!) of spring weather. Like this English folk song expresses, there wasn’t an animal involved in the earlier traditions.
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.
But why the groundhog?
Hibernating animals such as bears, woodchucks, badgers and groundhogs emerge from their burrows around this time of year and so folklore evolved to include that if they saw their shadow, then there would be a “second winter.” German settlers in Pennsylvania started Groundhog Day in 1886. A group of businessmen and groundhog hunters formed the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club to commemorate this tradition and it has since become a huge festival.
Would you eat a groundhog?
Early Punxsutawney Groundhog Club members thought groundhog meat was a delicacy. It’s reported that it tastes like a cross between chicken and pork. Early settlers didn’t have the luxury of a grocery store to find meat. I wonder what else was considered tasty that we no longer serve today?
What foods do you think a groundhog eats?
I’d rather eat like a groundhog than eat one! Groundhogs love lots of good-for-you foods like nuts, greens and fruits such as berries, apples and stone fruits. They enjoy a healthy salad of dandelion greens, clover, lettuces and herbs plus any of the plants in my vegetable garden such as peas, broccoli, carrots and corn. Like most rodents, they will also eat bugs and grubs, grasses, and chew on bark.
What would you name a groundhog?
Punxsutawney Phil isn’t the only groundhog predicting the weather. The tradition is held in other areas of the country featuring Birmingham Bill from Birmingham, Alabama, General Beau Lee of Atlanta, Georgia and Sir Walter Wally from Raleigh, North Carolina. I have a groundhog who lives under my shed. I think I’ll name him when he emerges this spring!
What cool sound do groundhogs make to call each other?
Groundhogs are sometimes known as “whistle pigs” because they will whistle to attract mates. Otherwise, they spend much of their days alone, foraging for plants and grasses and digging burrows up to 66 feet long.
Why are groundhogs good for the ecosystem?
Gardeners and farmers don’t care for these rodents because they not only eat the crops, they create long burrows, disrupting the roots of the plants. On the other hand, these burrows are home for the groundhogs, offering protection against predators such hawks, black bears and coyotes. They raise their babies in them and even designate one area as a bathroom! Once the groundhog no longer uses a burrow, smaller animals such as chipmunks, rabbits and snakes move in. Plus, the digging of the burrows aerates the soil, which helps plants better absorb nutrients that help them grow.
How fast do groundhog teeth grow?
Wow, their top incisors grow 1/4 inch every month! They need to constantly gnaw on bark, sticks and roots to keep their growth in check.
Enjoy These Groundhog-Approved Recipes!
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