High: 33° FSaturday was the 121st Groundhog Day. For the eighth time in the past 10 years, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. We’re big fans of spectacle, so we can’t help but appreciate an event in which thousands of people turn out to hear a proclamation made by a rodent. Groundhogs (Marmota monax) are actually part of the squirrel family. But unlike many of their bushy-tailed relatives, they spend a good part of the winter hibernating (sorry for waking you, Phil!).
Low: 15° F
Conditions: partly sunny with increasing winds.
Groundhog Day originated out of the medieval custom of Candlemas, which marked the halfway point of winter with the distribution of candles in European villages. Here in Maine, people still echo a colonial couplet, "Farmers should, on Candlemas Day /Have half their wood and half their hay."
We’re more gardeners than farmers, and our wood supply looks pretty good. Try as we might, we couldn’t find any groundhogs in our area either.
So, undeterred, we went in search of our own shadows instead.
First we found the shadow of Ari’s totem tree, the white birch (Betula papyrifera).
Then my favorite tree, the balsam fir (Abies balsamea):
Next, we found the shadow of Ari’s house:
And our house.
Then, at long last, we found our own shadows.
We’re not scared, Winter. Six more weeks sounds just fine to us. Bring it on!