Monday, February 2, 2015

Never trust a whistlepig

Punxsutawney Phil decided on Monday that there will be six more weeks of winter. A ground hog weighing 20 pounds seems to be the weather guru. I personally have a bit of trouble with that considering that during my entire life on the farm, my father either trapped or shot the fat, marmot. Yes, it is a rodent but belongs to a family called large ground squirrels or marmots. Misnamed by my reckoning.

When my family went to visit the farm, we often slept in Mom and Dad's old bedroom. The window overlooked the creek bottom. I loved to wake to the mournful cry of the mourning dove. A sound that echoed across the dewy dawn. And, once in a while, a big old ground hog would be wandering along the creek. I had to wonder if Dad had seen the same, and if the life expectancy of said marmot was going to be shortened.

Old Punxsutawney Phil has a 40% rating in his forecasting. I have noticed with the global warming that he, too, is aware and adjusts his call closer each year. Of course, he really has nothing to do with it. It simply depends on the sun. If there is sun, there is a shadow. Now I'm not sure if he whispers to someone the exact length of winter, thereafter, of if there is some sort of way to deduce the length of the remaining winter months. It doesn't seem very scientific.

In my research, I learned that ground hogs in the wild live to be around six years. In captivity, they can live as long as nine to fourteen years. Which makes me wonder, if we could have had one as a pet. Since they eat everything from grubs to grass, seems they would be easy to feed. Since they hibernate from October to the day of weather prediction, their food bill would be lower. However, rumor has it that these land-roaming, tunnel burrowing creatures have a nasty temper. Hm. Negatory on that one.

Another interesting fact: Not only is the ground hog called a woodchuck, it is also called a whistle pig.  I found that Ohio has their own weather forecasting whistlepig known as  Buckeye Chuck. He is predicting an early spring. Just like on TV, weather forecasters just can't agree.

Never trust a whistlepig.

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