February 2 is Woodchuck Day!
According to standard legend, if it is cloudy when a woodchuck emerges from its burrow on February 2, and the woodchuck spies no shadow then the spring season will be arriving very soon, before the vernal equinox; if it is sunny on February 2, the woodchuck will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its den, and winter weather will persist for six more weeks.
What? No, no, no! This is all wrong, it is groundhog day on February 2, and the groundhog is the one to watch to find out if the groundhog sees its shadow or not.
One problem, however the groundhog with botanical name Marmota monax, is also called a woodchuck , or whistlepig. Marmot has etymological origins meaning “a mountain of a mouse”, or “mountain rodent” a marmot or being a large ground dwelling rodent. Monax meaning digger.
“The world’s a puzzle; no need to make sense out of it.” – Socrates”
So the groundhog, or woodchuck can grow between 0.5 to 1 meter ( 1-1/2 to three feet ) in length, and weigh in at 2 to 6 kilograms ( 5 to 14 pounds). They can be found on the forest edge, feeding on grasses, dandelion, chickweed, and clovers through the summer, and hibernating in the winter. They are a large rodent, but still belong to the squirrel family.
At any rate, whether the groundhog or the woodchuck sees its shadow or not, at this time of the year, February 2, it is midway between the solstice and the equinox, the dark days of the year are behind us. There are two solstice each year; in summer (about June 21) it is the longest day of the year and in winter (around December 21) which is the shortest day of the year. The equinox also occurs twice a year around March 20 and September 23 when the length of day and night are nearly identical. So groundhog day marks the changeover between the darkest time of the year in December the shortest day to spring or Vernal Equinox in March when day and night are on even terms.
“How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
or how about:
“Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam
So however you say it; Happy Groundhog’s Day, Happy Woodchuck Day or “Felicem Diem Marmota monaxi”, have fun this February 2!
Carry on with some great weather watching as in the links below! And the range in North America places the groundhog through central and northern Saskatchewan, so keep your eyes open for the groundhog in Saskatoon. As a groundhog is a part of the Squirrel family (Sciuridae), that even helps out for Squirrel Appreciation Day, which can be every day, after hibernation, once you find one!!!
If Man is the most advanced creature in the animal kingdom and the tree is the highest development in the plant kingdom, surely the fruit of the tree, rather than the carcasses of inferior animals, is the natural diet for man.~Richard St. Barbe Baker
Anecdata to share environmental data.
Citizen Weather Observer Program. Russ Chadwick. Apr 24, 2014.
Cooperative Observer Program. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA, National Weather Service
Groundhog Day Wikipedia.
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck Wikipedia.
I See Change: The Almanac Don’t Just Talk About The Weather… Document It.
The Local Environmental Observer LEO Network. The eyes, ears, and voice of our changing environment.
NOAA, National Archives team up with citizen-scientists to reconstruct historical climate of the Arctic Wednesday, October 24, 2012
* No Title Maureen with Latin phrases on Evil Genius Chronicles.
SatCam App Send in sky scenes to the Space Science and Engineering Centre SSEC, and receive a satellite image of the area in real time.
Yoder, Dan. Groundhog Day
Book Collection Nonfiction: Middle School Edition
Book Collection: Nonfiction
Publisher Stackpole Books, 2003
ISBN 0811700291, 9780811700290
Youth, Howard. Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington, Woodchuck (Groundhog) Marmota monax, Part 3
Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington, D.C.
Photographs by Robert E. Mumford, Jr.
Illustrated by Mark A. Klingler
Contributor Kirk Johnson
Publisher JHU Press, 2014
ISBN 1421412322, 9781421412320
Weather forecasting YouTube
“Not every puzzle is intended to be solved. Some are in place to test your limits. Others are, in fact, not puzzles at all…” Vera Nazarian
For more information:
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
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“…Man must resuscitate his planet with trees,
his heart with faith. So you simplified
survival’s creed. Your coniferous hope
sealed my discipleship. What Sahara
could resist your passion for verdancy? Richard St. Barbe Baker