Friday, February 02, 2007

It's Ground Hog Day, ...but not here

(See pic for why Florida has no ground hogs)
We don't have ground hogs in Florida ... I suppose a stray may have shown up in the Appalachian-like Appalachicola region, but I've never heard of it.
So, the question is, how do WE predict winter's end point?
Basically, we don't since winter is a pleasant amusement here.
Oh we tried to come up with something.
Fiddler crabs have burrows, but they're so short, they don't cast much of a shadow either way.
Gopher tortoises have burrows, but being ectothermic reptiles they don't come out much when it's cold, especially since it's always a comfortable 70 degrees down in their burrows. They're just not reliable.
Armadillos make burrows, but they have such poor vision, seeing their shadow isn't likely to happen. That makes them a poor candidate too.
Lucky for us winter is no big deal, because we have no way of predicting how long it may last.
My Mom actually grew up a few miles from Punxatawney, Pennsylvania and graduated from Punxatawney High. So as a kid I visited Punxy and the surrounding area about every other year, but always in the summer long after the woodchuck had made his prognostication.
If it had not been for her personal connection, the idea of a "ground hog" predicting the weather would have been just one more bizzare northern culture item foist upon us via the northocentric Dick and Jane readers. Those books were full of strange things that we first graders had never encountered. We had questions ...lots of 'em.
"Mrs. Blackmer, what are galoshes?'
Mrs. Blackmer, can WE play in the snow?
Mrs. Blackmer, well, it snows there, why not here?
Mrs. Blackmer, what's a scarf? ...mittens? ... snow angels?
Mrs. Blackmer, why are Dick and Jane wearing so many clothes?
It was like reading science fiction about alien life forms.
If it weren't for Spot, I would never have finished the series.
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19 comments:

threecollie said...

I'll bet you are going to tell us who lives in that hole...

kevin said...

Looks like an armadillo has been rootin'. Does the hole go deeper?

Lightnin said...

Sometimes FC I question if you did actually finish the series!?!

Thunder is heading to Europe again right after a visit to the grandson, so maybe there will be new posts soon. Say hello to all of your family.

pissed off patricia said...

Hey, don't mess with Dick and Jane or Fluff and Spot. I have fond memories of reading those books because it meant I had finally learned how to read and would no longer have to beg adults to read to me.

Come on now, if you see a black wooly booger crawling, the direction he is crawling indicates what the weather will be. Just for the record a black wooly booger is a rather large black fuzzy caterpillar. :)
How they got that bizarre common name, I have no idea.

Have a great weekend!

Alan said...

The dog trying to dig up a pocket gopher again?

Did you get your pond back from all that rain last night? Mine's been dry for months. This morning it was as full as it was when Frances filled it up back in '04! From one storm!

I hear you about Dick & Jane and all that other northerncentric stuff that got foisted on us as kids. Snow, evergreen Christmas trees that don't grow within a thousand miles of Florida, sleighs! Next year I'm using a kumquat tree for our Christmas tree. It's an evergreen and comes naturally decorated with gold ornaments during the yuletide season.

.....Alan.

Laura said...

Maybe we need an animal to tell us when summer is finally going to end! LOL
How did you all fare last night with the big storms?

I've been trying to enter a comment for several seconds now but the letters on the "visual verification" are missing and I don't have a blogspot account.
here we go, trying again...

4th try now...
5th...

roger said...

there are redwood trees where i grew up in coastal central ca, but no snow, no mittens, no sleigh rides. all that white xmas stuff was a mystery to me too.

Thunder Dave said...

You crack me up!

Hey like Lightnin says, I'll try to get some posts out soon. I have to do them from work because we contracted a virus at home that we've had trouble recovering from!

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Good to see a post up and hope you had no family or friends in the stormy areas of Fla.

Growing up I never owned a coat, socks or mittens...didn't need them. I woke up to snow on the ground this morning.

kathy a said...

roger and abandoned beat me to it. i grew up in los angeles, and counted myself lucky to have had a few snow trips in youth. although, i didn't really have the clothing!

"go, spot, go" didn't really do it for me as a learning reader, but once i got past that stage, reading about all the wonderous things i'd never seen was pure heaven. still is.

Deb said...

Our Minnesotarctica groundhog most likely poked its nose out of the hole, took one breath, froze the entire inside of its nostrils, and decided not to bother with looking for its shadow.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Up here in Oregon, when it's bad weather, cows turn their backs on it. That's so they won't be blinded by the storms and will be able to see if the groundhog sees its shadow.

pablo said...

Yikes, FC! Did your wife get called up because of the disaster?

Betsy said...

Candlemas Day -- February 2. Calendarwise, it is a "cross-quarter day" that falls midway between two other big dates in the solar year, the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

May Day (May 1) and All Saints' Day (November 1) are also cross-quarter days.

Wenn's an Lichtmess stürmt und schneit,
Ist der Frühling nicht mehr weit;
Ist es aber klar und hell,
Kommt der Lenz noch nicht so schnell.

If Candlemas Day brings sleet and storm
Then quickly comes the Spring to warm;
But if it's balmy, bright, and clear
Winter will be long that year.

Betsy said...

For Alan -- I also meant to mention -- the traditional Florida Christmas tree is a nice little sand pine.

And my grandmother, who was born in Tennessee in 1906, told me that they and their neighbors always cut little holly trees for Christmas in Tennessee.

threecollie said...

I am thinking maybe all those terrible storms had an impact on you and yours. I hope all is all right. We are thinking of you....and of our own family in Jax Beach

Floridacracker said...

ThreeCollie,
We are fine, rough night, but the disaster was began about two counties over. Thanks.

Kevin,
You beat the post!

Lightnin,
LOL! Yes, I made it through.

POP,
I fogot about Fluff ... that is probably a symptom of my antifeline tendencies.

Laura,
The new blogger is one big workout and test of sanity ...
Hey, I think we have an animal to signal the end of summer... the Florida Gator :)

roger,
the plots were a little thin too.

ThunderD,
Okay senior scientist ... get some virus protection. How's the healing going?

Sandy,
All okay. That storm rolled over us and dumped great rain, but the worst of it hit those unfortunate folks on the news.

Kathy A,
I hear ya. Mom says I learned to read by looking at old national geographics before first grade. I think it was the tribal articles that first caught my attention ...

Deb,
Looks like super cold air up there this week.

Hoss,
I learn so much bovine material from your comments. Keep 'em coming!
:)

Pablo,
No, they must have it under control. Soccer, not rescue today.

Alan,
My pond jumped from dry to bottom covered with a foot or two. It usually rises for a few days after such a soaker, but I'm mostly empty.
Kumquats ... yummmm.


Betsy,
Thanks! I love that weather proverb and wasn't aware of the other info.

Lightnin said...

See.... I knew you didn't complete the course....the cats name was Puff!!!LOL

Floridacracker said...

Lightnin,
I try and forget cats exist.