by Keith Bancroft
According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on Groundhog Day (February 2—this Saturday!), then spring will come early; if it is sunny and the groundhog sees its shadow, it will retreat back into its burrow, signaling that winter weather will continue for six more weeks.
In many areas of the U.S., early morning celebrations are held where people gather to watch the groundhog emerge from its burrow. The most famous of these events is in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (setting of the 1993 movie Groundhog Day), where “Punxsutawney Phil” is the resident rodent prognosticator. However, many areas have jumped on the furry bandwagon and have adopted their own marmot mascot—Dunkirk Dave, Susquehanna Sherman and Wiarton Willie to name just a few. And for those towns where alliteration just isn’t their thing, we have the likes of Gus, Uni, Spanish Joe and, of course, Jimmy the Groundhog.
Few people know that our local groundhog, Marin Mortimer, is the star of his own annual festival and proudly emerges from his burrow every February 2 under the watchful gaze of curious onlookers, eager for news of what weather the next six weeks will bring. His last appearance was, unfortunately, not his proudest moment. For just after Mortimer fully emerged from his burrow, he realized he’d left his “Save Your Green, Save Our Blue” coupons on the kitchen table, and hastily retreated into his burrow to retrieve them, inadvertently signaling to the collected crowd the advent of six more weeks of winter. By the time he’d re-emerged from his cozy den, coupons in hand (rather, in paw), the crowd had disbanded, leaving Mortimer alone to rejoice at his lack of shadow and the imminent arrival of spring.
Moral of the story: Don’t forget to grab your coupons before leaving the house. Visit MMWD’s “Save Your Green, Save Our Blue” coupon page to get discount coupons from local retailers and plumbers on leak repair, high-efficiency toilets, smart irrigation controllers, rainwater harvesting tanks, mulch, native plants and more.
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On a more somber note, we wish to extend our sympathy to our favorite retired gardener and blogger, Charlene Burgi, on the recent passing of her mother. Our thoughts are with Charlene and her family. We look forward to hearing from Charlene when she returns.