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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Dancing With the Marmots

It appears that many of us have made it through the jumble of holiday events and are striving to make 2016 just as preposterous as most previous years. I was looking forward to reading about Jolly Old St. Nick running down some in Washington with his sleigh, but that didn’t happen, so we’ll have to oust the buggers by way of the ballot box

Contrary to what you might read in advertisements from the big box stores, the next holiday of any import is not Valentine’s Day, it is February 2, Ground Hog Day. Because so many now live surrounded by concrete and asphalt, not planting anything past a window garden, Ground Hog Day has lost its significance.

There are two major celestial events that drive the agricultural calendars around the world, winter solstice and summer solstice. Each of those periods of time have been split into the spring equinox and autumnal equinox. Spring for planting, autumn for harvest. The old legends about burrowing and hibernating animals coming out into the world to see what’s going on sometime around February two on our current means to detailing a year, was used by old timers to determine whether or not winter might end early.

There are thirteen weeks, give or take a day or two, between December 21 and March 21, and you might check this out, February two just happens at the halfway mark. Calendar-wise, there will be six weeks before the actual beginning of spring, but as we all know, spring can show its beauty and wonder a little early. Those in agriculture are always hoping for that early spring without a late frost, to get a head start on growing.

For the most part, we depend on the grocery store for our victuals, but some legends and traditions have a serous side and Ground Hog Day is one of them. An early start on corn meant you would have stalks up when the early rains came, and that would fill the bin for next winter. Getting those beans sprouted early meant a long summer crop, which meant a full larder for next winter.

So, I say, let’s party. To hell with the box stores and their Valentine’s Day promotions, lets all go out and do a dance with the neighborhood Marmot, and get the seeds separated and ready for an early planting. That is, after our nice heavy snow fall here in the west, wends its way into our ground water system so we can sprinkle that large crop all summer.

When we’re tired and muddy from all our dancing, it will then be time to look for our favorite Valentine. I have mine and her name is Patty. We’ll dance with the marmots and then, St. Valentine, you better get ready for some serious early spring-time romance.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular.

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