Groundhog's Day is February 2

A Reflection

Groundhogs Day, February 2, is one of my favorite holidays because it's a silly one, and I need some silliness about now. This year it comes on the heels of a tough month. January was a bust. No snow to speak of, gray raw weather, and very few days of skating on Lake Morey. So I am ready for something fun.

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I don’t have a TV, but I gather that each year the weather people gather around a woodchuck in Pennsylvania to see what he thinks lies ahead. How silly is that? It’s sort of like trying to predict what this current administration in Washington is going to do next – and what opponents around the country are going to do in response.

My Gumbey and Pokey weathervane: silliness in the garden. Made by my stepson, artist Josh Yunger, when he was 8 or 10 years old!

I loved the marches and demonstrations on the day after the inauguration. Yes, people were worried about the future and how women and minorities might be treated by the current administration. There were serious speeches, but plenty of pink hats on display – a light hearted response to serious problems. A friend who went to the march in Montpelier told me the crowd was carrying signs – including one that said, “Justice Meow.” I like that.

I’m trying not to stress out about the current political events, so I revert back to my old stand-by: gardening. It’s too early to do much real gardening right now, but I could prune fruit trees.

March is the traditional time to prune, but starting early is fine, too. I’ll thin out my apple trees of those pesky water sprouts that pop up each year, little vertical stems about the thickness of a pencil. And of course, I’ll look for any dead wood and remove that. I like to say that a robin should be able to fly through an apple tree – without crashing. That means looking for bigger branches that are just clutter and are competing with others in the same places. I’ll cut them out, too.

And what else is on my agenda for Groundhogs Day? I’ll invite a half dozen gardening friends to my home for a potluck supper. Potlucks are at the very core of traditional social life here. And since most of my friends are feeling a little gloomy – either because of the weather or current politics – having an excuse for a potluck is perfect.

Carrots and Potatoes will be in the Groundhogs Day stew. These grown by my grandkids.

I’ll make a stew for the potluck. From last summer’s garden I still have potatoes, carrots, celery root, kohlrabi and rutabagas. I’ll simmer up a pot of these with some local beef and lots of my tomatoes that I froze whole, add some spices and have a delectable dish. Might not appeal to the woodchucks, but it’ll make a winter night with friends even better. Enjoy the holiday!

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I'm the author of 4 gardening books.  Visit my personal website by clicking here.  


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