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What Winter?

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February 24, 2012 by Annie McCormick

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We’re having a mild winter, and every time I hear that I listen for the other snowshoe to drop and the blizzard to start. Yes, I’m superstitious. The ones I practice or the ones that have proven to be true. Sometimes there are scientific reasons for them.

Whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow, it will still be winter until the Vernal equinox on March 20. The groundhog, or woodchuck, is a media personality one day a year. What kind of a shadow can Punxsutawney Phil see anyway with all the camera flashes going off in his face? This is not science, rocket or other.

There is a lot of folklore and superstition addressing seasons and weather. Thicker than usual fur on raccoons and skunks indicates a severe winter. Folks in the Ozarks check out the color of the breastbone of a wild goose that was killed in Autumn. We slice persimmons open for a Winter forecast. Since I know not to approach a member of the weasel or any other of the small carnivore families, and I don’t have a dead goose, I go with the persimmons.

The time-tested “Farmers’ Almanac” says we’re going to have a mild and wet winter. The “Old Farmers’ Almanac” (“Useful, with a pleasant degree of humor”) has been published for 220 years. I think that if it offered bad advice, especially to farmers, it wouldn’t last that long. Farmers stick with what works.

“The Almanac” will tell you the best planting days according to the moon. The full moon in February is called the Snow Moon. Different Native American tribes called February’s moon the Hunger Moon, Shoulder-to-Shoulder Around the Fire Moon, and the Bone Moon. Obviously, the month was cold and food was scarce. March’s full moon is called the Full Worm Moon. You guessed it!

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