RUSTY THE GROUNDHUG uses all means of prognostication to determine whether it’s safe to go out.

RUSTY THE GROUNDHUG uses all means of prognostication to determine whether it’s safe to go out.

Looking forward to an early Spring

An editor and her groundhug ponder the signs around them for a moment before returning to the seed catalogues.

My own resident groundhog, “Rusty the Groundhug”, refused to be budged from his bed underneath the coffee table on Feb. 2.

I believe, in keeping with the traditions of Groundhog Day, that means that Spring is at least six more weeks away.

We go through this every year, Rusty and I. I figure that he’s got to be just as accurate as the celebrity groundhogs who get the news. And, after decades of disappointing  useless weather forecasts, I figure that this one has more truth to it because it’s literally right outside my front door.

The groundhog sees his shadow, we get six more weeks of Winter. Doesn’t see his shadow, Spring comes “early”.

So, technically, since he didn’t even make it to the door, Rusty didn’t see his shadow. So, an early Spring, right? What’s early?

The Vernal Equinox, also known as the first day of Spring, is March 20 this year. That is six weeks and three days from today.

Last year we were still getting frost in early April. But, the tulips and bleeding hearts were poking through their mulch by the first week of March, and I found time to do some yardwork on March 8.

And how would I know that? you mutter. Because I write it down in my garden journal. How else would I remember that on March 9, 2014 it was 17C! Last year it was 16C on the same day. Something to look forward to! Only five weeks away!

This year the Groundhug’s prediction is backed up by the early arrival of snowdrops in my flowerbed – two weeks early – and the curious fact that I’ve had a varied thrush at my bird feeders for the past week. This is a bird that I normally only see around April, if I see it at all.

As for the forecasters out there who flog their predictions on the rest of us each year, once again they are unanimous in predicting “mild and dry” for the next two months and “above normal” temperatures for the summer.

Is it true? It’s a coin toss, but either way, I love living in BC. And I’ll trust my Rusty over any groundhog back east any day!

And yes, that is a bear in our backyard that Rusty was looking at in the picture!

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft Cache Creek Journal

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