It's official. Six weeks of mild weather coming right up. It's Groundhog Day, and that famous celebrity that lives in a hole in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania didn't see his shadow. There is much ado over whether the little marmot will see his shadow on this day, but I don't live in Pennsylvania. Close, but I'd rather know what's going on in The Burrows of the Buckeye State. And Buckeye Chuck is just the furry fella to proclaim it. (He didn't see his shadow either.)
It was the Pennsylvania Dutch that brought their German custom of Groundhog Day to the United States in the 1700s. February 2nd is halfway between the first day of winter and the first day of spring. The tradition states if the groundhog sees his shadow, there's still six weeks of blustery, cold, and snowy weather left before spring. If the day is cloudy and he doesn't see his shadow, the rest of winter will be mild.
I don't really care if he sees his shadow or not. Spring will be here when it gets here, and not a moment too soon for most of us. By this time, the thrill of the first snow has worn off, we begin to wonder if the sun is still up there, and we've been wearing our winter coats long enough that they need to make a trip to the dry cleaners. As gardeners, we are chomping at the bit to see any sign of life in the brown, mushy muck where our flowers were last summer.
Buckeye Chuck began his stint as Ohio's weather predictor in 1979, and resides in rural Marion. He joins Staten Island Chuck (New York), General Beauregard Lee (Georgia), and several others in doing the shadow thing, but it's Punxsutawney Phil that's the veteran. Never mind that historically he's been correct only 28% of the time.
America does love its traditions.