Shoppers delight on Groundhog Day

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Groundhog Day is my favorite holiday. It falls almost equally between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox.

The days are getting longer, we are on the downside of winter and spring will be here next month. I guess that&8217;s one of the reasons gardeners celebrate that day.

I know of a way we can predict the weather without waking up the groundhog and get an equal result of the prediction. Leave the little mammal alone and let him sleep off the rest of winter.

Reliable weather predictions: On Groundhog Day, in the morning, pick up a medium sized rock (about 18 inches in diameter will do).

Place the rock in an area not shaded from the sun&8217;s position in the sky. Observe the shadowing on the north side of the rock.

If there is a distinct shade, the rock should be placed in a warm home for the duration of winter because there will be six more weeks of cold weather.

If there is no hard shadowing, there will be an early spring-like trend to the weather.

See. We just did the same exact meteorological experiment and we will get the same scientific results as if we disturbed the groundhog.

I have interviewed several business owners in Shelby County to make certain they&8217;ll be open on Groundhog Day for your last minute holiday gift shopping frenzy.

I spoke with the folks at Myers Plants in Pelham and Hanna&8217;s Garden Shop on Highway 280 and they&8217;ll be open. Also, Eclipse Coffee and Books in Montevallo and the Farmers Co-op in Columbiana as well as all of the independent grocery stores throughout the county will be open &8212; some with extended hours (just kidding about the hours).

Even if you are just now getting around to reading this article and Groundhog Day has passed you by, you should still buy that gift. A note card with a simple &8220;Belated Happy Groundhog Day&8221; is proper, rather than ignoring the fact that you missed the holiday. You wouldn&8217;t want to miss someone&8217;s birthday, would you?

Now that I have got you in the mood for gardening, go ahead.

I am … going out to the garden and getting it ready for spring, that is. I&8217;m counting on my rock not seeing its shadow