February 2, 2012

Happy Groundhog Day!

We have a groundhog den in our sideyard at the house up north. A few years ago, there were four babies...and they were so cute! It was great to watch how the mama communicated with them.

I was able to get a few shots while the mama was away...

An early American reference to Groundhog Day can be found in a diary entry, dated February 4, 1841, of Pennsylvania storekeeper James Morris:

Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.
In Scotland the tradition may also derive from an English poem:
As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and rain
Winter will be gone and not come again
A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay
On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop

Despite the common tongue-twister (How much wood would a woodchuck chuck...) woodchucks (Marmota monax) are burrowing creatures that usually stick to smaller plants. The name woodchuck is likely derived from a Native American term for what are now also called groundhogs...or less commonly the whistle pig.

This is the mama.



TexWisGirl said...

cutest babies ever!!!

Scriptor Senex said...

Super post. The Candelmas sayings in England go back many centuries but don't have any cute animals to go with them!

Joe said...

I had forgot it was Groundhog Day until I saw your post :(.

Lady Jane said...

Enjoyed your post so much. I loved the pics of these cuties... And the candlemas poems. LJ

Carole said...

Omg...how cute. lol

Do they do any damage to the garden?

EG Wow said...

They really are cute to watch. We used to have a family in our back yard. They are cute until they start to eat something you don't want them to have. :))

Bridget@Flour N Friends said...

This is great! You got some awesome pics!!

i beati said...

just so enjoyable !!thanks

eileeninmd said...

They are cute critters, great shots!

Carletta said...

We had one that lived under our garden shed last summer. Not sure he's hibernating there or not.
These little guys are adorable!
I hadn't heard the name Whistle Pig in a long time. :)

chubskulit said...

Beautiful critter captures.

Our Family Pets, hope you'd come and see.

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Very cute animal.
Lovely photos.

Regards and best wishes