Are we getting an early spring?

The way Mother Nature has been acting it almost seems certain that we’ll be seeing an early spring in 2024 thanks to unseasonably warm weather. Many farmers and ranchers are concerned about the early spring and how this may impact precipitation levels as they prepare for seeding season. Today (Feb 2nd) is Groundhog Day and it seems they’re agreeing with Mother Nature.

First off, the tradition of Groundhog Day dates back to 1887 with the first observance in Punxsutawney, PA. The occasion stems from a Dutch and German tradition called Candlemas, which is a Christian day known as the feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ. One of the customs associated with Candlemas is predicting weather patterns, which led to “badger day” on February 2nd. Over the years, and realizing how vicious badgers are, groundhogs became the animal of choice for making these spring traditions.

Groundhogs are sometimes referred to as woodchucks, whistle pigs, or land beavers, and are considered the largest species in the squirrel family. Groundhogs are very introverted and love staying underground, watching Neflix! Seriously though, they prefer the confines of complex underground burrowing systems, which include their own “bathroom chambers.” Because they are introverted and solitary, mating can be difficult sometimes. They only mate in the spring after hibernation and then each groundhog goes its separate ways after the deed’s been done. On average, a mother groundhog will give birth to 2-4 groundhogs a year and they don’t stay with mom for very long before they move out of the burrow. By two months they’re completely independent. Imagine your baby being independent at 2 months, making his/her own bottle, changing their own diapers, and getting their own baby food!

This year, all three groundhogs agreed with one another. Wiarton Willie in Ontario, Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia, and Punxsutawney Phil all predicted an early spring because they did not see their shadow. As the lore goes, if a groundhog sees his shadow it scurries back down into its hole indicating six more weeks of winter. So far, Mother Nature and the groundhogs are in agreement, but, we still have several more weeks to go in winter and anything can happen. One thing still holds true in Saskatchewan – if you don’t like the weather just wait five minutes.

Happy Groundhog Day!

More from 620 CKRM