Of Mice and Mayors

A groundhog is really just a mouse on steroids. Whatever their lineage, the various groundhogs around here concurred in their prognostications last week that we’ll have an early spring.? If they’re going to be correct, they better hurry up about it.? We’re still in a pattern of snow/ice every three/four days, and We’ve been that way since Christmas.? The 10-day forecast shows no hope on the horizon, except for a tad bit of warming, just enough to get our hopes up and then bam! Again. THere’s simply no place to put the stuff anymore.? Our main indoor sport is watching the icicles grow. Out at the stable, they’re clearing the snow and ice from the lower roof edges of the barn, but the indoor is another matter.? There was a 3-foot curl of ice hanging off the sunny side.? I’ve never seen that happen before. It finally broke off (I wasn?t there!) but now tHere’s another huge curl on the shady side.? I’m only riding early in the day, even if it’s all of 20 degrees, because I just don’t want to be in the indoor after the sun has warmed the metal roof.? One sign of impending spring though ? up in the rafters of the indoor, the squirrels and birds are doing what comes naturally at this time of year.? And they are doing it loudly, of course.? WHere’s that hawk when we need it’ Our barn and indoor arena look to be holding well so far.? I’m keeping my fingers crossed.? The COTH hunter/jumper discussion board reports 27 barns or indoor arenas have collapsed over the last month in Massachusetts and Connecticut, including the indoor where I boarded last year. There could be even more I haven’t heard about. The training has been going well, since Jess gets on Windy when I’m gone, but my own condition could be better.? I’ve been at new-test clinics and judge forums for the last three weekends in a row.? Amazingly, the clear periods seem to coordinate with when I have to be in the air or driving.? In between I seem to have just enough time dodging the snow storms to get my own sitting trot back in gear and then I’m off somewhere again. So, what’s with this groundhog thing anyway’? I understand the original idea was that if farmers saw groundhogs coming out of their burrows earlier in the year than usual, it meant that the annual hard freeze was over and the ground was soft, so they could plan to start planting. On Groundhog Day, though, if the groundhog sees his shadow he gets scared and runs back into his burrow, and supposedly that means six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, we’ll have an early spring.? It was cloudy here last week on Groundhog Day (because it was snowing!!), so the groundhog of course couldn?t see his shadow, and everyone was happily proclaiming an early spring How can that make sense’? If the groundhog sees his shadow, it’s sunny out.? Sun means things are getting warmer. ?If the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, it’s cloudy out.? Clouds mean snow and ice. Everyone here really wants to believe that we’ll break out of this horrible snow/ice pattern soon, and we’re all clinging to the hope that that the various groundhogs have brought us.? Punxsutawney PA may have their Phil, but around here the groundhog of choice is Staten Island Chuck.? Even as he was consulting Chuck on Wednesday, NYC?s Mayor Mike Bloomberg had a frozen look on his face and clearly recorded cusswords on his lips, probably because two years ago Chuck bit him hard enough to draw blood.? Since Chuck?s a Rodent of Unusual Size, maybe Mike thought Chuck would be playing Mickey to his Walt and just perch prettily on his hand instead of lacerating it. This year Bloomberg was wearing heavier gloves and someone rigged a plunger to pop Chuck out of his house rather than making the mayor reach in and grab him. Next comes that whole March lion/lamb thing.? I bet Bloomberg would prefer Chuck over Long Island Leo.? (Can you tell I need to get out more’) Resolution Report:? Another pound this week.? Met my goal.

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