animals and weather

Groundhogs Day. The town we live in does not have anything special for that day. When I was a kid I remember hearing about groundhogs and how they predicted the length of winter. One teacher even put on one of those ceremonies where they watch for the groundhog. I thought it was exciting. I had heard that there were towns where the kids got to miss school because they were all watching for their groundhog. I never put much weight into the entire thing.

My children were deprived of believing in the groundhog holding any stature over how long winter will last when they watched a children’s show about animals. In it they learned that the groundhog comes out in search of other burrows that are near by. If there is a female nearby he will then go to her burrow and finish his sleep there. In the words of my kids “He’s looking for a wife!”

Animals can predict weather. Pay attention to how thickly homes are made and how early and you get an idea of what winter will be like. Watch how your pets behave before a storm hits. They know. Animals have a way of knowing. So I do think at some time using a groundhog or some other animal as a point of reference to how much longer it would be until spring was how things were done. Now, it is simply a fun tradition.

I found this poem about Groundhogs day, that I will leave you with.
This poem comes from Scotland, I could not find who had written it or when just that it was tied to the origins of what we now call Groundhogs Day.

If Candle-mas Day is bright and clear,
There’ll be two winters in the year.

If Candle mas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.


About Angela Schroeder

Angela Schroeder is a single mother of three. She was born and raised in Iowa in a river town known for its pearl buttons. Having four siblings, she never lacked for someone to play with. As she grew older, she found herself pulled into books and writing more and more. Her parents are her heroes, her siblings her confidants and tormentors, and her children are a wonderful blessing. Church is important to her children and her. They enjoy the friendships they’ve made with the people there. Writing has always been a passion. Her first experience was in fifth grade when she went to a one-day writing conference. After that she knew it was something she wanted to pursue.
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9 Responses to animals and weather

  1. “Looking for a wife!” I love it. And I love the poem. I’m sure the author is lost to posterity like those of so many other sayings we know.
    It seems that animals are more in tune with atmospheric changes; they also have keener senses of smell. I think people have lost much of what they once must have had , too, by our artificial environments, (which I am not really knocking, being snug with my heat-pump going , typing this away under electric lights and hooking up with all of you on the Internet!)
    A young friend told me that cows lowed before earthquakes when she was in California.
    I have hope for a reasonably on-time Spring, no matter what Punxsutawney Phil said, since all the birds seem to be scouting out nesting places in my yard.


    • We watch for the birds around here. I think groundhog day is fun but I also think along the way that people blew the whole thing up. I don’t know if it is true or not but I heard Phil and many of the other groundhogs that get watched for this pretty much live in a zoo like atmosphere, they’re taken care of.

      I believe that about the cows. Sheep act up before storms hit. My sister and I were standing outside during a storm once looking up at the sky, debating on if we should take shelter or if I should go down to the school (three blocks away to get my kids who were there for a school field day) the dog started barking and jumping at the window. The rain stopped. The wind picked up and rain poured down again. We turned around and saw a twister not far off in this distance. I trust animals instincts.


  2. jeff7salter says:

    Great stuff, Angie. And cool little poem (though it seemed contradictory to me).
    It’s certainly true that animals & insects seem to know whether the weather will be severe or “normal”. I read years ago that some professor at UCLA had a set of roaches which could “predict” earthquakes.


  3. Jeanne says:

    The thing I always found funny about Groundhog Day was that if he saw his shadow there would be six weeks left of winter; otherwise it would be two months (or the other way round, can’t remember). Anyway, the two are approximately the same time, like saying six of one and half dozen of the other.


  4. pjharjo says:

    “Looking for a wife,” sounds about right coming from a kid. LOL! I never put much “weight” into Groundhog’s Day, either. Interesting article, Angela!


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