January 29, 2010

Groundhogs and Punxsutawney Phil



     Don’t be surprised when the neighborhood groundhogs (doesn’t every neighborhood have one, two, three or four?)—thought long gone in the late fall, their burrows far too close to the house, backfilled—suddenly awake, emerge and begin foraging for fuel.

     Yes, all the signs are here—it will be an early spring.#

     However, the official word on whether it will be an early spring will not be made by the observations of Colin McNickle, journalist, but by Punxsutawney Phil. On Groundhog Day.

(To view illustration click on: )


Read the 2015 article: Groundhog Day Recipes & Pictures

NOTICE: As of January 15, 2015, CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS has moved to Carolyn’s Online Magazine. I invite you to visit the new site and to subscribe in the FOLLOW box in the upper right hand corner.

Additional reading: 11 Facts About Groundhog’s Day (Feb. 2)


     The sixth century. That’s how far back the roots of the Groundhog Day celebration extend.

     Groundhog Day is associated with Christianity’s Candlemas Day, the day that candles used throughout the year are blessed. It is the mid-point of winter, the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

     Groundhog Day as a modern event was inspired by an old Scottish couplet:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear

There’ll be two winters in the year.**

      Later, the Germans started trying to predict how much more winter they could expect based on the hibernation patterns of bears in February. In the 1700s, when the Germans settled in the United States, they switched from bears to groundhogs, for some unknown reason* After all, groundhogs have no interest in how long winter lasts, nor are they any interest in their shadows. Basically, they come out of hibernation for food (by February, hibernating groundhogs have lost up to half their body weight) and sex.  **

A clue might be found in the (more…)

March 29, 2009

Battling squirrels at bird feeders II: to fight or join them



Protecting the seed

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz…to feed the birds, becomes my biz!

NOTE: In rural areas, summer bird feeders should not be hung until the natural food for the bear population has become plentiful, nor should they be out in October-November. If you choose to put them out, bring them in at night to prevent bear invasions.
To read articles on bears click on: 
 To read Part 1 on bird feeders click on Battling squirrels at bird feeders I: to fight or join them
 To read the conclusion of BATTLING THE SQUIRRELS, click on:
Battling Squirrels at Bird Feeders III: Types of bird feeders

    The use of feeders presents a problem for bird lovers: how to protect the food from a food predator, the squirrel. These crafty, agile critters can climb smooth poles, reach through small openings, and jump onto bird feeders from an object more than eight feet away, chasing away the birds and eating up to a pound of their seed in one morning.
     Squirrels are great problem solvers. You may think you have won the battle, but they continue the war. Whatever method(s) you use to defeat them, remember: it could take several attempts to get it right. Keep trying.
   To stack the cards on your side of the battle, you must understand


March 21, 2009

Battling squirrels at bird feeders I: to fight or join them



To Fight or to Join Them

WARNING: Bird feeders should not be put outside at night until the risk of bear danger is over, about mid-June, and should be removed before mid-October. Otherwise, not only is the bird seed threatened, but the bird feeders are at risk of being ruined. And who wants a bear looking in their window at three o’clock in the morning, while he enjoys a meal from the bird feeder? For further information on bears click on: BEAR STORIES ACROSS THE NATION & BEAR CONFRONTATIONS: SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

     I watched quite a while as the squirrel sitting on the branch intensely studied the birdfeeder. It was hung by fishline well below the branch, well above the ground and a sufficient distance from the tree trunk to be difficult for a squirrel to reach.
     Suddenly, the squirrel, which I dubbed Squodent, dove headlong into the birdfeeder. Seed sprayed out, scattering on the ground below. Squodent raced (more…)

Create a free website or blog at