Friday, January 29, 2010

Discover the Groundhog: Wojak








Groundhog Day – Make a “Wojak” Discovery

January seemed to come and go in a blink and it's time for the traditional groundhog fanfare. It is sort of a quaint superstition and a good reason for a mid-winter celebration.
Groundhogs are mammals, often called woodchucks, because of their ability to climb trees. Actually, these mammals are members of the squirrel family. Groundhogs, for most of the year in many regions, are pretty much shot on sight. They can also be used to help in making some great discoveries.
In ancient cultures, they were known as “Wojak” by the Lenni Lenapi Nation which lived in the area of Punxsutawney. The Lenni Lenapi, or the original people, believed all humans originated from animals; and Wojak was one of the grandfathers of all humans. The groundhog also helps to remind humans about the early peoples, like the Lenni Lenapi.
The customs of Europe arrived with the settlers including the myths about the weather abilities of the hedgehog, an animal somewhat similar to Wojak, along with religious purification beliefs celebrated on February 2nd, called Candlemas Day.
Groundhog Day is a signpost that spring and better weather for much of the north hemisphere is on it's way. As the snows melt, the brown earth returns and the maple syrup flows and Wojak is one of the first to be seen in the bare fields and meadows. Okay, there is yard work and spring clean-up work but it is a time to look for sheds, or deer antlers which can be easily found before leaf-out, check for the first wild leeks and discover some arrowheads.
Wojak is a good digger and moves a lot of dirt for his burrows. Often, his digs reveal hidden artifacts like arrowheads or ancient tools, or even just magical rocks. Wojak's dirt piles can help make for some fun discoveries. Groundhog Day is a fun superstition day about weather lore, but real groundhogs are the “original grandfather of humans”and Wojak will tells us, if we look.





Scrap Prices – Discover Rising Prices


Prices for scrap metal usually rise during the winter months. In this region, the price for aluminum is in the mid fifty cents/pound price range. Many civic and religious organizations have fund drives collecting the scrap metal products and the proceeds help the local activities. Canadohta Lake Area Business Association in this region, for example, collects the cans all winter and the proceeds help fund the annual July 4th fireworks display.

Discover the Oak


The Oak Tree is the national tree of the United States. Learn why this tree was selected as a national emblem and why the oak tree was selected, here.
There are many different species of oaks which grow throughout North America. They are an important tree for our wildlife, including valuable insects. The trees are a symbol of strength, loyalty and family. They are beautiful trees and they are fairly easy to grow from an acorn (if Wojak, a member of the squirrel family didn't discover them all first). More information, here.
For many in eastern North America, there is some related good news. The population of the destructive gypsy moth appears to be very low this year. Discover how to identify some of the problem insects this year, most are invasive insects. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has some good information, as do many other states and Canada in the Northern Hemisphere.



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Asparagus and Wojak

Asparagus is an easy, early spring vegetable to have in the backyard. It is a money saver because it will produce for decades. It is also one of the healthiest vegetables.
While the roots can be purchased in the early spring and planted, consider starting from seeds for home production. Seeds are cheaper and are easy to start. Asparagus roots are generally mostly male plants which do not have to spend time on reproductive activities.
Plants started from seeds are a good mix of female and male plants; meaning little asparagus plants in a few years. For commercial growers, the roots are a better option because of profit margins; for the homeowner, seeds are a good option and the harvest will be more than enough. Groundhog Day is a good time to plan out an asparagus bed for the future. Just be sure to pick out a spot that won't be disturbed for decades.
Discover asparagus this year, it is an easy backyard crop. Pictured is what is called purple asparagus, an heirloom variety. It is sweeter and has a nut-like flavor. It is very hardy and an attractive plant.

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