Groundhog folklore is fun
Groundhog Day is celebrated on Feb. 2 — and many people in the region, young and old, enjoy the quirky tradition.
According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early. If it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks.
This logic has confused me for years, If one “sees” their shadow it means it’s sunny out, therefore we would be having warmer weather than usual for February. And, if no shadow is seen then it would be overcast and hence having seasonal weather for February. However, sunny conditions generally indicate clear weather in winter, which routinely is accompanied by colder temperatures.
Annually, thousands of people show up at “Gobblers Knob” in Punxsutawney, Pa. to see whether Punxsutawney Phil could see his shadow. Also, each year the topic of groundhog prognostication is a top internet inquiry, according to search engine data.
According to the StormFax Weather Almanac and records kept since 1887, Punxsutawney Phil's weather predictions have been correct 39 percent of the time.
The U.S. National Climatic Data Center asserts that the statistics gathered for years show Punxsutawney Phil has no predictive skill.
Well, we up here in Thurman don’t hold it against the groundhogs.
Woolly bears and Edith Bills
A better way to predict the winter in Thurman has historically been the prevailing colorations of the woolly bear caterpillar.
Old-timers in Thurman remember that for years, Adirondack Journal columnist Edith Bills annually measured the black and brown bands on the creature to predict how rough the upcoming winter would be.
If the woolly bear caterpillar has a big brown stripe in the middle and smaller black stripes on each end, winter will be mild. But if the creatures tend to have a small brown stripe in the middle and bigger black stripes on the ends, winter will be harsh, according to prevailing folklore.
While science indicates that the width of these bands is related to the age of the caterpillar, old-timers remember well that Edith Bills’ predictions were most likely to prove accurate!
Over the fence
I’ve observed that Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently proposed to expand solar energy in the state by investing $150 million more annually into solar initiatives over the next 10 years. Let’s hope a good amount of the money goes towards assisting rural upstate residents become energy self-sufficient!
The Town of Thurman has decided to name the celebration of Warren County Bicentennial as Thurman Old Home Days to be held June 14 and 15. Thurman’s celebration of the Warren County Bicentennial will feature such activities as a town-sponsored parade, children’s games, live music and entertainment, a military encampment and fireworks. Anyone interested in creating a float or participating in the parade should contact Evelyn Wood at 623-9649.
Jim Desourdy will take your orange bags of trash to the transfer station for only $5 per week, and only charges for the week he picks up. To contact Jim, call 623-4254.
Activities and events in Thurman
The PTSA Spaghetti Dinner and Auction fundraiser is to be held Feb. 9 at the Haskell Brothers VFW Hall on Main St. in Warrensburg. Scheduled for 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., the event is to raise money for the Warrensburg Elementary School playground, which is in great need of renovations.
The menu ingredients are being donated by the VFW 4821 Men’s Auxiliary, and its members have volunteered as chefs — and we hear the PTSA appreciates their generosity. The fee for dinner is $7 for adults and $5 for children. For details, call Eddie Bates at 260-1212.
To join the PTSA, stop into the Elementary School and pick up a membership form, Adult membership is still just $7 and a student membership is only $4.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so don’t be caught without making those dinner reservations. Or, if you are dining at home, make sure to stock up on your sweetheart’s favorite food items. Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!
The Thurman Fire Co. will be holding their next monthly meeting on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. in the firehouse.
The county-sponsored Senior Bus service which takes local residents over age 60 to Glens Falls for shopping and various other stops, will run Friday, Feb. 8. To reserve a seat, call Norma at 623-9281 by Feb. 6.
The Thurman Quilting Group holds their meetings every Monday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the town hall. For more information, contact Myra at 623-2633.
Your memories, artifacts sought
The John Thurman Historical Society is now seeking your stories about bygone days in our rural town.
Any topic you would like to write about is fine, according to the Society representatives. One topic already being pursued by several local residents deals with ice jams, floods and bridges. If you have memories or pictures of this topic, the Quarterly staff would like you to phone or email to let them know. Also, the Society members are gathering reminiscences of old sayings local residents heard in their youth — the kinds of things parents and grandparents used to say to children to mold their character or teach them about life.
The deadline for submitting memories and sayings is Feb. 14, and the magazine will be published in March. Stories and photos may be sent via email to: PersisGranger@aol.com or via U.S. mail to: Persis Granger, 7460 SE 51st Way, Trenton, FL 32693.
Line up items now for town sale
The winter months are a great time to accomplish some household organizational tasks. In advance of spring cleaning, gather up your unwanted items to sell in the Thurman Townwide sale to be held Friday May 17 through Sunday May 19. The sale is routinely held the weekend after Mother’s Day and was first launched in 1996. Remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
Jack Wax party plans progressing
The famed Thurman Jack Wax party is just 35 days away, so reserve the date for this delicious all-you-can eat buffet. Plans call for a wide variety of dishes, including entrees of ham, and turkey. One outstanding offering slated for the event is macaroni and cheese by the renowned Nettle Meadow Farm. Of course, topping off the meal will be the dessert of genuine Jack Wax.
Hoddy Ovitt & The Warren County Ramblers will be providing the musical entertainment from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
This will be 54 years the event has taken place and all the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. Incidentally, we hear that representatives of the American Cancer Society will be attending the party to recognize the Jack Wax party’s longevity.
Note that a Facebook event page named Jack Wax Party 54th Annual has been set up where people can sign up to donate food items or volunteer their time — or you can contact me, Kathy Templeton, at 623-2967 or via email at: email@example.com .
Special days for Thurmanites
Celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary on Feb. 7 are Bob and Peggy Florance. Best wishes to them from all of us on this very special occasion!
Celebrating Birthdays this week are John Anthony Kuczmarski, Makayla Griswold and Ethan Schmidt on Feb. 2; Tegan Castro, Jamiee Millington Haskell, and Irene Hall on Feb. 3; Dan Shoemaker and Andy Knoll on Feb. 4; Laura Cameron and Dot Maxam on Feb. 5; Jill Galusha and Jason Baker on Feb. 6; Kevin Bender on Feb. 7; plus Vonda Beattie, Jim DeSourdy, and Kayden Breault on Feb. 8.