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Curse that groundhog!

Well, it does depend on which groundhog you are going to believe.  The storied Punxsutawney Phil, of Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania, according to his “handler” (like a sports agent, I guess) interrupted his long winter’s nap, peered out of his burrow and predicted six more weeks of winter.  This would NOT be hard to do, given our experiences lately.  On the other hand, our own in-state Marmota monax, Buckeye Chuck, who resides—or burrows—over by Marion, county seat of Marion County, looked out and apparently thought otherwise and indicates that we should be  readying our cruisewear and Speedos for the sunny seasons on the way, chop-chop.  I’m thinking that I will not put away the PolarFleece skivvies just yet.  Ditto for the ultra-soft, lotion-infused tissues.

Cabin fever is lurking around the neighborhood, as is an epidemic of re-scheduling of events of all sorts.  I have investigated several recipes…actually produced a couple of them.  My experiment with making a casserole with leftover pizza was successful. The oatmeal peanut butter cookies were pretty good, if I do say so myself.  The chocolate recipes were quite tasty as well.  A  potfull of sloppy joes is in the cooler waiting for an occasion…like dinner, maybe?  There are fruits of all kinds—blackberries, red raspberries, black raspberries, cherries—in the freezer just waiting to make a break for it.  There are pies on the horizon (Pie in the sky?) and probably cobblers too.  The band fruit is biding its time in the basement; it’s very like a cold storage space down there—no downstairs rumpus room in this house.  A vat of applesauce (To get out the “bad apples” before they cause trouble) is going to be on the schedule soon.  I usually make it with every kind of dried fruit that I can round up and chop and toss in, something on the order of a compote…quite Downton Abbey, dontcha know.  If the weather goes on in this vein for much longer, the Weight Watcher people are going to have to put up a defensive perimeter around the house and stage a “nuclear” strike on the kitchen.  They’ll come in and find the message, “Stop me before I cook again” scrawled in tomato  ketchup on the big mirror, just like a “B” murder movie.

Then again, I’ve been stuck inside with cats, not some larger animals.  This certainly was a problem  at a farm in Rasdorf, Hesse,in Germany.  Did you see this?  About ninety cows—Holsteins?( The pictures in various places were all different, obviously nobody putting the story together knew spit about cows)—were all in a closed barn when the effects of bovine flatulence and manure, methane—in one form or another, if you get my drift—combined with a jolt of static electricity generated somehow(Maybe they were doing the Macarena?) to cause an explosion which blew the roof off of the barn and slightly burned one Bossy(Well, now, maybe she was just very much into giving instructions).  The cows could not be reached for comment but on the internet I found out that Chipotle has produced a  factory-farming sitcom called “Farmed and Dangerous” and the trailer advertising this show features a product named Animoil and one being developed named the Petro Pellet.  Art imitates Life?  Or vice versa?

Finally got into a book written by a friend and former student…now there’s an exercise in back-patting—hers, mine, other contributors and benefactors—and all ‘round pride in the outcome; it’s one of the really neat outcomes of teaching.  There are more out there.

And still in the animal train of thought….

Bet you missed the big celebration  for the Chinese New Year( January 31, 2014) marking the Year of the Horse.  Unlike the Graeco-Roman calendar, the Chinese zodiac (circle of animals) is made up totally of animals, no maidens or scales or twins here.  The years are defined as  years of the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig…with specific characteristics and expectations for events during the year.  How did these animals get in the rotation?  One story goes that the Buddha invited all of the animals to a meeting and only these twelve animals showed up so they got their own spots in the sky and thus, the calendar.  That’ll teach all of those slackers!

So, anyway, the Chinese usually celebrate with fireworks and red envelopes full of money; red is the color of good luck.  But the cash should never be in an amount divisible by four; in that culture, the number 4 means death.  Not much of a wish for the new year!  Gong Hay Fat Choy!

We got “snow rollers” instead.