Rob, I got to tell ya about Uncle Clarey, dutchman from Gold River, he was two ‘er three uncles back. I can remember him pretty good, he died about the time I started high school and girlin’. Dad ‘n me did some troutin’ on the Gold and looked for a few deer in that part of Lunenburg County.
Uncle Clarey lived on the land , farmed, Christmas Trees, oxen and horses, barrel hoops, pit props, I was there when the power was turned on in Beech Hill for the first time—-anyway I’m off course here a bit.
I asked him one day about Ground Hog Day and if it’s really true about the six or eight weeks thing and the shadow and all that stuff. He laughed a bit, said he heard of it but his story was a lot different.
February 2 was called “Half yer Oats’n Half yer Hay” He explained it this way; the cattle, horses and oxen are all put in the barn the first of November and go back out to the pasture the first of May.
The last bit of green grass was gone in late October and the spring in the pasture started to freeze over in early November so the animals had to be fed in the barn for six months. May brought the new grass and warm weather so out they went.
Those old guys knew how much hay to cut and oats to grow so they could feed a certain number of animals and kept track of the feed as it was used all winter. I don’t know what happened on February 2nd if the oat bin was down to a quarter full, maybe some steer got his “departure notification” if ya know what I mean.
As you know Rob I burn wood at home and have for over 30 years, small house, three and a half cords is all the wood I can store, and that’s all I need for the winter plus one hundred gallons of liquid gold—I mean furnace oil.
I guess about now you are wonderin’ where this is goin’ , well Rob , I’m just about half way through my wood almost to the stick and the truck was here a day ago with 460 litres of furnace oil. Last year he came on the 29th and pumped 475 litres so maybe Ground Hog Day is Half yer Oats ‘n Half yer Hay.
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Groundhog Pic: Wilkipedia GNU Free Documentation License