By KIM BALDWIN
McPherson County farmer and rancher
Six more weeks of winter for 2023. At least that’s the prediction based on a rodent in Pennsylvania.
My 7-year-old daughter has recently taken to studying calendars. She can tell you when all of the important and slightly less important days are. She’s also memorized birthdays and does an impressively good job at reminding the rest of us about what a particular day holds. So when she woke up and announced it was Groundhog Day, there was a sense of excitement in the air.
While eating breakfast we feverishly switched television channels trying to catch the festivities of the morning live to learn of our future.
By the time the kids had to bundle up and head out to their bus stop, my daughter tried to talk me into letting her skip the bus to school so she could watch the revelation unfold in real time. She just had to know what the future would hold.
I denied her request to skip the morning bus and told her we’d watch the exciting announcement together on YouTube when she got home that afternoon.
By the time I searched for the prognostication that had taken place earlier in the day, I already knew what had been seen and what had been declared but kept that knowledge to myself.
As we gathered around my iPad to watch the replay of that morning’s events unfold, you could sense my daughter anxiously awaiting the announcement of her future.
We watched as the stage of gathered gentlemen wearing top hats revealed a royal red carpet and scrolls. We cheered with the crowd as they chanted for a groundhog named Phil while a man formally knocked on a tiny, padlocked door at the base of tree stump located on the stage.
We waited in anticipation as the groundhog was awakened from his wintery slumber and brought forth from his den to hint at the scroll containing his discovery.
The prognostication was revealed when we heard the statement, “I see a shadow upon my stage. No matter how you measure, it’s six more weeks of winter weather.”
My daughter refused to accept the prophesy. She argued that she didn’t see his shadow and suggested that the rodent was misguided. In her distraught state, she demanded to watch other videos from that morning that would surely show different angles of the events. She needed better proof.
I assured her that taking weather advice from a rodent is not the only way one should plan for the future and challenged her to look around the farm for her own observed signs of spring.
And in her brief time of discovery and reflection before dinner she saw three newborn lambs cuddled together in a bed of straw with their mother. She saw how much more space she had to roller skate in the machine shop as we’ve begun to make room for future seed deliveries. And after moving a pile of leaves, she uncovered the tiny tip of a crocus beginning to peek through the soil.
Whether we’ll experience more winter weather or not this year, there are definitely hints of another season beginning to appear.
And as my daughter learned, we just have to rely less on a soothsaying rodent and keep our own eyes open for other signs of spring.
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"Insight" is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state's largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service. Copyright © 2023 Kansas Farm Bureau, All rights reserved.