Remembering Groundhog Days Past

Groundhog Day is today, February 2.  According to legend, if the groundhog comes out of its hole and sees its shadow, it will be frightened and will scurry back to its hole.  Thus we will have six more weeks of winter.  Here in Texas, we don’t have to worry about Groundhogs seeing their shadows because groundhogs are not indigenous to Texas.

Back in 2015, Robert Smith, one of our local businessmen here in Garland, secured a groundhog from Georgia for a Garland Groundhog Day celebration. Her name was “Gretchen.”  Mayor Athas and other local dignitaries were present.  The mayor read a proclamation stating that Gretchen had seen her shadow when emerging from her hole.  Thus we were destined to not have an early spring. Apparently the legend has some merit as you can see from the photos below that I took in the Garland Community Garden on March 5, 2015 when Margie Rogers, Anita Opel and I went to play in the snow.



Margie makes a snow angel while Anita stands by the snow woman we made- 03/05/2015 – The official measurement at DFW was 3.4 inches.  In Garland, my official measurement was 4.1 inches.  It was a lot of great snow.

The only other memorable Groundhog Day I can remember is one I had in 2001 when, like Bill Murray I had two Groundhog Days.  Like so many events in life, the possibility was due to a fluke of timing.  I was flying back home to California from Jakarta. When you fly west from California, if you fly far enough and not too far, you’ll fly into tomorrow.  On the return trip, you are flying into yesterday. Jakarta is about 23 hours away from Los Angeles (for flights that stop once in Hawaii for refueling). I would never have been aware of repeat experience if the pilot had not called our attention to it. Groundhog day has been a holiday often passed unnoticed in my lifetime.

Citizen Science Tulip Project

Tulips are up at the Garland Community Garden!  Yes they are peeking up through the earth.  I’m impressed at their prowess.  We planted them 7 inches deep on January 6.  Here is our progress as noted on the map.  The green indicates the places where the bulbs have pushed through the earth.  Growing is a miracle that never ceases to leave me awestruck which is one of the reasons I love the garden so much. 


Tulip Map from the Journey North Citizen Science Tulip Project:  Green indicates where tulips have pushed up through the earth – Feb 2, 2018


Jane, President and leader of Loving Garland Green (stewards of the Garland Community Garden) is busy planning lots of new projects and interesting things for the coming spring.  Among other things, this year the garden will have an Old World/New World garden plot; and a Three Sisters Plot.  In addition, I may get around to planting that weed plot I’ve been promising to plant for the past three years.  It’s amazing the number of edibles we label weeds and disregard as a food source.  Dandelions are a prime example.  The pilgrims brought this plant over with them as a winter green.  If they could come back and see how we now spend billions of dollars on Roundup every year to eradicate this edible from our lawns, I’m sure they would be shocked.

Speaking of shocking things, here in Garland, we still bag up our leaves and place them curbside to be carried off to our landfill.  In 2016 Loving Garland Green began our November Leaf Awareness Campaign.  The purpose of this campaign is to increase public awareness regarding 1) that our leaves go to the landfill and 2) leaves ideally need to stay in the area where they fall because they replenish the soil.

Soil, the thin layer that covers the earth’s surface like skin is an undervalued and endangered natural resource. According to soil expert Winfried Blum, worldwide only 12 percent of the land area is suitable for farming.  That area is supposed to insure food security for 7.5 billion people.  Removing leaves from your yard in Garland is equivalent to removing future soil and sequestering it in a landfill where it is taken out of circulation for years.

In 2016 we rescued 713 bags at an estimated 21,290 pounds.  This may sound like a lot, but unfortunately 713 bags of leaves is tiny when measured against the bags of leaves that are likely taken each year from the homes of Garland residents to the Hinton landfill.  Given our approximate 80,000 households and estimating low at five leaf bags per household, we send close to a half million bags of leaves to the landfill each year.

This year Loving Garland Green did not pick up leaves, but we do have approximately 50 bags that citizens have left at the garden.  I’ll get down there sometime this week to mulch them.


NOTE:  You really can’t leave the leaves where they fall, as they will create a blanket over your lawn that blocks the sunlight.  You need to mulch them using a mulching blade on your lawnmower.  The tiny pieces will sink down to the ground and you should still be able to see the grass sticking up.  If you have too many leaves, mulch them and either bring to the Garland Community Garden or use to start a garden for your family.

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