Sunday, February 3, 2013

Punxsutawney Phyllis Rides Again

Is there anything better on Groundhog Day than a visit from Punxsutawney Phyllis? Probably not and after our wonderful experience with her last May, we were happy to join in the February fun along with several other weather and groundhog loving friends. A complete list can be found on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Ethan and I started the day by printing up and coloring the fabulous Phyllis action figure. Ethan decided to forgo the accessories that came with Phyllis, giving her a pair of blue glasses just like his instead. We then tucked in by the wood stove to read Punxsutawney Phyllis. Inspired by Phyllis's discoveries of signs of spring, Ethan and I bundled up to see if we could find any ourselves.

It was a sunny and brisk 16 degrees here yesterday morning. Yes, you heard that right. Sunny. A perfect winter day in Maine, but not so great for anyone hoping for groundhogs to predict an early spring.
Eep! Here there be shadows!
There are several small streams that wind their way through our property and we decided to see what they had to say about spring. Smile for the camera, Phyllis and Ethan! On our walk we noticed that there was no wind, the air was cold and did not smell like spring, and several doves were startled out of their hiding places as we passed by.
Looking for signs of spring.
But what did we hear as we approached the stream? The sweet burble of running water! Icy cold, but running freely. David and Ethan have made a plan to grab the water filter and go back to the stream to get water for "spring" tea today. (It's regular black tea, but we're calling it spring tea in honor of the unfrozen stream)
Running water is music to their ears!
As we arrived back at the house, we were greeted by a flock of Black-capped Chickadees singing and fluttering around our porch feeder. It was starting to feel like we had walked right into Phyllis's story!
Feathered friends sharing a song.

video
                                         
Well, according to the book Punxsutawney Phyllis we found two of the signs of spring Phyllis pointed out to her uncle (the brook and the birds), but were lacking the other two important signs (the Spring Zephyr and the earthy smell of warmer weather). We won't even mention the bold, dark shadows stretching across the snow.

Ethan and I decided that winter is still upon us and we embraced the cold with a crystal snowflake project. You just need borax, boiling water, a wide mouthed jar, pipe cleaners (it recommends using white, but we were all out), string and a pencil. Watching the crystals form as the water cooled was pretty amazing. We'll break out the magnifying glasses today to get a closer look.
The finished snowflake.
And how do you end a day as fun as this one? By snuggling on the couch and reading Can't Sleep Without Sheep, another excellent book by Susanna. Happy Groundhog Day and enjoy the weather, even if spring turns out not to be right around the corner.

22 comments:

  1. What a lovely winter hike, and fantastic scouting for signs of spring! I love the chickadee video - so busy and you can even hear them! And your Phyllis's are expertly colored :) Thanks so much for joining in the fun, and that snowflake thing looks totally cool! :)

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    1. The snowflake thing turned out to be much cooler than we expected. We may try it with different shapes and materials to see how it changes the result. We had a great time playing along yesterday!

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  2. Love reading about your adventure! Looks like a great time, especially when the book comes to life. What a fun-filled day!

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    1. It's the coolest thing when we read a book and then something happens in our life that mirrors the story. My boys get such a kick out of it!

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  3. I was wondering where all our chickadees had gone! Lots of gulls and blue jays still.

    Love the snowflake craft and the fun walk. Glad you were bundled up against the chilly 'spring' air!

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    1. We are chickadee hoarders here in Maine! I do love seeing them at the feeder. Thanks, Cathy!

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    2. I think our town banned birdfeeders as they were afraid we would entice hoards of marauding BEARS!

      The MA mindset is SO far from Maine. I have family in Etna, ME. I think they set up feeders to ATTRACT the bears, LOL!

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    3. Yes, the MA mindset is so very far from Maine. I grew up in MA and I like it up here much better. Your family is far braver than I am, our feeder is only up in the winter so that the bears don't start hanging out at our house.

      When we lived in Montana the black bears would come down into town looking for the apple trees in the fall. The local newspaper published a piece letting people know that spotting a bear was no reason to call 911, just walk the other way and maybe call animal control. LOL!

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  4. Cool - Team work!... I like it!
    PS Is more than one Phyllis Philli? ;)

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    1. Thanks! A pod of Philli? A plethora of Phyllis? Hmmm...

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  5. Heather...awesome activities...and one of the best was looking for signs of spring. Great job..it's been pretty cold here in Colorado also.:)

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    1. I have to admit, I love the cold weather :) Ethan and I did have a lot of fun on our searching for spring walk. We'll have to go every couple of weeks so we can see how things start changing.

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  6. Looks like a fun day at the creek. I love your borax crystal experiment!

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    1. The crystal experiment is pretty darned cool! Ben wants to try it again with some food coloring in the water.

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  7. Maine looks good on Phyllis. And ooooh, I'll have to try your snowflake activity. Very fun!

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    1. I do believe Phyllis likes it here in Vacationland. The snowflake activity was very fun! The crystals were larger than we expected.

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  8. Sixteen degrees? No thank you! But yes thank you for sharing your day's journey with the Phyllis twins and Ethan. I think it is wonderful that you made a day of it. I love nature, so maybe I could have overlooked the cold :-) I can't wait to try the snowflake activity with my granddaughter when she visits in March. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It was pretty chilly, but as long as we were moving it wasn't too painful :) I hope you have fun with the snowflake activity!

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  9. You have a great property, Heather! I'll bet Phyllis had fun with your son. :) (And as a bird-nerd, I appreciate very much that you capitalized Black-capped Chickadee properly...LOL!)

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    1. We do love our property, we were lucky to find it :) It's nice to meet another bird-nerd, too! (I always make note of new birds in our field guide so we have a record of what we saw and where. Nerdiness at it's finest!)

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