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"What Ground Hog Day...Means to me."



What Ground Hog Day…

    …means to me.  So, here we are again. Alive, on February 2nd.  I always wondered why a ground hog has to take the hit for deciding what we are worried about when it comes to cold weather. I’m sure those of you reading this, perhaps may go look something up online and a few may post an answer.  Who knows…
    However, the feeling I receive from people, is that they are waiting for this day to find out when warmth is arriving. I usually don’t wonder this about the future, all that much. I query how well our fruits and vegetables will flower. Because, if you didn’t know this already.  In order to have lots of let’s say apples. Well then, you need lots of blooms on the apple trees. However, you lack blooms on apple trees when there is not enough cold weather. Snow kind of helps that. The blooms that is, on the apple trees.
    Let me give you an example. In the winter of 2012, the mid-Atlantic states had one of the warmest winters on record. Yep. I remember it. Actually, here in New Jersey. That late August into September I’d brought our daughters to a farm out in western Jersey to do our annual apple and berry picking. When we arrived at the farm in late August, and then Labor Day weekend again, apples were sparse. Good ones that is.  Unlike anything I’d ever seen. We barely got apples and the berries weren’t looking too abundant neither. The apples that were there, most had fallen onto the ground in a sometimes sort of pre-applesauce format. We were dismayed as to why.
    Our children then, were nearing ages ten and eight. As well, we’d brought along a friend as we sometimes did on our farm excursions.  We walked to the other side of the farm in the hot summer sun at two in the afternoon that day. It was over a four hundred meter walk, at least. Because we were determined to come home with some fruit, ‘beggars can’t be choosey’.
    On the other side of the farm, as far as their fruit that was still available, were peaches.  Yes, peach trees galore. I’d never done peach picking before, till that day. There is however, always a first. We enjoyed picking peaches. We picked enough with one of our oldest daughter’s friends to take bags and bags of peaches home. 
    I made due with the peaches, that year instead of apples. I made peach cobbler, peach jam, peach pies, peach ice cream. Yep, peach ice cream. Been making homemade ice cream since 1970. The old-fashioned way, mind you.
    Oh, and why the apples and some other fruits weren’t abundant?  Not enough cold weather. Not enough freezing temperatures, either. Along with very little snow, produces less apple blossoms. Ergo… Less apples. Apple prices went up that year. I do remember that as well. We are a somewhat apple-friendly family.
    So, when you do not like snow. Move very south. Because I’ll be praying for freezing temperatures and snow, every New Jersey winter, in New Jersey. We love our apples, especially in our pies.---Jody-Lynn Reicher

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