Groundie.4.22.2013aThe other day I was out in the yard picking up some tree limbs that had fallen down over the winter when something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. I saw something scurry from the yard to under the barn. I knew in a minute it was my groundhog friend, Groundie, making his first appearance of the season.

I rushed into the house to grab my camera and take up a hiding position hoping he would come out again and allow me to take a picture. Sure enough, my patience was rewarded as Groundie snuck back out from his hiding place and then stopped and posed for me.

I was happy to see the little guy, even though he notoriously munched on all my seedlings a couple of years ago. He must have known I started my seeds inside this week and was hoping I was going to let him in for an early buffet. Anyway, I took the reappearance of Groundie as a sure sign of spring, even though he clearly saw his shadow.

SnowOutMeanwhile, it was announced last week that “Ice Out” was declared on nearby Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire’s largest lake. Ice Out means that the lake is officially free of ice and open for navigation. Guessing the precise date and time of the official Ice Out on the lake is a big hot stove game up this way and has been a tradition for a long time. The mid-April Ice Out this year is pretty much average. Last year it was very early, like mid-March and there have been years that the lake had ice well into May.

I mention the Ice Out on the lake as another sure sign that spring will eventually make its way to the rest of the north country of New Hampshire. I still have a nice patch of snow that marks my measure for the season. The patch is usually the last to melt each year. It is in a north-facing corner in the back of the house where much of the snow from the roofs of the house and barn converges as it falls off. At the height of the snow season – this snow pile can reach the second story of the house even as the snow is tight compacted as it crashed from the roof.

The snow pack, as photographed the other day (above right), is much smaller than it was a few days ago, but it will be around for a while. I am now taking guesses on when “Snow Out” will come to the old homestead. Right now, I am thinking May 10th.