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Hunter: Candlemas Day

02/01/10 5:55PM By Edith Hunter
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(HOST) Tomorrow winter is technically half over - whether the groundhog sees his shadow or not. So commentator Edith Hunter is taking stock of what's left in the pantry and woodshed - to see her through until spring.

(HUNTER) Half the corn and half the hay Should still be left on Candlemas Day

Candlemas is a church festival celebrated on February 2 when the candles for church use are to be blessed. February 2nd is also known as Groundhog Day. Contrary to what seems like good common sense, if it is a bright, sunny day, the timid groundhog coming out of winter hibernation, sees its shadow and scurries back underground for another six weeks. If, on the other hand, it is a stormy or overcast day, the groundhog remains above ground and decides that spring is just around the corner.

Of course, we all know that on February 2nd there will be at least another six weeks of winter and we had better check and see how things stand. Since I have no livestock, I am not concerned about my supplies of corn or hay. But I am concerned about what remains of the produce from the garden.

I store many of these items in an unheated part of this house in what used to be Aunt Mary's vase room,. The vases are still on the shelves, but I use the rest of the space for cold storage.

Things are excellent on the garlic front. Charlie, the chief gardener now, planted three varieties of garlic, and I would estimate that a good half of the crop remains. Of the 20 strings of yellow onions, ten are still hanging on what used to be my parent's coat rack but now holds the strings of braided onions, and the bag of garlic. The enormous red onions are gone, or at least are in various kitchens.

We grew five varieties of potatoes. The red norland and red pontiac are all gone. They are best used soon after harvest. Charlie took away the half bag of russet that remained, so there are three fifty pound bags of Green Mountain and Kennebec. These should see us well into spring.
We have hardly made a dent on the frozen vegetables in the chest freezer in the shed - peas, carrots, and string beans are in good supply. There are still a couple of bags of frozen asparagus, chard and kale.

The real challenge, is the amount of wood in the woodshed. It used to be Charlie's job to see that the woodshed was filled. But since Charlie has taken over the garden, it is now up to Will and Sammy, to bring truckloads of wood over from the 15cord that Guy stacks at the edge of the woods. Will assures me that he and Sammy will keep ahead of things and will be bringing in many more truck loads before the woodpile disappears under the heavy March snowfall that is sure to come.

So, if you haven't checked already, it is time to see if you have "half the corn and half the hay" on this Candlemas Day.
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