Friday, February 03, 2012

Food Friday - Corn Bread

Corn Bread - MI00170
I recently made some corn bread made from scratch. It came out terrific. I tried it with maple syrup for giggles, which was pretty good, but my favorite way to have it is with butter. Plain is good too!

Another batch might be on it's way too, as I still have quite a bit of corn flour hanging around.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Beyond the Groundhog

Beyond The Groundhog. What?

February 2nd carries a tradition in parts of the United States and elsewhere called Groundhog Day. Tradition states that on Groundhog Day, the groundhog comes out of his burrow and takes a look around. The story is that if it is cloudy, the groundhog stays outside of the hole and springtime weather will usher itself in early. The story continues to say that if the weather is sunny, the groundhog would see his shadow, become frightened and go back into his burrow, and that the effects of winter weather would continue for six more weeks.

I have a few questions about the traditional story. Interesting as it is, how does one reconcile against cloudy weather in one local area, and sunshine nearby? Or how do you explain the groundhog that stays out in the sunshine, or one that runs back in while under cloud cover, or one that simply won't come out at all?

Whether accurate or not, Groundhog Day may be a hopeful indicator of when spring changes will occur for some.

Then there's Imbolic.

A Gaelic name for this time, a Pagan holiday. Festivities at this time include fire and purification ceremonies and some activities center around the goddess Brigit known as a poet, healer and smith. She is associated with holy wells and with sacred fires.

During Imbolic, it is said the Cailleach (you could think of her being depicted a hag) will bring a sunny day to make it easier for her to gather firewood, if she needs to stock up for a longer winter. If the weather is bad, she is sleeping in and has no need to gather more, as spring is near.

But wait, no groundhog? Well, almost. You see, people were often watching for other animals to run out of their underground homes.

A Gaelic proverb says:
'Moch maduinn Bhride,
Thig an nimhir as an toll,
Cha bhoin mise ris an nimhir,
Cha bhoin an nimhir rium.'

Early on Bride's morn
The serpent shall come from the hole,
I will not molest the serpent,
Nor will the serpent molest me.

(Proverb source: Carmina Gadelica, Volume 1, by Alexander Carmicheal, [1900], at

The Bride's morn you may ask?
The text above saying Bride (and Bhride), and may be linked to Saint Brigit of Ireland. Why do I bring up Saint Brigit? Well her feast day is February first and please note the similarities besides the name, with the Bridget mentioned above. It is said that her monastery kept an eternal flame going. Saint Brigit was often portrayed holding a lamp. She was also said to be able to multiply things such as bacon, butter, and milk....oh..and control the weather.