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Wild Ideas A column by Mary Keck



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March 27, 2013 - I think these threats against Punxsutawney Phil are a symptom of winter mania.

I have to admit, my patience for the slush stuck on my car and the windy bad hair days is also running out, but groundhogs aren't the only sources of nature's news.

During a hike with my husband, a skunk surprised us, hissing as he emerged from a shadow at the base of a tree.

We were able to make our getaway without a dose of stinky perfume, but skunks, like coyotes and fox, are finishing up their breeding season. Since it was Pepé Le Pew and not a black cat that crossed our path, I'll consider our encounter a sign of spring's approach.

I witnessed another heart-warming scene this weekend when four wild turkey wandered into my yard.

Though I've noticed turkey and their tracks around all season, I've been hearing the honks of geese announcing a change.

Soon migrating predatory birds like eagles, hawks, and owls will join the chorus, but it might be more than the urge to travel that's drawing them here. According to The Farmer's Almanac, the best days for fishing are coming up as we head into the end of the month, and just in time nature may offer something to bait your hook.

On March 27, a full moon known to Native American tribes as the Full Worm Moon will rise.

It was so-named because right around this time of year the earth starts to soften, and you'll soon be spotting earthworms and their casts, which means Robins will follow.

I'm not saying there won't be a few more overcast days ahead, but nature's telling us the clouds will clear and the ground is starting to warm up.

As a March rhyme in the Farmer's Almanac tells us, "Storms, then sunny it's mild enough to walk your honey! All of a sudden, everything's buddin'."

It may have snowed on the vernal equinox, March 21, but whether the weather knows it or not, spring is just around the corner.

So, lay off that oversized groundhog, and try not give in to March madness just yet.

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