Marmots don’t predict the weather

yellow-bellied marmot

A yellow-bellied marmot can’t predict the weather. Its cousin, the groundhog, can’t either.

I have not written anything about this in a while, but those of you who live outside of North America need to know something:

Every Candlemas, local news stations across the Anglo-American world will be covering a bizarre ritual. At the local zoo or wildlife center, some people with super-thick gloves will be annoying the resident marmot this morning. In my part of the world, it will be French Creek Freddie, a groundhog, who will be roused from his deep hibernation. He will be taken out into the broad daylight.

And somehow, it will be determined if he saw his shadow or not, and if he sees his shadow, then we’re in for six more weeks of winter.

The big ritual happens at Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and it is supposedly based upon an German custom of annoying a badger or hedgehog on Candlemas for the same purpose. Neither species is found in Pennsylvania, although wandering American badgers have occasionally turned up in Western New York and even West Virginia.

So they went with the local marmot species as a stand-in. The one in Punxsutawney is called Punxsutawney Phil. There is already a livestream set up for his prediction this morning.

In Montana, a yellow-bellied marmot named Bitterroot Bill. He’s not exactly the ground of Pennsylvania, but if the groundhog of Pennsylvania is a stand-in for a badger or hedgehog, shouldn’t a yellow-bellied marmot do just as well?

At least Van Island Violet, an endangered Vancouver marmot, will be left alone to sleep through her hibernation. Canadians, at least on the West Coast, are nicer to their local marmot than most of us are.

Indeed, this is about the only day that groundhogs get any truck with people in my area. Groundhogs are agricultural pests, and during the hot days of summer, they are frequently used as target practice by those hunters with itchy trigger fingers or those who are starting to doubt their marksmanship skills.

But if you ever see the Candlemas rodents when they are roused from their winter naps, they are quite grouchy. That’s why the handlers have to wear such thick gloves. I’ve never hibernated, but I can imagine that being roused from such a state is pretty traumatic.

I’ve always thought this is a bizarre custom for several reasons:

One is that I can’t imagine the groundhog is looking for its shadow when it’s hauled out into the light. I don’t even know that groundhogs even know what shadows are. The main thing these animals seem to be caring about is why they can’t be put back to bed.

The second is that, um, if an animal sees its shadow, that means the sun is out. If the sun is out, then that will melt the snow, and I would think that the sun shining would be a sign that winter is on its way out.

I suppose I’m thinking this stuff out too much.  It is, after all, just a regional folk custom that went viral long ago.

Most people don’t even know that today is Candlemas, because it’s not an Anglo-Protestant holiday at all.

In North America, it is Marmot Day.

The national news will let us know what ol’ Phil saw. Of course, he won’t be interviewed. There will just a proclamation read, and the news will report on his prediction. The local news affiliates across the country will report on the local marmots, and we will go on our merry way.

And then the real meteorologists will produce their forecasts. People will follow those a lot more closely than the rodent predictions.

And we’ll go back to our lives. The marmots will go back to sleep. When the grounhogs arise in spring, the guns will go off as soon as the find the vegetable patch.

But for one day, they are feted, even if they are too grouchy and dazed to realize it.

Natural History

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Community Rallies Around Heroic Pit Bull

Ossifer the pit bull hero

Photo Credit: The Happy Pet Vet

Gun violence is terrifying and often deadly. Thankfully, one dog in Chiloquin, Oregon saved the day when there was a shooting in late October. Because of his heroic actions, although one man was sent to the hospital, there were no fatalities from the dangerous attack.

According to the Herald and News, around 5:30 p.m. on Friday, October 27 a suspect aimed a gun at the son of Bridgett Glenn. The shooter hit the man once before Ossifer, Bridgett’s loyal pit bull, lunged at the shooter to prevent him from hurting additional victims. Ossifer protected the people, but received three shots in return – including in his torso. A representative told the paper that “It is extremely rare for a dog to survive that.”

Ossifer the dog who survived three bullet shots

Bridgett described her dog’s actions as “an amazing thing.” Thankfully, Ossifer had an amazing surgeon to help him. Dr. Tawnia Shaw, at The Happy Pet Vet, spent five hours operating on the heroic pup. Although he had to be resuscitated once during the operation after a cardiac and pulmonary arrest, Ossifer miraculously survived. In addition to an incredible medical team, the clinic said that Ossifer’s great health before the shooting was a reason he pulled through. A representative for the clinic told the Herald and News, “That dog was fit,” adding that Ossifer “was in athlete-type condition.” We all know how important exercise and proper nutrition are for helping a pet live their best life – it’s heartwarming to know that it can help heroes survive, too. According to The Happy Pet Vet, Ossifer had to stay at the hospital for two days after his surgery before going home on October 29.

Because of how extensive Ossifer’s injuries were and how much care was required, a local State Farm agent, Chris Watkins, started a fund to help Bridgett and her family cover his care. The community has also joined in and rallied around this canine hero. As of the last update, over $ 3,000 has been collected to help Ossifer. The community has helped in other ways, too. A commenter on Facebook shared that The Chiloquilters made a new, beautiful blue bed for Ossifer so that he has a comfy place to rest while he recovers. According to the veterinarian, Ossifer “is loving it.” There was even a Meet and Greet Silent Auction Fundraiser hosted at a local church where people could greet their local celebrity in person and bid on items donated by local businesses and individuals to help care for the hero. The event’s Facebook page noted that Ossifer wanted to thank his many supporters at the event.

Ossifer the Pit Bull play with his toy

Halo Pets

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Stairs are not mountains

These Bernese Mountain Dogs may be able to climb mountains, but household stairs have them flumoxed! Wishing you a weekend filled with no mountains to climb (unless that’s your thing, than have at it)! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Emmylou Harris Joins Best Friends Campaign

Fans of country music, canines and cats are singing the praises of Emmylou Harris! The entertainment icon, who will be honored with the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the…



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DogTipper

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The Universe’s Plans, Valentine Cards, & Other Random Thoughts

Valentine's Day Cards from Bubby and Bean
Valentine's Day Cards from Bubby and Bean
Valentine's Day Cards from Bubby and Bean

How’s that for a post title?

I received an email last week from a long time reader who said she had no idea we had a card/art shop and was so excited to discover it, which I have to admit made me chuckle. I not only started the Bubby and Bean Art Shop before I started the Bubby and Bean blog and social channels, but the blog was supposed to just be a small offshoot of the shop that I’d use to help promote it. And that’s why I had to laugh – because there was a time when the art shop (and my clothing line) were how I paid the bills, and the blog was not much more than a thought in the back of my head. These days, the blog is how I support myself and my family, and the art shop is such a tiny part of my work that in the off season (basically any time outside of the holidays and the period right around Valentine’s Day), I sometimes forget I have it. The universe just as a way of deciding things for us sometimes, even when they’re nothing like we initially planned.

That said, after putting the card and art shop in vacation mode for several weeks after the holiday rush, I just reopened it and added a bunch of Valentine’s Day cards. So if you’d like to give or send your loved ones hip, handcrafted, eco-friendly cards this year, I’d love for you to check them out.  Oh yeah, and you can take 25% of your order today through 1/25/18 with code LOVE2018. Woot!

Happy early love day, and may the universe have all sorts of the best plans for you this year.

ALSO FIND US HERE: BLOGLOVIN’ // INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Animal Welfare Law Rankings by State

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, released the 12th annual year-end report (2017) ranking the animal protection laws of all 50 states. For the 10th year in a row, Illinois is in first place—followed by Oregon (2), California (3), Maine (4), and Rhode Island (5). Kentucky holds firmly […]


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Football Star Named Pet Parent of the Year

As we get closer to “the Big Game,” football takes center stage…but one special player has gotten a big paws up for his work OFF the field. Petplan pet insurance has named pro…



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DogTipper

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Under Construction!

I am happy to announce that a new chapter is in the works!


LoveMy2Dogs

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Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Thank you Potatoes USA for sponsoring this post. Make a delicious and convenient meal for your family tonight with potatoes!

You guys hear me gush on a regular basis about how tacos are my favorite food, but there is actually another dish that has been at the top of my list since I was a kid: mashed potatoes. I mean, I genuinely start daydreaming about consuming buckets of them on Thanksgiving the minute Halloween ends, and over the years, I have played around with more versions of the standard mashed potato recipe than probably every other food combined. I’m not a mashed potato snob – give me a bowl of whatever kind you’ve whipped up, and I will eat it. But the dish I’m sharing with you guys today is my #1. On top of truly being one of the most delicious side dishes known to human kind, these parmesan mashed potatoes are incredibly easy to make. And there’s a special (very simple) hack that makes them the creamiest of the creamy. Read on for all the details.

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 20 minutes, Ready Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 6-8  |  Author: Bubby and Bean

Parmesan mashed russet potatoes, simmered in milk, are a deliciously unique take on a beloved American side dish. Topped with shredded parmesan and chopped green onions, they’re a flavor-filled favorite that can be paired with almost any entree.

INGREDIENTS
3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 cups whole milk
4 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel and cut russet potatoes into chunks, place into large pot, and cover with whole milk.
2. Simmer milk over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until tender. (Make sure the milk never comes to a full boil; just keep it at a low simmer.)
3. Add butter, 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese, and a few dashes of salt and pepper, then hand mash until well combined to desired consistency. (We like ours a little chunky.)
4. Scoop potatoes into a serving bowl and top with remaining parmesan cheese, chopped green onion, and another dash of salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

There are two things that make these mashed potatoes so exquisite. The first is an amazing hack I came across a couple of years ago where rather than boiling the potatoes in water, you simmer them in milk for an incredible level of creaminess. The other is the type of potatoes I use: russets. Russet Potatoes have a light, fluffy texture and delicious flavor that make for the perfect mashed potatoes every time. And while russets are my favorite for mashed, I adore all potatoes. I mean, they’re all sorts of convenient, and an important staple in this house. They’re also a culinary canvas you guys – you can use potatoes in endless types of recipes, from breakfast to side dishes to full on meals. And, who doesn’t love potatoes? There’s never a complaint when they’re part of a meal around here, and there aren’t a lot of foods for which I can say that. (If you’re a potato fan like me, you have to check out the Potato Goodness Facebook page. Endless yumminess, guys.)

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Any other mashed potato fanatics out there? What’s your favorite mashed potato recipe?

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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8 Tips For Caring For Winter Skin

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8 Tips For Caring For Winter Skin

Those of you who are regular readers/followers have likely heard me discuss my issues with dry skin before, especially during the winter. Recently, I shared some of the ways I care for the skin on my face this time of year. And today, I’m excited to be partnering with Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant to talk about caring for skin as a whole during the colder, drier months – beyond the face, to include the entire body. (I wish I could say that it was only my face that needed extra care in the winter, but every part of my body is affected. I’m sure many of you can relate!) In addition to sharing some of my own tips that I’ve learned through personal trial and error, I’m also going to share some simple but highly effective tips from Dove Dermatologist Dr. Alicia Barba.

1. Use a humidifier. I run a cool mist humidifier in my bedroom every single night in the winter months. It’s amazing what massive increase in the dryness and irritation level of my skin I noticed on those occasional nights where I forget to turn it on. Using it nightly results in much softer skin that isn’t itchy or irritated.

2. Care for your underarms. I admittedly never even thought about caring for the skin on my underarms until I read a tip from Dr. Barba, where she reminds us that the sensitive underarm skin is an important area that shouldn’t be overlooked. Everything from dry winter air to fabrics on winter clothing like sweaters can irritate the skin. She recommends Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant  to keep the underarms hydrated and protected. And I’m a huge fan of it too. I absolutely love that it gives me 48 hours of odor and wetness protection. But what makes Dove Advanced Care #1 in my book is its added skin care benefits. It has a unique formula that contains moisturizers to help prevent and alleviate irritation, so my underarms feel smoother and softer when I use it. (You can grab some of your own right here!)

3. Stick to warm showers. Hot water dries out skin, and quickly. Taking a cool to warm shower instead can help prevent excess skin dryness. This small change has actually made a huge difference for me.

4. Bring a little summer to winter – with sunscreen. Even if your summertime bikini and beach bag are hidden at the back of your closet this time of year, Dr. Barba suggests keeping your sunscreen out and readily available to use daily. She also recommends switching to a moisturizing sunscreen that is richer than what you’d use in the summer months.

5. Make a bedtime routine for your skin. Dr. Barba says that bedtime is the best time of day to hydrate skin. Her recommendation for decreasing collagen breakdown at bedtime is as follows: 1. Wash your face. 2. Apply a retinol. 3. Moisturize. Easy and effective!

6. Pay attention to elbows and heels. It only takes a week into the wintertime and my elbows and heels are instantly cracked. I apply a thick moisturizer or coconut oil to both of these areas every day while I’m getting ready, and immediately after every shower, which helps to soften my skin in these areas tremendously.

7. Drink plenty of water. Hydrating from the inside out is important when it comes to skincare, especially in the winter when the air is drier. I continually fill up my water bottle throughout the day to keep my entire body hydrated.

8. Avoid intense exfoliation. Another helpful tip from Dr. Barba is to lay off any sort of intense exfoliation in the winter. She says that when you over-exfoliate, it can actually dehydrate skin by stripping it of essential oils. This can also lead to breakouts during this cold, dry time of year.

Winter can be incredibly harsh on skin, but there are ways to guard against dryness and other issues so your skin feels as healthy and soft as it does in the warmer months. I hope these tips prove as useful to you as they have me. And I would love to hear tips of your own that I might have missed!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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