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That cold going around has finally taken me. That’s surprising, too, because I always exercise the most extreme caution when going out, being careful not to touch doorknobs with my bare hands and washing thoroughly upon arriving home. But who knows how we catch these things? It seems I am not alone with this “bug,” because lots of others have it too.

Perchin’ prediction

Hopefully, by the time this column appears in print, conditions on the ice will have improved. Heavy rain after a snowstorm makes for slushy, unpleasant walking.

Otherwise, those who can easily get out on the ice will find white perch schooled up in deep water of 40 to 50 feet.

Under the feeder

Most of us consider black-capped chickadees as innocuous, happy little birds. But that isn’t the case at all. Chickadees squabble fiercely among themselves, even driving other chickadees away from feeders. For me, this belligerent personality trait in so small a package seems commendable, bantam roosters with a black cap, fighting to survive.

Supper reminder

Don’t forget the Rena Whitney Scholarship Supper on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Waldo Town Hall. It’s an Italian-themed event and donations are accepted.

Groundhog Day

While not a legitimate holiday, I love Groundhog Day. It signals the impending end of winter, light at the end of a long, dark and cold tunnel. And even if the groundhog predicts six more weeks of winter, that would mean an early spring for us Mainers.

Also note that on warm days in February, groundhogs, or woodchucks, often stir from their partial slumber and walk about on the snow, stretching their legs, so to speak. A walk in the woods may reveal tracks leading from a hole in the ground. And sometimes, the tracks will lead to a leaning tree.

Woodchucks can’t climb straight up a tree like a raccoon, but they do enjoy walking up leaning trees, perhaps just to get some fresh air after being cooped up in a burrow for so long.

Weekly quote

Here’s an old English saying for Groundhog Day, which coincides with the church holiday, Candlemas Day:

“The Provident farmer by Candlemas Day

Has half his wood and half his hay.”

Here’s hoping readers have half their wood and half their hay. Happy Groundhog Day.