Ground Hog Day: Our Favorite Prognosticators

groundhogWe have just about a week until our furry friend from Gobbler’s Knob tells us if we can expect an early spring or endure another six weeks of winter. While Punxsutawney Phil is the groundhog we look to for such an important determination, he’s not the only one with prognosticating powers. With Groundhog Day coming up, we thought we’d introduce you to some of our favorite prognosticators.

The Deep North There’s a lot of pressure on a prognosticator — they have to wake up at the crack of dawn to let the world know if the next six weeks are going to be happy or chilly.  Shubenacadie Sam has the toughest job as he makes the first prediction in North America. He lives in Nova Scotia which is farther east than other prognosticators on the continent. But being first comes with perks. He gets to go to bed earlier in his hollowed-log and he has very own bag piper and town crier to announce his awakening.groundhog

The Land of Lincoln While most Americans knew about Punxsutawney Phil before Bill Murray’s movie Groundhog Day came out, they probably don’t know about Woodstock Willie or his home, Woodstock, Illinois — which is where the movie was filmed, making it, for all intents and purposes, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania for a few days. With the popularity of the movie over the last two decades, Woodstock has drawn a lot of visitors on February 2. The day is so big for the tiny town, a festival was created for it and the organizers recruited their own prognosticator — Woodstock Willie.

The Big Apple From tiny towns to big cities, a groundhog can find a home just about anywhere. In New York City, the chief prognosticator made his home at the Staten Island Zoo. Charles G. Hogg is known as Staten Island Chuck. However, he has taken a break from prognosticating for the last several years after an incident with the mayor of New York City. In 2009, he bit Mayor Michael Bloomberg and was taken off duty. His daughter, Charlotte, took over his duties in 2015. There’s no word yet on which groundhog New Yorkers will be counting on for 2016.

groundhogThe Peach State Down South, they treat their groundhogs a little bit differently than they do in the Northeast and Midwest. In Georgia, you won’t find their prognosticator — General Beauregard Lee — hibernating in a hole in a grassy knoll, rather, when he wakes up to check for his shadow, he has to crawl out of his mini mansion and look out from the verandah to make a judgement on the next six weeks. Beau (as he’s known at the Yellow River Game Ranch where his mansion is located) has been on the job for more than three decades, and he’s been rewarded for the hard work each February 2. He’s earned two honorary doctoral degrees and has been formally recognized by the National Weather Service for his accurate predictions. Last year, he gave the South an early spring. We’ll see what he has to say about 2016 on February 2.

Whether we get six more weeks of winter or we get an early spring, The Lakeside Collection has hundreds of items to make it the best six weeks of the year. From cozy blankets for the couch to breezy spring dresses, shop Lakeside for unique products at practical prices.

3 Benefits of Wood Flooring

puppy-hardwood-floorHomeowners can now choose from an incredible array of materials for their home flooring. They can invest in luxurious marble, soft carpet or traditional wood floors. The best flooring materials may cost a little more, but they’re worth the investment because they’re durable and easy to care for. If you’re in the market for new flooring, here are a few of the benefits that make wood floors one of the top choices.

 1. The Most Cost-Effective Choice

Wood floors carry a higher price tag than carpet or linoleum, but they’re usually more affordable than natural stone. However, this higher price tag must be weighed against the benefits. When you look at all the facts, you’ll realize that wood really is more cost-effective than other options because it’s durable and easy to care for.

Wood can last for decades with a little care. In fact, there are century homes that still have the original wood floors. Most families can expect their wood floors to look great for 15 to 20 years. As the finish wears down, the floors can be refinished two to three times. Compared to carpeting that only lasts 7 to 10 years, it’s clear that wood is the better choice.

Wood floors also help you save money through lower maintenance costs. Carpets require regular vacuuming, and you should plan on having them steam cleaned annually. Wood floors, however, generally require little more than a dustmop, broom and dustpan. They can handle heavy traffic, and scratches that come with regular use give the floor character rather than making it look untidy.

 2. Warmth and Ambiance

Wood floors can be polished or waxed to bring out their natural shine. This gives them a special warmth and ambience that carpet cannot mimic. They have a traditional feeling that makes the home look more inviting and appeals to visitors and home buyers alike.

People often worry that wood will be cold underfoot, but it’s surprisingly warm. This is because wood is a natural insulator. While it’s not as warm as carpet, it’s much warmer than ceramic or concrete. This makes it pleasant to walk on with bare feet. If you’re still worried about the temperature, then you can put down an attractive area rug to further warm the space while still allowing your wood floor to shine.

Another great benefit of wood is that it goes with everything. It matches any décor and works nicely with any color scheme. It’s a wonderfully neutral color that fits with your style without taking over the space. For instance, if you visit Beechwood Organization website gallery you will get the complete picture.

 3. Environmentally Friendly and Safe

The processing of wood and use of sustainable forests makes wood a surprisingly eco-friendly option. It’s also considered better for the environment because it lasts so much longer than carpet or linoleum. It won’t hold dust mites or other allergens, so it’s also better for families who suffer from allergies. Without any porous fibers to trap odors, you won’t have to worry about using harsh chemicals to clean the wood.

When it’s time for new flooring in your home, take a closer look at beautiful wood. You’ll love how the wood flooring looks today, and you’ll appreciate how durable and easy to clean it is. Rather than replacing carpet with every decade, you’ll save money by enjoying the same wood flooring for the long-term. When it’s time to sell, you’ll also see your home attract more potential buyers and ultimately fetch a higher selling price than homes that don’t have this luxurious option. Wood is a timeless choice that you’ll never grow tired of, and you’ll enjoy the many benefits for years to come.

Jim Taylor has been a writer and part-time blogger since 2008. He mostly writes about home improvement, family and food. Jim also loves to travel and spend quality time with closest family.

Image Credit: grza.net/gis/Animals/