Phyllis made a stop in the mountains of North Central Washington on her World Tour! It was a chilly 29 degrees Fahrenheit when she arrived at our house in Washington State. But it's been a long, cold winter and once you've been in temperatures hovering in the single digits for a while, 29 degrees can seem pretty darn warm. So my youngest and I decided to not even wear coats when we took her out on a walk to see something spooky!
The Ghost Town of Molson. Okay, it's not really scary. I mean, we were almost there and look at that smile!
When we arrived the first thing my little guy had to show Phyllis was how to use the grinding wheel. It spins really fast. Luckily Phyllis didn't fall into the mud, but it was a close call!
Then he showed her the Sheriff's Office. The sign on the building says "Law & Order of the Highlands 1898-1972"! Really, 1972 wasn't that long ago!
Phyllis just had to check out the old printing press that's on display in the bank...
...and this cool thing called a typewriter. Phyllis thought that it must have been much harder to be a writer back then since there was no backspace or cut and paste. I have to say that I definitely agree.
There was this fancy window where the bank teller stood.
We had to show her the bullet hole in the glass. Yikes! Bet that was a scary day in the wild west when that happened.
My little guy was hoping that since Phyllis is so clever, she'd be just what he needed to finally crack the safe. They were both certain that there must be some sort of treasure hiding in there, but no such luck. That thing is locked tight.
So they went outside to check out all the weird and dangerous looking farm machinery.
The ore cart in front of the Assayer's Office was pretty cool. It was even on a track.
But this sign was the best!
Phyllis was sure to sign the guest book before she left. Now everyone that visits will know that a world famous groundhog has been to Molson on her World Tour!
Here in Molson we're holding a little Ice-Off contest. All the residents have sealed up their guess of the date and time that the ice will melt off Molson Lake. The winner gets the glory of being right. The loser has to buy all the meat to barbecue at the celebratory potluck at Lefty's which is a local, very cool, um...man cave. Ha! Anyway, Phyllis thinks our guess of April 4th is a pretty good one!
While Phyllis was here she was kind enough to answer a few questions too! So here's my interview with Punxsutawney Phyllis:
Phyllis, why do you think you’re so good at predicting the weather?
I come from a long line of weather predictors, so I guess part of it is in my genes :) But also I pay attention to things. I look and listen carefully. And I try not to jump to conclusions. Just because we usually have 6 more weeks of winter after Groundhog Day, for example, doesn't mean it's going to happen every year!
How can people be more like you and use their instincts to make weather predictions?
People are at a disadvantage. Their senses just aren't as keen as a groundhog's. They should probably just ask me :)
-Well, then you'd better be in some more books then, we're going to need you! You'd should have a chat with Susanna about that!
How did you feel when everyone in your family thought that your blizzard warning was a bad joke?
I like jokes as much as the next groundhog. As you can see from April Fool, Phyllis, I played a joke right back on them! I was just worried because the other groundhogs thought I was fooling and didn't take me seriously, so I was afraid someone might get lost in the blizzard! And honestly, Phil Junior and Pete always think they're funnier than they are. My joke was much better!
What is your favorite weather word? (Mine is cumulonimbus!)
My favorite weather word is Anemometer because it is fun to say :) (And if you don't know what that is, it measures wind speed!)
The treasure hunt had some tough hints. How did you get so good at figuring out clues?
Well, I love puzzles. And I know that Uncle Phil, who makes up the treasure hunts, likes to make them fun and not obvious. So when we reached the first treasure chest and found the April Fool clue, I figured it out pretty quick!
I absolutely love pure maple syrup! How can sap from a tree taste so good?
I love maple syrup too! And not all sap tastes good, in case you're wondering. Maple sap tastes good even before you turn it into syrup - it has a sweet flavor and smell, but it's much more watery before it's cooked down. Oak sap (which there isn't much of) tastes terrible no matter what and it doesn't smell good either! There's an Algonquian Legend that maple syrup was discovered when Woksis, a chief, pulled his tomahawk out of a tree where he had left it the night before. The weather that day warmed while he was out hunting. The sap flowed and landed in a vessel that just happened to be underneath. When his wife went to fetch water for dinner, she saw the vessel full of clear sap. She tasted it and found it sweet. Thinking it would save her a trip to the river, and not wanting to waste anything, she used the sap to cook her venison. When the chief came home, he smelled the delicious maple aroma, and tasted the sweet gravy, and that is how maple syrup was discovered. The Algonquians called it "Sinzibuckwud" meaning sweet water.
Wow, you sure know a lot about sap. So, can you tell us why there is a sap line strung from maple tree to maple tree?
Back in the old days, sap was collected by buckets hung on spigots on maple trees. The buckets were heavy and sloshed easily, and it was a lot of hard work to collect the sap. Someone figured out you could run a sap line (like a tiny hose) from tree to tree and collect all the sap at once into one place. Much easier! And a good thing for us that it was there so we could find out way back to the sugar house!
You can learn more about Phyllis in her books:
Many thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill for letting Phyllis stop by!