Life in Christian County, Kentucky... The Rural Life...
Our Mennonite neighbor, Willis, is good at watching the weather. Most farmers are, but Willis doesn't have a radio or television to get the latest weather reports. He does have a telephone number that he can call to hear the forecast. He supplements that by asking everyone he sees if they've heard what the weather is supposed to do.
Willis keeps a journal of weather observations. He writes down the amount of rainfall, the depth of the snow, the dates of the last frost and the first freeze, and the details about any unusual weather, from a bad storm to a heavy dew. He uses his records to track microtrends for his farm that would never be seen by a general weather analysis of the region.
Willis also watches the weather throughout each day. He's aware of how the clouds look and where they are, whether the temperatures are going up or down, the strength of the wind, and most importantly, the direction in which the wind (thus the weather) is moving. He makes comments that remind me of the things my own dad and mom used to say. "I don't like how the wind has switched to the southeast." Or, "It will clear off now that the wind's changed." Or, "I'm afraid the wind's going to get in the southwest and stay there."
From all of this, plus frequent readings of his barometer, Willis knows more than most of us what the weather will be like. Last week, he spread manure on the field in the photo, and yesterday he plowed it. Today it rained. That's not a coincidence. Willis can't control the weather, but he can work around it.