From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Signs of a Hard Winter

Persimmon seeds, wooly worms, and such


One of my daughter's supervisors at work is a fruit and nut grower as well as a veterinarian. Keely tells me that he has been reading the persimmon seeds lately -- that is, cutting the seeds in half and looking at the shape of the divider between the two parts of the kernel. He says that this year, the persimmon seeds have knives in them. That means that this winter will be cold and icy, with cutting winds, according to Kentucky folklore.

If the persimmon seeds had forks inside them, that would foretell a mild winter, and if they had spoons, we should expect a lot of snow to shovel. (Or so it is said.)

Supposedly, nature gives various warnings of a bad winter. Have you noticed any of these lately?

  • Ant hills built extra high
  • Squirrels gathering nuts early
  • Squirrels burying their nuts extra deep
  • Squirrels building their nests low in the trees
  • Unusually bushy squirrel tails
  • The north side of a beaver dam more covered with sticks than the south side.
  • Hoot owls calling night after night
  • Wide black bands on the woolly worms
  • Solid black woolly worms
  • Cattle digging the ground and facing north day after day
  • Hickory nuts with heavy shells
  • Pine cones opening earlier than usual
  • Tough apple skins
  • Thick onion skins

I'm hoping for a somewhat harder winter than we had last year. I hope we get enough rain and snow to replenish the water table, and I hope we have at least one good cold snap to kill some of the insects and bacteria. I don't want any ice storms, though. I hope the knives in the persimmon seeds are right about the cold but wrong about the ice!

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If you liked this list, you might also enjoy Weather Lore: A Collection of Proverbs, Sayings, and Rules Concerning the Weather by Richard Inwards, a past president of the Royal Meteorological Society. published in London, 1898. It contains weather wisdoms from around the world, including the United States.  

2 comments:

Wilbur said...

What a lot of good indications. One I like is the old Indian's sign of a hard winter coming was "white man gathers plenty wood"
Wilbur

Genevieve said...

Well, my husband is busily gathering ... but actually, we have less wood laid in this year than last year. We're going to burn up some of the old stuff first. It should have dried out very well after a couple of hot summers.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
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