Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You Caint do Nuthin' 'bout the Weather

Whenever I think of the weather, I am reminded of an old joke I heard years ago about an old hill woman and her grandson, who was doing homework on the correct usage of prepositions. After doing his homework, the boy was expected to go out and hoe up the garden. Just as the pupil thought he had finally grasped the concept, he closed his book, but not wanting to go hoe the garden he looked at his grandmother and said, “I wisht it would rain cats and dogs.” Not knowing (or caring) about the grammatical rules for the uses of prepositions, she responded to her grandson, “Why would you call weather that you’ve got to come in out of up for?” Hearing this, the boy opened his textbook again in bewilderment. I don’t know why, but that has always stuck with me, and I still find it humorous.

I thought of this again today when I was planning a new post about forecasting the weather. I grew up with many ways to foretell the weather by watching the animals. My Grandmaw Mary always said to pay attention to the animals, they will tell you things. That is true enough.

We all know about the wooly worm, and I’m sure you’ve even heard about Granny Clampett’s weather beetle. Even I have included some other time honored folk methods to making an accurate weather forecast in a previous post. Laugh all you want but you’d probably be shocked at just how accurate some of these methods tend to be. Included below are a few of the lesser known folk methods of forecasting weather by watching animals.

When bears store food in autumn, it is going to be a bad winter.

The chattering of squirrels in midwinter indicates an early spring.

If beavers build their lodge’s higher than normal, it is going to be a bad & long winter.

If you see bear tracks in the first snow of the year, it will be a mild winter.

If a cat warms itself in the February sun, it will warm itself by a fire in March.

If there are a lot of herons in the fall, a cold winter is in store.

When woodpeckers leave an area, expect a severe winter. If you see a woodpecker pecking low on a tree trunk, it is a sign of warm weather.

If field birds flock together, it is a sign of a bad storm coming your way.

After the purple martins appear in the spring, no killing frost will occur.

The color of a deer foretells the winter, the darker the coat, the harder the winter.

If fish are seen congregating in deep water, that is a sign of a cold winter to come.

If you hear no birds singing or animals scurrying in the woods, it is a sure sign of a bad storm coming your way.

If there are very few squirrel dreys (nests made of leaves), it is a sign of a cold, hard winter to come.

I’m sure there are more and more of these folk methods of forecasting weather. Also, I’d say there vary from location to location. Do you know of any other ways animals can forecast the weather?


The Tile Lady said...

Fascinating! I definitely love knowing these things and seeing if they hold true.

tipper said...

Matthew-you are always jogging my memory-I remember hearing the one about fish in deep water somewhere-maybe my Papaw or maybe some oldtimers that hung around a lake I use to work at.

The only other one that comes to mind is one you mentioned the first time I think-just a general "if animals grow thicker coats it'll be a bad winter"

Janet said...

I've always heard that cows lying down in the pasture meant a storm was coming. And,of course,the groundhog predicting 6 more weeks of winter if he sees his shadow.

Matthew Burns said...

I also have heard the one about the cows lying in the field is a sign of a bad storm coming.

And how could I forget about Groundhog Day? Probably the most famous animal predictor. AND it is its roots in Germany lore, it is called Candlemas, and a marmot was used.

I'll bet if we put our heads together we could become the new and improved weather channel. We'd probably be just as accurate.

intouchwith said...

I've always heard if the chickens stay out in the rain it is going to keep raining.

Matthew Burns said...

Yes, I heard that one too. Thanks for reminding me. My granny always said that a turkey will do this too, she said that if you didn't force a turkey out of the rain they will stand there and look straight in the air and drown. I don't know if that is true, but I'm guessing there's something to it since granny said so.