Jun 11, 2014


It's Wednesday. I was supposed to have a post ready for today, wasn't I?

Well, it's like this. The last couple of weeks I've been making progress reports on the conversion of the closet in my office into a reading nook. Only there hasn't been any progress since I last reported. The pieces for the seat were cut out and painted and we're still waiting for the paint to dry. I have no idea what's taking so long, but without the seat in place I can't even start loading books onto the shelves unless I want to stand on the frame, and I'm not sure I'm brave enough, or desperate enough, to do that. So hopefully the nook will be finished over the weekend.

In the meantime, I need something to post about today. And as I was sitting at the dining room table having my breakfast, I'm looking out into the backyard and I notice the chestnut tree at the back of the yard, and it only has a few blossoms on it. And I vaguely remember an old wives tale correlating the number of blossoms to the severity of the coming winter, and I thought that would make an interesting post, despite the fact it's going to require some research, which will make me even later than I am.

Too bad. It's piqued my interest now. :-)

Last year I'm pretty sure our chestnut tree was covered in blossoms and we all know what kind of winter we had. This year, either I missed them or there's only a smattering of blossoms. So it follows that we're going to have a mild winter. Guess only time will prove whether I'm right or wrong.

Anybody local out walking last night? Did you notice if there was any dew on the grass? There probably wasn't because it's raining today. This is an old wives tale I've stood by for ages. If there's no dew on the grass, it means it's going to rain.

Those are the only two I know personally, so now let's find a few others.

When the wind blows so that the leaves of the shivering aspen turn over, a storm's coming - I got this one from my aunt, and it makes sense to me because storms are so often accompanied by high winds.

When the cows are laying down in the field it will likely rain - I've heard of this one! And I often take note when driving by a herd of cows whether they're standing or laying down. :-)

"Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailors delight." - yup, heard of this one too. There's scientific basis for this one - if the sky is red at sunset it means there's a high pressure system with dry air stirring dust particles in the air, causing the sky to look red. Since prevailing fronts usually move from west to east, the dry air is heading towards you. A red sky in the morning (in the East, where the sun rises) means that the dry air has already moved past you, and what follows behind is a low pressure system that carries moisture.

Here's one I've never heard of before, but also has science to back it up: "Rainbow in the morning, need for a warning." A rainbow in the west is the result of the rising sun's rays from the east striking moisture in the west. Most major storm fronts in the Northern Hemisphere travel west to east, and a rainbow in the west means moisture, which can mean rain is on its way. On the other hand, a rainbow in the east around sunset means that the rain is on its way out and you can look forward to sunny days.

Winds which blow from the east can indicate an approaching storm front; westerly winds mean good weather. Strong winds indicate high pressure differences, which can be a sign of advancing storm fronts.

If the smoke from your camp fire swirls and descends, you need to brace yourself. This effect is caused by low pressure, meaning rain is on the way.

Here's one that contradicts my chestnut blossom one: when the rowantree has a lot of berries in the autumn it means a mild winter; if there's only a few rowanberries, it means a severe winter.

To calculate the temperature in Fahrenheit, count a cricket’s chirps over fourteen seconds and add fourteen. Exact formulas vary, but this one is endorsed by the Old Farmer’s Almanac. And it pretty much works due to the cricket’s metabolism varying based on the weather.

Pine cone scales remain closed if the humidity is high, but open in dry air.

If there's a ring around the moon, it means snow (or rain) is on the way. This is another one that was proven scientifically. The ring effect is caused by thinly stretched cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds are usually at the forefront of a storm movement and will arrive 12 to 24 hours before the rest of the storm.

Birds get very quiet right before it rains.

Turtles often search for higher ground when a large amount of rain is expected.

Some people swear they can predict rain based on their aches and pains. This could be due to a fall in barometric pressure, which causes blood vessels to dilate slightly, enabling a storm to affect everything from bones and joints to muscles and sinuses.

If swifts and swallows are flying low at dusk before they go home to roost, it's a sign of bad weather to come. The opposite is true if they're flying high.

So . . . did any of these look familiar? What are some of your favourite old wives tales concerning weather? I'm very curious to know. :-)

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