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Weather, As Told by Nature

Nov 10, 2014

Imagine a time when radars and barometers did not exist, when people relied on something other than technology to determine if the day were to be full of rain or shine.

Before television and The Weather Channel, nature told the forecast.

The wooly bear caterpillar’s coat was thought to foretell winter weather—darker shaded fur for harshness and lighter for mild.

In folklore, rain is sure to be on the way if you see a black snake in a tree, birds flying low, or ants covering the holes to their hills. Also, expect wet weather when rabbits play in a dusty road, wolves howl before sunset or a yellow-billed cuckoo calls.

Winter predictions seem to be the most popular. Plenty of firewood was stashed away when the squirrel’s tail grew bushier or beavers built high lodges.

Many farmers believed the first frost would appear three months after the katydids began singing. Today we rely on the evening news, but maybe we should also listen to the katydids.

Enjoy a fall adventure in the Ozarks at Twin Pines, Peck Ranch, Alley Springs and other places.

Fantastic Folklore

  • When the sun goes to bed red, ‘twill rain tomorrow, it’s said.
  • When peach and plum trees bloom, plant hardy crops (asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, strawberries).
  • When elm leaves are the size of a penny, plant green beans.
  • When wasps build their nests in exposed areas, expect a dry season.

Want more folklore signs? Check out this compilation from the Missouri Folklore Society at Truman State University.

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