What sign do you use to predict winter? - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 09/03/06, 07:00 AM
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What sign do you use to predict winter?

I read somewhere the other day that we will have a bad winter. Thru the years I've heard of many things people look at to predict the winter. Here's some of them.

1. Catapillers (the darker their fur, the worse the winter will be)
2. Persimon seeds (spoon shape = snow, fork shape = ice, knife shape = easy winter)
3. Walnut hulls (thick is hard winter, thin is easy winter)

There are probably others I'm forgetting.

So, what do you look at to see if winter will be easy or hard?

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  #2  
Old 09/03/06, 07:58 AM
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Spinner, round these parts its the width of the red band on a Wooly Bear caterpillar that tells you what kind of winter to expect. If its narrow - you're in for a REAL winter -if its wide- you ain't. Pity is - I haven't seen one this summer -whats THAT supposed to mean?!!?!?

Also a heavry acorn drop is supposed to indicate a severe winter and we're walking on lots of acorns!

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Last edited by Wind in Her Hair; 09/03/06 at 08:04 AM.
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  #3  
Old 09/03/06, 08:06 AM
 
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Last Fall we picked buckets of acorns and it was a mild winter....in Maine.

"We'll weather the weather, whether we like it or not."

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Old 09/03/06, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wind in Her Hair
Pity is - I haven't seen one this summer -whats THAT supposed to mean?!!?!?
!

It means they have al packed up and said "heck with you people your on your own". We could probably find them on vacation in south america somewhere.
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Old 09/03/06, 08:21 AM
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hee hee y'all are crackin' me up.

So -here's a question...

Does "knowing" its gonna be a worse than normal winter CHANGE anything about the way you prepare for winter?

Seems to me those that truly "prepare" are prepared for any eventuality - long, short, hot, cold, wet, dry -whatever the season has to bring.

For us -there's nothing we'd do different...what about y'all?

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  #6  
Old 09/03/06, 08:26 AM
 
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Our preparation is the same... Wood, generator, groceries extra gas and battery for plow truck...

One thing that is a bummer is an early frost---puts a real crimp in the food storage plans sometimes...

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  #7  
Old 09/03/06, 08:31 AM
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Ive always heard that God provides for his critters so if the animals have a good thick coat and theres plenty of food for wildlife watch out.

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  #8  
Old 09/03/06, 09:45 AM
 
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Up in the big woods area of PA. they say if the apples hang on the trees longer ( like well pass first snowfall), it'll be a hard winter. Heavy acorn mast. My mother used to watch the wooly bear caterpillars too. One time she found one that was all black, I thought she was gonna have a heart attack!

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  #9  
Old 09/03/06, 09:53 AM
 
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I've seen a few wooly bear caterpillars. They are all tiny, about a third of the normal size. Never seen them that small before. What's that mean.

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Old 09/03/06, 09:58 AM
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There are 13 segments on a Wooley bear caterpiller. Each band represents a week of winter. Each black band is a week of harsh weather and each red band is a week of mild weather. (My idea of harsh weather might be different than the caterpillers idea)
So far, I've seen two almost fully red woolys and one almost completely black and a few that are marked in thirds. These bugs need to hold a meeting and reach a consensus.
I'm taking a course in meteorology next term at Lakehead U. in Thunder Bay. Hopefully after that, I won't have to interegate insects.

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  #11  
Old 09/03/06, 09:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wind in Her Hair
Does "knowing" its gonna be a worse than normal winter CHANGE anything about the way you prepare for winter?
I missed this in my first post. I always try to have at least 3 wks worth of supplies. Doesnt matter what time of year. In the fall we get everything in that we need for the winter. Like coal, wood, any hay or feed for the animals.
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  #12  
Old 09/03/06, 10:35 AM
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Along with the wooly bears the tent catapillars also tell by how high they build their cocoons. This year they are pretty much high up in the trees saying a lot of snow, but the wooly bears have the big red bands which say mild.

So like anything else the best weather indicator is still your eyes. Just be prepared for the worst and pray it doesn't out think you.

Bob

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  #13  
Old 09/03/06, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wind in Her Hair
Does "knowing" its gonna be a worse than normal winter CHANGE anything about the way you prepare for winter?
Makes no difference at all to my preps. I always stock up in the fall for both the animals and the people. I don't want to get out on the roads if there is snow or ice (doesn't happen very often here.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by rileyjo
There are 13 segments on a Wooley bear caterpiller. Each band represents a week of winter. Each black band is a week of harsh weather and each red band is a week of mild weather.
That's interesting. I never stopped to think of how many segments on the caterpillers. Now I'm going to be hunting a caterpiller so I can check it out. I've only seen one this year and it was light colored so maybe I have a easy winter to look forward to.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mandyh
I've seen a few wooly bear caterpillars. They are all tiny, about a third of the normal size. Never seen them that small before. What's that mean.
I wouldn't put much faith in them, they are probably young caterpillers that are so busy having fun they haven't given a thought to predicting winter this year.
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  #14  
Old 09/03/06, 10:47 AM
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My neighbors wood pile... if it's big, we're in for a rough winter

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Old 09/03/06, 10:57 AM
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I read in a Hillbilly cook book that if the corn husks are extra thick it means a bad winter. My corn burned up due to drought. I guess I better prepare for the worse and hope for the best.

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  #16  
Old 09/03/06, 11:43 AM
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If I knew, for a fact, it was going to be a bad winter I would order an extra 8 face cords of wood. A bad winter here is one where you get iced in for 2 weeks at a time so we would be burning wood 24/7 rather than 15/7.

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  #17  
Old 09/03/06, 11:54 AM
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When I lived in Wisconsin, I just watched my horses- They'd start to get wooly in August if we were in for a real bad one.

Now that we're in Texas, their summer fur is so thin it's nearly see-through (3 weeks of 103+ will do that, I guess!), HOWEVER, they are all packing on the fat padding on their ribs for no apparent reason; their hay is the same, feed is the same, pasture the same (not growing ), but they are DEFINATELY putting on weight, so I figure it will be a tough winter.

Yes, we have made stocking up on hay our #1 priority. It is so scarce right now because of the drought, we know there won't be ANY available in February/March if we run out and no one has cut the first cutting yet. We are being extra careful to put it up on pallets and under our "best" roof so that NONE of it will be ruined/wasted.

Also, I intend to make my FALL 9-PATCH QUILT an extra-warm one; with double-fill and maybe a flannel back.

Withing the next month, we will drag as much deadfall out of our woods as we can and set it up next to the big shed where DH has his workshop. Winter in Texas amounts to freezing rain and sleet, and DH had his fill of collecting wood in the rain last winter.....

I have also gone to the Goodwill and bought as many old, used wool and wool-blend blankets as I can find. They're great for taking the chill off of a shivering dog/horse/goat, as they warm them up while wicking the moisture off of them. (DH's old horse, Jake, who's 20, refused to go into the run-in shed last year because the sound of the hail hitting the roof terrified him, when it finally stopped, I had to cover him with every dry thing we had and rub him all over for a long time to get him to stop shivering! Not the best idea with your good linens and towels... )

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  #18  
Old 09/03/06, 12:27 PM
 
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The woolybears here are almost all black and the tent catapillars are building from the ground up.The nut crops are normal(we always have a good crop)but the squirrels seem to be more active than normal for this time of year.Maybe and early winter??A bad winter is if we get snow and it stays on the ground 3 days

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Old 09/03/06, 12:40 PM
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I haven't been in the wild places this year due to health. I don't know what I key to, but I get a 'feeling' and it is usually right.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, thunderstorms in August generally predict a dry winter. I think that the coastal water conditions that dominate our weather must take a long time to change, and if August makes thunder that means those currents are configured for 'dry winter'. Lots of predictions of thunder this year, but no actual thunderstorms.

This past year has been aberrant--there was delay in the normal coastal upwelling of cold water, and a lot of other strange weather patterns that we don't normally see. So I don't know this year what our local weather will be.

Our July was hotter than usual, our August and so far September are unnaturally cold. My hunch is that we're going to have a cooler, blander winter, with less rainfall than we want, but a lot of cloudy days and no great extremes in temperature. That is, the weather swung around like a pendulum during the summer, I think the winter is going to be a fairly steady blah becoming more 'swingy' toward spring.

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Last edited by suburbanite; 09/03/06 at 12:44 PM. Reason: typed the exact opposite of what I meant! :doh:
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  #20  
Old 09/03/06, 01:53 PM
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My hubby watches the squirrels. It's going to be a bad winter if their tails are really bushy and they're gathering a lot of nuts and hedge apples.

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