What sign do you use to predict winter?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Spinner, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    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?
     
  2. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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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." :shrug:
     

  3. TexasArtist

    TexasArtist Well-Known Member

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    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. :p
     
  4. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our preparation is the same... :shrug: 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...
     
  5. Dink

    Dink Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  6. Bear

    Bear Well-Known Member

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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!
     
  7. mandyh

    mandyh Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  8. rileyjo

    rileyjo Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  9. mandyh

    mandyh Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  10. MooseHeadRider

    MooseHeadRider Member

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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
     
  11. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    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.)


    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. :p I've only seen one this year and it was light colored so maybe I have a easy winter to look forward to.


    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. :cool:
     
  12. shaycool

    shaycool Well-Known Member

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    My neighbors wood pile... if it's big, we're in for a rough winter
     
  13. harrisjnet

    harrisjnet Okie with Attitude

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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.
     
  14. kitaye

    kitaye Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  15. jill.costello

    jill.costello Well-Known Member

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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 :rolleyes: ), 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 :p 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... :rolleyes: )
     
  16. chris30523

    chris30523 Well-Known Member

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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 :p
     
  17. suburbanite

    suburbanite Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  18. 6e

    6e Farm lovin wife Supporter

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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.
     
  19. patarini

    patarini Well-Known Member

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    November is a good predicator of winter -- it usually comes right afterwards.
     
  20. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I used to be a grain farmer and I constantly fretted over the weather. It was either too wet, too dry, too cold or too something. Often the crops were decent and again there were times when the sales would not cover the input costs. After a while I took the attitude that with the changing seasons there was nothing that I could do and I needed to stop my worrying. Since then I have taken the position that regardless of the weather that "it (the weather) is good on some things and bad on others". Therefore, I no longer concern myself with what the weather is going to be. I plant when I am ready and if I get rained out then I will continue when it dries. You cannot imagine how much more I get done by not waiting for ideal conditions and life is far more enjoyable without the fretting. Try it!