Herbdoc has yet another timely and helpful post:
New England folklore tells us that the wooly bear caterpillar (the larva of the Isabella tiger moth or Pyrrharctia Isabella) can predict how harsh a winter is in store. If the brown band in the middle is large, it will be a mild winter; if narrow, a severe one.
Severe winters are also forecasted by:
- an abundance of acorns
- very dense feathers on chickens or thick coats on raccoons
- Very thick skins on onions or corn husks
- Crickets in the chimney or on the hearth
- Frequent halos around the sun or the moon.
Old timers swear that winter weather can be forecasted by the shape of persimmon seeds. Seeds are cut in half, and the shape inside predicts the weather. If the cut seed has the shape of a knife, the winter will be so cold that the wind will feel like it’s cutting through you. If a fork shape appears, the winter will be mild with light dustings of snow, but if the seed looks like a spoon, the winter will be harsh with much snow to shovel.
Another prediction of winter is made from fog or late leaf fall. For every fog in August, there will be a resultant snow in the winter, and an old rhyme tells us:
When leaves fall early,
Fall and winter will be mild;
When leaves fall late,
Winter will be severe.
Given that we have already had a significant snowfall as close as Massachusetts, that the leaves on my trees continue to be abundant and green, and we have had a massive amount of acorns, I’m wondering if we’re due for a harsher winter this year. I believe I’ll buy a persimmon this week and wait patiently to see if my suspicions are confirmed.