Old-Timey weather prediction often proves as reliable, if not more so, than today’s hit and miss predictions. Have you ever wondered how the old-timers predicted weather? Old-timey weather prediction was part science and part wise tales.
The weather plays an important role in the life of a homesteader. We find ourselves checking the weather forecast frequently. It helps us plan our days and save those inside chores for when it’s nasty outside. Some things just have to be done no matter what the weather, but knowing what’s ahead is a helpful tool. I enjoy reading reading about and utilizing old-timey weather prediction. Although they probably didn’t know or understand the real science behind them, they knew they worked. Knowledge and information handed down generation to generation became lost as we had weather forecasts on our televisions and radios. We even have whole channels dedicated solely to the weather.
Some of the old-time weather predictions were based on old wives tales and are often comical, but many of them worked. They could predict the weather with great accuracy. My grandparents were closer than any weather man I’ve ever listened to. These are some of my favorites:
The darker the woolly caterpillar or its brown stripe, the harsher the weather.
The higher the clouds, the better the weather.
“Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.” Did you know that’s from the Bible? Jesus said,“When it is evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering.” Matthew 16:2-3
Many of the old-timey sayings about the wind and weather point to the west as the place to watch for developing conditions. Jesus also said, “When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.” Luke 12:54-55. So people have long known how to read the weather signs.
A weathercock that swings to the west
Proclaims the weather to be the best.
A weathercock that swings to the east
Proclaims no good for man or beast.
Bats flying around in the evening indicates fair weather.
To convert cricket chirps to degrees Fahrenheit, count number of chirps in 14 seconds then add 40 to get temperature.
If there is dew in the grass in the morning, chances are it won’t rain that day.
Three dewless morns, rain is for sure.
Dew before midnight, next morn will be bright.
If you make a fire outside and the smoke goes straight up, you will have good weather. If the smoke curls and wisps then rain is on it’s way.
Clear Moon, frost soon.
When clouds appeal like towers, the Earth is refreshed by frequent showers. Rainbow in the morning gives you fair warning – rain approaching from the west.
Bees a’ swarmin’ in July, Bring little more than a dry.
When bees stay close to their hive, rain isn’t far away.
When ditch and pond offend the nose, look for rain and stormy blows.
Chimney smoke that ascends high means fair weather. Chimney smoke that stays low or ascends and then billows back down indicate storms on the way.
The earth and flowers smell strongest just before showers.
Birds fly high, no worries from the skies.
Cattle gathering in a tight group in a corner or even in a field indicate a storm approaching quickly.
Ring around the moon, rain or snow in the next three days.
Well, these aren’t the tip of the iceberg I’m sure. There are so many I don’t know if any one book records them all. I’m often grieved by the knowledge and wisdom we’ve lost from the old-timers. If you’re still fortunate enough to have an older person in your life, please sit and talk to them, listen to them, learn from them.
Can you can add your own old-timey weather predictions to this short list?
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Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and The Pack