Friday, November 07, 2014

To Err is Human, to Moo is Bovine

Amazing weather picture taken by Mike Maze of WRAL in Raleigh, NC

We've had a couple of cool days here in Northern Virginia and, like clockwork, the young whippersnappers (when you get my age, just about everyone is a whippersnapper) on the local radio stations are speculating on what the upcoming winter is going to be like.

Invariably they'll bring up The Old Farmer's Almanac and speculate on it's forecast for the coming winter.

Don't tell me, don't tell me....let me guess:  "It's going to be cold as heck, blustery, heavy snow...all coming down at once...etc.


And how did I know that?

Very simple; I know how to sell books and magazines and stuff.  Same way you sell newspapers or get people to watch TV news. It's the old white bread trick;  "White Bread is not that nutritious."  or "Killer in the Bread Box."

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know which headline sells.  (Although Rocket Scientists haven't been getting very good press lately.)

Of course you or I couldn't just come up with something out of the blue and get the public and the media's attention without having "street cred," as it's called these days. And the Farmer's Almanac has plenty of that: It's old as dirt  (Started in 1792 or 1829, depending on which Farmers Almanac you're talking about; there are two; Old Farmer's Almanac and the "Farmer's Almanac."

I think the Old Farmer's Almanac might have a slight edge because of one thing. And that is, like Coca Cola, they keep their forecasting secret...secret.  So does their competition.

Old Farmers Almanac Black Box
However, the Old Farmer's Almanac keeps theirs in a locked black box! And to low information, TV numbed minds that probably means a lot.

There's another weather prognosticator that no one up here in Virginia has mentioned, but you may have heard of her because she's a native North Carolinian.  Her name is  Melissa Bunker better known as, The "Persimmon Lady,"

Persimmon Seeds
She predicts the weather by opening up some persimmon seeds; if the seeds are shaped like forks, it means, according to her, the winter will be mild; if they are shaped like spoons, there will be a lot of snow, and if they are shaped like knives, winter will be bitingly cold.

Her prediction for this winter is"

"Never have seen all spoons before!!! Tell the readers to prep for lots of snow. Even our ground hornets are moving up into our pecan tree."

Now,  she's starting to speak my language.  I'm a firm believer in the old school of weather forecasting;  or as my old friend Ty Boyd used to say,  "Wisdom gleaned from the passage of the sands of time through the hourglass of destiny."  The people's brilliance:

Hornets’ nest built in the top of trees indicate a harsh winter is ahead; nests built close to the ground indicate that a mild winter is coming.

If the cat washes her face over her ear, the weather is sure to be fine and clear.

Clear moon, frost soon.

When leaves fall early, autumn and winter will be mild; when leaves fall later, winter will be severe.
Woolly Worm (both ends look alike
to me.)

The darker the woolly caterpillar’s coat, the more severe the winter will be. If there is a dark stripe at the head and one at the end, the winter will be severe at the beginning, become mild, and then get worse just before spring.

A warm November is the sign of a bad winter.

When the chairs squeak, it’s of rain they speak.

Chimney smoke descends, our nice weather ends.

Three days rain will empty any sky.

When smoke hovers close to the ground there will be a weather change.

A ring around the sun or moon means rain or snow coming soon.

Catchy drawer and sticky door, coming rain will pour and pour.

When leaves show their undersides, be very sure that rain betides.

Birds on a telephone wire predict the coming of rain.

Finally, it seems that a lot of the old sayings involve cows so perhaps they are the most reliable predictors of weather: 

A cow with its tail to the West makes the weather best; a cow with its tail to the East makes the weather least.

When a cow endeavors to scratch his ear, it means a rain shower is very near. When he thumps his ribs with an angry tail, look out for thunder, lightning and hail. 

Makes sense to me.

Except, how in the world does a cow scratch his, I mean her, ear?



(Editor's Note:  I wish I could take credit for the title of this article, "To err is human, to moo is Bovine," but it is not original with me. I borrowed it from someone else....I have no idea who. My research tool (the Internet) doesn't seem to know either.  Although I think the author is the same guy who said, "Something in the way she moos attracts me like no udder lover.  -Ed