Mother Nature Prepares for Winter

Published 10:27 am Wednesday, October 20, 2021

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I did not grow up with central heating and air conditioning, but at some point, we got it. My daddy called the unit “The Monster.” I think it was because when “The Monster” came on, the electric bill went way up!

These last few days have been wonderful as “The Monster” has been silent. The morning temperature has been around 50 degrees, even a little lower. Forty-eight degrees makes me want to stay under the covers and I look forward to those days when the air conditioning unit doesn’t stay on all day long. I love a low electric bill.

I checked out the Old Farmer’s Almanac for the next few months weather forecast and it predicts temperatures to be four to five degrees lower than normal.

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One article in the almanac that caught my attention was “Twenty Signs of a Hard Winter.” I’m not a fan of cold weather, but I do appreciate the season of winter. Here are some of the signs of a hard winter, whether you have seen some of these or not.

First on the list was thicker-than-normal onions or corn husks. I guess the almanac assumes that we grow onions and corn, but since I buy my onions from the store all I have seen out of the “normal” is the price. I may not be getting a thicker onion, but it costs a whole lot more!

Another sign of a hard winter is when two woodpeckers share the same tree. Two things. The sound of the woodpecker working on a tree is a wonderful sound and Woody Woodpecker was a favorite cartoon of mine.

Thick hair on the nape of the cow’s neck is a sign of a hard winter a-coming. I’ve hugged a few necks in my life, but I haven’t noticed thick hair on the necks I’ve hugged. In fact, if there is thick hair on the neck, I usually don’t hug that one.

If you notice any mice chewing furiously to get in your house, cut some more wood. It’s going to be hard winter. Also, if you’ve seen a raccoon with a thick tail, get out your long underwear.

The Number Ten sign of a coming hard winter is the early arrival of crickets on your hearth. As soon as I get a hearth, I’ll look for the crickets.

Spiders spinning larger than usual webs and entering your house in great numbers is a warning sign for a cold and hard winter. Let me think, now. Rats chewing furiously to get in my house and spiders entering in large numbers; I think it’s time to put Junior’s Pest Control on speed dial.

Here’s one you don’t see every day. Pigs gathering sticks. I guess they are getting ready to build a fire to stave off that cold weather.

Want to know about the coming cold? Looks at the ants. If they are marching in a straight line instead of meandering, that’s a bad sign. Check the antifreeze in your car.

Here’s a sign that I, not only can appreciate, but actually observe. If the acorns from your oak trees are bountiful and squirrels are gathering them with gusto, that’s evidence that a cold winter is probable.

One more sign and this involves the Wooly Bear caterpillar. See them every day, don’t you? If the orange band on the Wooly Worm caterpillar is narrow, expect a colder than normal winter. I just love those Wooly Worm caterpillars!

Mother Nature knows how to prepare for a cold winter. It has hogs gathering sticks, thick hair growing on the nape of the necks of cows and all those varmints trying to get in our homes. Bundle up and barricade the doors!