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How’s the Weather at Your Placing Looking?

Things to know with Nancy Jo

Robins flooded our yard Sunday afternoon. We had heard on the morning news that cooler temperatures would head our way by the coming weekend, and the robins confirmed it.

Old-timers know things. For starters, they know how to plan for a cold winter based on the signs of nature that abound. Nature has a way of taking care of its own. For example, oak trees produce more acorns for squirrels to gather and store when a hard winter is approaching. Rabbits grow more fur between their paws in anticipation of cold days, and other animals get prepared in similar, mysterious ways. And robins fly south just ahead of cold temperatures.

Before modernized weather and communication equipment emerged, the interpretation of such signs meant a difference in whether or not food would be on a family’s table. Theories on the weather were once passed from generation to generation. However, some of those wise words are becoming lost. While it makes good sense to look to television and weather web sites for forecasts, it can also be fun to watch nature’s predictions.

Working the land is not the common livelihood it once was. Desk jobs have replaced family farms, and most people simply want to know whether to carry an umbrella or if their golf game will be impacted. Even those who have chosen the farming life often depend on meteorologists’ predictions for planning their next day’s work.

Old-fashioned farmers plant their gardens before good Friday or else don’t plant one. They watch for signs like thunder in February. The unwritten rule is if it thunders in February, it will frost that same day in April. Another belief is if there’s heavy fog in August it will frost three months from that day.

It seems like birds have chirped louder than usual since 2020 and the ensuing pandemic. Summertime frogs seem to croak louder, too. And there seems to have been more pine straw than before, at least in our yard. Lemons and satsumas have been overly abundant and especially delicious. I guess the Good Lord knows we need citrus for Vitamin C to keep our immune systems strong with Covid-19 still floating around.

Some old-time experts believe the first 12 days of January indicate the climate for the coming year. Their theory claims the first day of January represents the type of weather for the month. January 2 denotes the weather for February. January 3 characterizes March, and on and on. At our house New Year’s Day was warm. So was the rest of the week. If the old-time predictions have any truth, we’ll have a lovely spring and a warm summer. And to that I say, “Yay!”

A childhood tongue-twister by an anonymous author states, “Whether the weather be fine, or whether the weather be not, whether the weather be cold, or whether the weather be hot, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not.”

Whether the old-timers are right or whether the old-timers are not, we’ll weather the weather.

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Written by Nancy Jo Maples

Nancy Jo Maples is an award-winning journalist who has written about Mississippi people and places for more than 30 years. A former daily staff news reporter for the Mississippi Press, she currently writes for various media and teaches communication at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Reach her at [email protected]

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