|Mountain legends say if owls scream in daylight, bad weather will follow|
|Will you be smart or lazy?|
Although we have only lived full-time in the mountains of North Carolina for four years, I have been visiting this breathtaking area of the country since I was in high school.
I’ve spent many a happy day sitting by a waterfall on Cedar Creek listening to my friend Margaret spin tales of catamounts, panthers, owls and wildflowers that possess magical powers.
|American Indians used trilliums as an eye medication|
For years she has been collecting the local lore -- advice, stories and superstitions handed down from generation to generation. For example, legend holds that if you see a butterfly first in spring, you will be smart. But if you spy a fence lizard first, you will be lazy.
Of course, much of the mountain lore deals with atmospheric conditions. So after experiencing such unusual warm weather over the holidays, I decided to revisit some of the signs old timers rely on for predicting the weather.
Sage advice or old wives’ tales?
Here are a few of my favorites:
- If it snows on Christmas Day, the grass will be green by Easter.
- The first 12 days of January foretell the weather for each month of the year.
- When hogs carry sticks in their mouths, bad weather is ahead.
- If smoke blows to the ground, it will soon snow.
- If you see raccoons and possums feeding during the day, there will be bad weather in 12 hours.
- When the new moon rises with its points turned up, there will be no rain.
- There will be a winter snow for every morning fog in August.
- If you harvest onions with thin skins, the winter will be mild.
- If the wooly worm has a narrow brown band, winter will be harsh.
I like the idea of observing animal behavior and nature for clues as to what may lie ahead weather-wise. It’s a lot more fun than listening to the weather guessers on TV.
In fact I think I’ll start a journal and see if the “signs” prove to be correct or just fanciful tales.
I also consulted Baer’s Agricultural Almanac & Gardener’s Guide to see what is in store for the mountains in the upcoming months. Baer’s has published a guide since 1825 and it is an interesting collection of everything from long-range weather forecasts and garden news to recipes and folklore. Surprise! It appears colder days are ahead.
|The largest Lady Banksia rose covers 9,000 square feet|
The almanac in the past has also included some fun facts about roses. Apparently the largest rose bloom ever bred was 33” in diameter. In addition, the largest rosebush in the world is a white Lady Banksia that came to Arizona from Scotland in 1885 and has a single trunk six feet in diameter. Talk about a pruning challenge!
Reading about these unusual roses has me anxiously looking forward to spring.
And since it did not snow here on a balmy Christmas Day, I’m assuming that the legend is right, and we won’t have bright green grass by Easter.
|Mountain folks say speedy red squirrels can snag a pine cone and be waiting on the ground when it falls|