Editorial: Southern science helps predict the weather

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 8, 2020

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Hold on tight, folks.

There’s almost three months left in 2020.

We all know about 2020 — the year we wish had never happened. The year of coronavirus. The year of upside down worlds. The year to forget.

2021 is right around the corner. We’d like to think that it has to be better, maybe even the year of the vaccine. But hold on. There’s some scientific proof out there that the beginning of the next year will be anything but smooth sailing.

For one, check those persimmon seeds. If you don’t know what a persimmon is, turn around and drive back to wherever it is that you came from; or learn our ways. I’ve seen multiple posts on Facebook (We all know that’s the best place to get the most reliable news) of persimmon seeds cut in half. I’ve even done it myself. Every one of them shows a spoon. According to science (which around here we call old wives’ tales), when you cut a persimmon seed in half it will reveal the weather for the upcoming winter. A spoon means we’ll need shovels to dig out of the snow. At least that’s better than a knife, which means icy and bitter cold. But it’s not better than the fork, which indicates a mild winter. Those climate changers really wanted a fork, expected a fork, but sorry. You can’t argue with Mother Nature.

And at our house over the weekend, there was another phenomena that occurred in and around what we affectionately call the Calahaln Botanical Gardens. Just sitting outside wondering why that hummingbird hasn’t left for warmer climes, watching that butterfly on the flowers, all the while wondering if it will be the last one of the season, well, it was like a war zone.

The garden is anchored on one side by a giant oak tree. A path to an outbuilding meanders under that tree. By my estimation, 20 acorns fell every minute. Every minute. Every hour. All day. All night. You couldn’t walk the path without being bombarded with acorns. They covered the path. They covered the ground. And when you look up into the tree, it appears that it’s still full of acorns.

And to top all of that, a neighbor has an outbuilding with a metal roof. You guessed it, an oak tree hovers over that building. It sounded like they were practice shooting over there.

We all know (at least those of us from these parts) what it means when an oak tree puts out many more acorns than usual.
It will be a harsh winter.

Here are some other things to look out for, if you believe in true Southern science.

I’d bet that the deer are growing thicker winter coats for the winter. That happens when it will be especially harsh.

Growing up, I well remember that every time we awoke to fog in August, someone would say that means it will snow one day in the winter. Ten foggy August days, 10 snowy days in the winter. Sorry, but I didn’t count the foggy August days this year.

Farmers, check those ears of corn. If they’re thicker and tighter than usual, we’re in for a doosy of a winter.

You see, back in the day, folks didn’t have the nightly news to give them “the most accurate” weather forecasts. So they figured it out on their own. And most of those old wives’ tales have at least some scientific basis; or in the very least, have been proven by experience.

Here’s some more if you decide to ditch the weather forecasters.

If you hear thunder in the winter, snow is on the way.

If there’s a halo around the moon, a snow  is coming within the week.

If the cows are laying down, snow is imminent.

Remember, you read it here first, straight from the keyboard of a bonafide Southerner, one who knows the difference between a persimmon and a paw paw.

I wonder what that Wooly Worm is looking like these days?

Mike Barnhardt is editor of the Davie County Enterprise-Record.