There's a lot nature can teach us in how to prepare for weather or season changes or even planting garden.
Often shrugged off as folklore or old wives' tales, there's reason these have been passed along for so many years - sure, a lot of it is superstition brought from the 'old country' - ie barn 'quilts' aka hex signs painted on barns to ward off evil spirits (much debate here). But some is based on actual watchable events - ie if the cows are laying down it will likely rain (although cows will lay down for many other reasons too).
At any rate, this time of year brings signs of how the winter will play out. The squirrels, the hornets, the woolybears, all chime in with their thoughts on winter.
August - For every fog in August there will be a snowfall.
If a cold August follows a hot July, it foretells a winter hard & dry.
Squirrel lore - Ever diligent, the squirrels spend the fall gathering nuts in preparation for the coming winter. It has been noted that in preparation for a rough winter they'll be busy working to gather and hide as many nuts as possible, stopping to eat minimally. On the flip side, finding large piles of nuts that have been cracked open and eaten can lead one to believe it will be quite the mild winter.
It is also said where the squirrels build their nests indicates how severe the weather will be - The higher the nest in the tree, the more severe the weather will be.
Woolybear - It is said the width of the middle brown band of the woolybear caterpillar judges the severity of the upcoming winter. The smaller the brown band, the worse the winter will be. However if the band is wide, it will be a mild and short winter.
Other interesting thoughts - The thickness of the hair of the woolybear can be used as an indicator as well. The caterpillar itself is made up of 13 segments (the same number of weeks of winter!).
Hornets - "See how high the hornet’s nest, ‘twill tell how high the snow will rest.”
The Leaves - When the leaves begin to drop early, autumn and winter will be mild - if they fall late, winter will be severe.
If these bode true, I believe we are in for a beautifully mild winter!
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Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who spends her time exploring and learning about the unique history and nature in North East Ohio. She lives with her husband and cat in Wooster where she is also a family portrait and nature photographer as well as grows and cans her own vegetables. When she's not doing that, yoga and embroidery (not at the same time) are other things she enjoys.