Debbie Kulick, Something to Think About


Hoping you enjoyed the “bonus day” this past week. Getting an extra day in the year is both a gift and an issue, depending upon how you look at it or even more so, how you spent it. While our Feb. 29 in the Poconos was chilly and sporadically snowy, it was, after all, an extra day to do something different or to catch up.


The cold weather for the day and the fact that we will be entering meteorological spring arrived on March 1, the groundhog and his prediction of an early spring might be true. When does meteorological spring arrive and what is it? Well, it always will start on March 1 and then ends on May 31. That means spring is March, April and May. That part is already in place.


What does it mean is another thing altogether. Traditionally, March 21 has been considered the first day of spring. Only a few weeks to go — but wait! Now astronomers and calendar manufacturers have identified March 20 as the actual day spring starts in all time zones in North America. However, here is your “fun fact” for this spring: For 2020, it actually starts on March 19. So maybe that groundhog wasn’t so far off with the prediction. It’s not six weeks early, but it is early.


Just for fun — and something that might be interesting for those who like to have trivia at hand for the next dinner party — ever wonder about just what animals do have by way of predicting the weather? Here are some of the time-tested animal weather proverbs and prognostics that have been passed down over the years.


Expect rain when dogs eat grass, cats purr and wash, or when sheep turn into the wind and swine (pigs) are restless. Although I grew up with the saying if the cows are lying down, it will rain, the one that some farmers swear by is if the bull leads the cows to pasture, expect rain, but if the cows precede the bull, the weather will be uncertain.


Rain prediction seems to be a favorite of animals. Here are some others predicting rain. When cats sneeze, it’s a sign of rain. When horses and cattle stretch out their necks and sniff the air, expect rain. And wolves always howl more before a storm.


Now here is something that we should have noted before our mostly mild winter past, when rabbits are fat in October and November, expect a cold, long winter. If the mole digs its hole 2 feet deep, expect severe weather, if two feet deep, not so severe and if it’s one foot deep, a mild winter will follow. When pigs gather leaves and straw, expect a cold winter. When deer have a gray coat in fall, expect a severe winter.


I started to think that there was nothing an animal did that would predict something more pleasant in weather and then they were saved. If bats fly late in the evening, it means fair weather and if sheep ascend hills and scatter, expect clear weather. When the squirrel eats nuts in a tree, the weather warm will be. When the swallow’s nest is high, the summer will be dry, but when the swallow’s nest is low, you can safely reap and sow.


So many of these wonderful predictions and indicators have been told for years and years, most are found in different versions of the Farmers’ Almanac. Whether they “hold water” or not, it’s always interesting to see what nature provides for us simply by watching, and it’s fun to find out just what really happens when weather really was predicted. Happy March and happy spring!