Early this morning, while helping my son Andrew get ready for school, I opened the front door to get a glimpse of this newly hatched day….and let the dogs out to do their taxes.*
The sky was rosy pink.
1) “Red sky in morning, sailor take warning. Red sky at night, sailor’s delight” I recited aloud.
ANDREW: “Well, it’s a good thing we’re not sailors.”
ME: “Granddad used to always say that when rain was coming.”
ANDREW (sarcastically): “Well, I don’t have to look outside because I’ve got this cool thing on my phone called a weather app.”
An hour later, during our walk to school…
2) JACK: “Hey Mom, did you know that pine cones close up when a storm is coming?”
JACK: “Yeah, we learned it last year when we were studying Indians.”
(It’s funny how much you can learn from your kids. Last night, for example, I learned how stupid and ridiculous Common Core is while helping Jack with his homework.)
On the way back home, the clouds opened up releasing a torrent of rain, causing me to shift into cheetah mode and feel like a moron for not grabbing an umbrella.
Here are a few other weather forecasting signs that God built into nature.
It’s going to rain if…
3) frogs start to croak louder than usual, and crickets suddenly get quiet.
4) cows run around with their tails raised high in the air…or lie down in the field. (“Looks like Ole Bessie got stung by a bee. Or she’s about to give birth. Or maybe it’s gonna rain.”)
5) Fish jump and rise to the water surface. (They also do this when chemical waste is dumped in their water.)
6) “When sheep are in a huddle, tomorrow will see a puddle.” (“Honey, I’ve got tickets to the Georgia game tomorrow. Will you check and see what the sheep are doing?”)
7)Bees and butterflies will disappear from your flowerbeds.
8)The smoke from your campfire swirls and descends instead of floating upward.
9) Bad smells become stronger. (I once had a rug that my cat urinated on a few times. Despite repeated shampooing, it would start to reek when air pressure was low and rain was coming. I hope the person I sold it to on Craigslist appreciates cat pee forecasting. I wonder if her neighbors come over to “smell the weather rug” when their power is out.)
10) Leaves on oak or maple trees will curl up or appear to turn over.
11) A ring around the moon can predict rain or snowfall the following day.
12) “Rainbows in morning, shepherds take warning. Rainbows at night, shepherds delight.” (Rainbows in the city, cover your kids’ eyes. It’s a Pride Fest.)
These things are good to know, but I’m grateful for TV meteorologists and weather apps. I’d hate to have to go out and locate a frog or build a campfire just to figure out what to wear in the morning.
Signs of a harsh winter approaching.
13) “Onion skins very thin, mild winter coming in; onion skins thick and tough, coming winter cold and rough.” (what the heck? Were ancient weather forecasters required to be poets? “Henry, forgodsake, quit your rhyming and just tell us if it’s going to snow or not!”)
14) “If March comes in like a lamb, it goes out like a lion; if it comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb.” (what does that even mean? Sounds like something you’d hear a drunk person at the bar slur mumbling just before he passes out.)
15) If you notice that squirrels are sporting extra bushy tails. (I swear I’m not making this up.)
16) According to the Farmer’s Almanac, an extra cold winter is coming if you see two woodpeckers sharing the same tree. (What if it’s the only tree around?)
17) Also, FA says that pigs gather sticks to prepare for a cold winter. (Seriously? Did they not learn anything from the Big Bad Wolf?)
18) Mice and insects determined to get to your house. (We already knew that one.)
19) Unusual abundance of acorns.
20) Narrow orange band in the middle of the Woollybear caterpillar. (What is a woollybear caterpillar?)
21) “See how high the hornet’s nest, ‘twill tell how high the snow will rest”
22) Thicker than normal corn husks. (They’ve been hanging out with the onions.)
For more surprising weather predictors, visit Farmersalmanac.com
* I used to always let Katie and Ayla out to “do their business.”
One day, I heard Jack ask “what kind of business do you think the dogs are doing out there?”
“Oh, you know. They gotta work on their taxes and stuff like that,” Andrew replied.
The following morning, I heard Jack open the back door and call to the dogs “c’mon, girls. Time to do your taxes.”
From then on, the dogs have always gone out to “do their taxes.”
Sometimes when filling out our 1040’s, I’m tempted to mail a few of Katie and Ayla’s tax droppings to the IRS.