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Old Wives’ Tales Predict Tennessee’s Winter


Everyone has heard a good old wives’ tale, but you may not know how many there are that predict winter weather. 

The number of fogs in August indicate the number of snowfalls we will see during the winter months. There are many factors that go into fog which is created when the air is warmer than the ground so the water vapors condense. Every August my mother and grandmother would note watch each time they would see the slightest bit of fog, although it could have been a way to hype my siblings and I up for the colder months, because as a child the cold is no fun without a bit of snow. Is there any merit to the foggy August theory, there have been no published studies to prove or disprove the theory.

Some people believe if you cut a persimmon seed in half you can predict the weather. According to legend, if you see a spoon, there will be heavy wet snow. The spoon is to represent the need for a snow shovel. If you see a fork the winter will be milder with light powdery snow. Finally if you see a knife the cold weather might cut you in two. There has been a study done by the Jefferson County, Missouri Extension Office checked the seeds for 20 years and saw the seeds were accurate more that 75 percent of the time. 

Some people look to bugs to predict the season, two specific bugs to be exact. 

Wooly worms, or wooly bear caterpillars, coloring is said to predict the temperatures. The more black on the worm the colder or harsher the winter will be and if the worm is more red-brown the winter will be more mild. Presumably the worms that are more black are absorbing more heat from the sun. 

The next predictor insect is the good ole hornet. The higher in the trees a hornet builds its nest the more snow the ground will see. Animals are more attuned with nature than people, so this theory may hold steam. 

Speaking of animals being more attuned to nature, the harshness of the winter may be predicted by the activities of the squirrels and rabbits. Squirrels are fun to watch on any day but if the squirrel is acting a bit squirrelier than usual he may just be packing away more food to get him through the winter. 

Some people use walnuts or fall colors to predict the upcoming winter weather. Walnuts and hickory nuts have a hard outer shell and it said the thicker the shell the worse the winter will be. It is said this the tree’s way of protecting the fruit. As for the color of the leaves, they say the brighter they are the snowier and colder the winter will be. 

Old wives’ tales helped our ancestors figure out their lives, but with the advancements humans have made are they still useful today?

Old Wives’ Tales Predict Tennessee’s Winter