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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Are You a Believer?

What a funky winter! There are traditional 20 signs of a hard winter featured in the 2011 Farmers’ Almanac. We’ve have had a great deal of dialogue this year about these signs, and how accurately they may or may not predict winter weather.

One of these is the overabundance of acorns and how early and active squirrels are in gathering them. You may recall that, in mid July, I posted a blog entry about just how many acorns were falling in my yard. This was a good six weeks earlier than I normally see acorns, here in northern New England. The acorns just kept coming in record numbers. I then posted a video showing all the damage.

Over the ensuing weeks, hundreds of people offered their take on acorns. We heard horror stories — everything from having to wear a helmet to go outside to pets who were afraid to go out the door. I was struck by the breadth of these reports — Maine to Florida to Texas and throughout the Midwest. In developing our overriding prediction for this winter, we believed that the worst of winter would be in the Great Lakes and Northern Plains states. But how did that dovetail with the horrors of so many acorns everywhere?

How I wish we had extended our call for the worst of winter to the East Coast. Because it was relatively mild the last three winters, we said that this would be a “cold slap in the face.” Boston has seen 71 inches of snow, and Connecticut more. International Falls set a record -46 degrees, places in Vermont dropped to -32, and it has been freezing just about everywhere. Heck, I was in Las Vegas in January and temperatures bottomed out at 33 degrees.

Many of you indicated that you do believe in the acorn as a predictor. Now that we are well into winter what do you think about the signs of a hard winter? This will be a winter to remember for most of the Eastern US and Canada. I would love to hear your take on acorns or other signs.

4 comments

1 D { 03.09.11 at 1:03 pm }

I am a complete believer. We were buried under acorns this past fall, we still have snow in our yard from December

2 Outdoorsman { 02.10.11 at 10:26 am }

How about wildlife? My hunting friends and I have always seen a correlation between weather forecasting and wildlife observations. Two deer that were taken this year in our CT. bow season had at least 2″ of fat on them. That is not something you see all the time.

3 Billy9511 { 02.03.11 at 8:30 am }

I think the persemons give a better sign of wether we shall have a hard winter

4 Frutero { 01.29.11 at 2:51 pm }

The acorn fall was only middling, here, and as our only “woolly bears” are Great Leopards, who are always all-black, that isn’t a reliable sign, either. It felt to me that our cold would come early and moderate. It did come early, but we had some hard freeze with it. Currently, my peaches are in bloom and the Chickasaw plum is full of buds, while the native black cherry (Prunus serotina) is trying to leaf out. I hope they know what they are doing.

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