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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Once In a Blue Moon and Weather Lore

Once In a Blue Moon and Weather Lore

What an incredible week! The 2013 Farmers’ Almanac arrived in stores on August 27th and Sandi and I have been able to reach millions of people regarding the 196th edition. There is a certain responsibility one has with a tradition that dates back to the days of President James Monroe and a new country with 9 1/2 million citizens spanning 21 states.

Fast forward a couple hundred years, another 29 states and 300 million citizens, and our publication still provides weather and sage advice that is not only relevant, but necessary in order to make life easier. The greatest fun for me is just how we observe what is going on around us.

Since the beginning of time, people have gazed at the Moon and stars. When I was growing up, there was a rumor that the moon was actually made of cheese. Imagine Neil Armstrong’s surprise when he stepped out to find only dust. Tonight, we recognize a Blue Moon – the second full Moon of the month. For trivia buffs, a Blue Moon occurs about once every 2 1/2 years.

Years ago animals and families prepared for winter. Humans watched for signs, which we call weather lore. Here are the best known signs:

- Fogs – frequent fogs in August mean lots of snow. This August in Maine, we saw many fogs. What about you??

- Woolly Bear Caterpillars - Consider if it has a heavy coat (fat and furry) and the brown band in the middle is thin (according to lore, the less brown there is, the worse the winter will be)

Squirrels gathering nuts early to fortify against a hard winter.

- Unusual abundance of acorns - so far it has been normal in my area … nothing like 2010.

- Spiders spinning larger than usual webs and entering the house in great numbers.

- Persimmon seeds – cut a seed open and the shape determines the winter conditions. Knife means bitter cold, fork is mild and a spoon indicates lots of snow to shovel.

I mention this because with the unofficial end to summer is this weekend. We have had some feedback in earlier blogs, but, after Labor Day, the signs we follow become more apparent. I would appreciate any feedback about you are seeing and your location. Our winter weather map is broken up into zones, so I will try to match comments with areas and see if there is any commonality with our predictions.

38 comments

1 Dawn { 10.27.12 at 10:25 am }

Upstate SC: Several times over the past month have seen large spiders right at the front door like they are trying to come in. Many oak trees on my street & all neighbors are complaining about the acorns. It is almost as if they are waging war, been “nut bombed” several times myself. Entire yard is covered. Also haven’t seen the leaves blanket the yard like this since I was a kid!! Hoping for a very snowy winter.

2 Lee Hinyard { 10.14.12 at 11:06 am }

I live in South west Louisiana on the Texas border. We have so many acorns falling,everyone’s driveways are totally covered..unbelieveable….never saw so many…lived here all my life.

3 wilma paul { 10.09.12 at 9:52 am }

north central ohio. golden rods bloomed early, lots of spiders everwhere, caddiedids were early. I predict a early, cold winter, (but thats just my thoughts ,)

4 Gerry Heimann { 10.01.12 at 6:34 pm }

We have alot of acorns dropping from out tree daily. This is unusual for us. We live in Dickinson, Texas. Between Houston & Galveston. i haven’t seen this many before & we have been here for 23 years. Is this natural & why not before? Thanks for your time. Gerry

5 jim { 09.28.12 at 6:01 am }

It is my understanding that the size and amount of this year’s acron crop was determined by the weather during summer of 2011, not this past summer!!

6 cindy { 09.27.12 at 7:34 pm }

sorry Im in Tennessee where I found a spoon in seed

7 cindy { 09.27.12 at 7:33 pm }

persimmon seed had spoon

8 Linda { 09.18.12 at 7:30 pm }

Persimmons- I went out to the back of my property and found some persimmons. Took them in and opened them up to find a fork in one and about for or five seeds in another which is strange. So I guess it will be a mild winter in Western Arkansas this year. I am loving the cool weather from the extremely hot weather we had this past summer. It was a strange but very dry year hopefully it is not like this next year.

9 tennesseeme { 09.17.12 at 11:03 pm }

i think its gonna be bad this winter.i have see caterpillars all black ,no brown at all ,huge spider webs,alot of squirrels gathering acorns,dont know bout the seeds but i think tennessee is in for one this year

10 Pebbles/N.E. Washington { 09.17.12 at 1:38 pm }

So..We have property that we camp at approx. 4 days a week all summer long, it’s at 3700 ft., our home is at -900 ft., so quite the difference in weather. Anyway, have noticed that the (mule) deer are getting their winter coats sooner this year than last. Also, the squirrels, and chipmonks. The leaves on the Aspen, and the needles on the Tamrack trees have already started turning about 2-3 weeks ago. (the last part of August). It’s about a 3 week difference from last year. It got down to 30 degrees on the 10th of Sept., so most everything that I had planted in the garden froze, but most things didn’t die. It was our first freeze this fall. I think the snow will come sooner this year also. Mid-to late October….Oh, and the squirrels have been real busy gathering, about 3-4 weeks earlier this year…..

11 Ron Theriault { 09.13.12 at 12:11 pm }

Living in western Maine, and in the same location for the past seven years. This year appears to have many , many more acorns than in the past seven years. The past several years they were not as plentiful. The squirrels are not as many, could be because we have two more cats in the living area, not ours. It just seams as thou the front deck and the back yard is covered with acorns this year. The deck needs to be cleaned off almost daily with the back yard feeling like when your foot goes down , there are about ten to twelve per step.
Almost like a foot massage.

12 Genger { 09.13.12 at 9:13 am }

A few weeks ago my husband & I noticed that our tree seemed to be producing acorns early and the squirrels have moved in, which is driving our doxie crazy! Living in central Florida, our winters can be mild. Last year was warmer than normal here at Christmas time, so it would be nice to have a cooler winter and give our a/c a break. I will be buying a persimmon this weekend to see what I get. Thank you for all the information!!

13 elsie { 09.06.12 at 2:39 pm }

I live in southeastern south dak. and we have alot of skunks on the road this late summer.
What does this mean? Are we in for a bad winter or a mild one?

14 Tawny { 09.05.12 at 6:37 pm }

I.m here in Northeastern Ohio. Normally I don’t follow the signs leading to winter but started reading and got curious. It is our first summer and fall at our current property which has many trees, oak and otherwise. I have been surprised all summer at the number of squirrels I have seen and their activity – even in the summer. We also have a TON of spider webs in and out of the house. I wish I had last year to compare it too. The acorns have been on the ground for a good while. We’ve seen the smaller green ones too. I am hopeful of a snowy winter after last year’s mild one.

15 Miranda { 09.05.12 at 1:28 pm }

Well, since us down in the southern most part of Florida hardly experience cold as it is, should I dare even ask about the weather for this fall/winter? We don’t really notice if squirrels collect acorns, or whether the spiders are spinning biggers webs, even fog. We are just plain old hot all the time. I surely hope it does cool off maybe next month. We didn’t even get a winter last year. It was incredibly hot and humid. I wished I could crack open a permission seed with a knife, that way we could wake up and have lovely cold weather. It’s miserable when chirstmas time is near and it’s 85 outside. Very un-Tis-the-season. Hopefully the stars have some cold weather set aside for us down yonder!

16 Ahmad { 09.05.12 at 12:18 pm }

P.S those two fogs in August where light here in central Oklahoma but heavy in southwest Oklahoma

17 Ahmad { 09.05.12 at 12:16 pm }

A couple of fogs in August here in Oklahoma.

Haven’t seen any squirrels yet, but that’s probly because I don’t leave near an acorn tree and can’t tell weather spiders know because an exterminator came through. Also haven’t seen any wooly bear caterpillars yet, but I think they come later in the season.

18 AJ in Maryland { 09.05.12 at 9:28 am }

We have seen TONS of squirrel activity this year. Our neighbor’s black walnut tree is almost bare from the squirrels taking the nuts before they ripen. On top of that the dogwood berries are gone from both of my trees (which makes my husband happy because he doesn’t have to rake them up). We do have a lot of acorns, but mainly just the caps, it took me a while to figure it out, but the squirrels are up in the trees eating the acorns and throwing the caps at my dogs (I’ll admit I thought it was funny). I’m going to make sure we are ready for a nice cold winter. After last year I think we need it.

19 Julie { 09.04.12 at 6:34 pm }

Ok, so we are being slammed with acorns right now. In North Carolina there are active squirrels, acorns drop with the wind and i see spider webs spun around the trees and everywhere in my back yard. We have had many fogs in August, they were very thick. If I pick up a copy of the 2013 farmers almanac will it go into greater detail for this winter in North Carolina? all it says is wet and chilly. Does that mean colder than normal or warmer than normal? and will it only be rain or will we have snow too? i dont want to have to worry about another record warm winter, we need the bugs GONE!!

20 Jaime McLeod { 09.04.12 at 10:12 am }

Kathy,
I’m unaware of any lore pertaining to baby gender and our publication. Perhaps it has something to do with the Moon’s phase or astrological position? If you find out, I’d be interested to know.

21 Gin { 09.03.12 at 4:46 am }

Although the sun is out it is not as strong as usual in the summer months. We’ve had a few huge spider webs, perfectly woven with a huge spider in it! Ants have been a big problem all summer inside and out. Crickets are moving in early this year, but my cats are taking care of them! Thankfully!

22 ollyu876 { 09.02.12 at 3:09 pm }

i live in utah and im not seeing anything than whats typical. Not many acorns, relatively small. Squirrels are around the trees but they arent gathering anything yet partly because theres nothing to gather. They’re just wondering around in the yard like they have all the time in the world. Spider webs are very numerous but nothing to look at it because they all look small to me. I cut open permission seeds and what i have is: 2 spoons, 4 forks and 1 knife. I think a fork symbalizes a gentle winter so well see but i do have 2 spoons so maybe itl be a mild winter but well get some snow and cold in the mix

23 Melissa { 09.02.12 at 10:25 am }

North Carolina- im seeing signs of winter here as well. SOME acorns are dropping but they are being produced on the oaks(we normally dont see them drop until October) so as the next season comes in later this month ill be looking harder. We have had numerous fogs in August, and they werent minor fogs, they were so bad in the mornings that i was late for work and dropping my kids off at school late because of the very very poor conditions with the thick fog. Some of my leaves are breaking out in red and yellow.. permission seeds: 10 spoons, 2 knives. and we do have animal activity. Squirrels are gathereing acorns for the winter ahead. wet and chilly this winter in NC, i think these squirrels know that summer is about to slip into autumn

24 Sue { 09.01.12 at 11:56 pm }

Here in Central VA we have has several foggy mornings, very large and numerous spider webs. Haven’t seen acorns yet but aren’t around any oak trees. I predicted earlier this summer that this winter would be a year that we have snow fall after snow fall. I guess we will have to wait and see.

25 Brenda { 09.01.12 at 11:45 pm }

Virginia: Very large spider webs and we are being bombarded with acorns. My back yard is full of acorns, and they are growing huge and when the wind blows they all fall. When the ones on the trees start falling, you better believe we are gonna be in for some acorn drops. Squirrels are at my bird feeder, gathering their nuts in September. Birds are migrating south early too also we have had fogs so bad in August that i couldnt see through so much thick fog! Visibility was very low. I think nature knows something we dont! the only thing i can say is dont let these late summer days with warmth and sunshine fool you! because according to these signs old man winter isnt letting us off the hook this year

26 Denise in NJ { 09.01.12 at 11:32 pm }

Southern NJ: Yesterday morning the fog was so bad it made driving almost impossible. Lots of very large spider webs. Three things I’ve never seen in my yard before: extremely large bees, crickets, and morning doves. Ant population is out of control – they’re all over my yard and crawling around my porch like crazy. Also noticed that there were more flies than usual this summer – and they’ve been biting!

27 Shannon B { 09.01.12 at 8:59 pm }

Trees are starting to turn yellow here in North Dakota.Spiders are everywhere and with big elaborate webs outside! Haven’t been seeing many squirrels and had just a few fogs in August. We have been seeing a lot of Salmanders this year. More than usual. Any ideas why?

28 Kathy sanders { 09.01.12 at 5:57 pm }

My grandmother watch the almanac to determine gender of a baby, does anyone know how to read it for me?

29 Kathy G { 09.01.12 at 5:28 pm }

More acorns this year in No VA than in the 25 years I have lived with this big oak tree in my yard,

30 Nassilim904 { 09.01.12 at 11:19 am }

Im in Colorado, and im not seeing anything as of now. Its September and im not seeing many acorns, absence of squirrels but we have had a few fogs in August. Whats going on? Usually by this time of year we have many acorns and squirrel activity but these past 2 years, nope! everybody in the east is gonna see a beautiful autumn but here its just totally quiet. I dont want another year with no winter but i guess thats what mother nature may have planned for us. Hopefully it will atleast be colder than last winter even if it is a mild winter

31 Denise Hodges Fisher { 09.01.12 at 8:40 am }

The leaves r falling already without changing colors. (my fav time of year) – its the time of year I missed living in FL! But no color at all! SAD! Squirrels seem to be gathering their food earlier than normal. VERY dry summer and very little snow this past winter. Will b interesting to see how this winter will be. I predict a fairly warmer than normal winter (I live in the chicago IL area) but I’m usually wrong! so we will see.

32 Wakie { 09.01.12 at 12:55 am }

The blue moon is beautiful tonight. We’ve had more rain in east Texas than in previous summers so no complaints. It’s cooled off to about 95 with the ever present high humidity. Makes sweating feel normal instead of boiling out of my skin. No squirrels on my hilltop, no acorns in my yard yet. Do I wait till the persimmons are ripe before I split a seed? That’ll be October here I think.

33 Heather { 08.31.12 at 6:25 pm }

Northwestern New Jersey here. The acorns have been falling off the trees since late July – not full and round but green and sometimes it seems only caps. I know we are behind in rain fall so I don’t know if that is the only contributing factor. We had a lot of things happen early due to lack of the snow this winter – early peepers, early dragonflies, the bleedinghearts were bloomed and gone by mother’s day. We had lots of ants in the house but not spiders.

34 sttrqueen1982 { 08.31.12 at 4:57 pm }

The pleasant breezes of fall has arrived. Unknown to most, this might sound crazy but I can smell the difference in the air. I live in town now but lived the majority of my life on a ranch and could smell the northern winds and cold weather before it arrived. I lived on a hill and you could also see it before and when it was arriving.
The heat is still high in south Texas. I certainly look forward to a pleasant fall.

35 Monica { 08.31.12 at 4:47 pm }

Things have seemed different here than they were last year. I’m in Missouri, everything seems to be happening a month in advance. Leaves are already falling, the apples in the orchard are ripe and ready to pick, spiders are prevalent, and we usually don’t notice them until about October. I love winter, and I love snow, so I am hoping we have a winter that is at least better than last year.

36 Sweet Tea { 08.31.12 at 4:39 pm }

Persimmon seeds spoon, lots of squirrel activity, few acorns and very small, lots of squirrel activity, eating everything else since there are no acorns. Spider’s webs waaaay up high in the trees and tight, tight webs under the eaves of the house. Groundhog tried to move in under my house, don’t know what that means but my dog Moe put a stop to that. It’s been a real strange year here

37 Debra Ainsworth { 08.31.12 at 4:34 pm }

In the South East area in Michigan we have a lot of acorns already falling, the squirrel’s and chipmunks are beginning gathering them. Which is much earlier than usual. We also have many more spiders this year….in and out of the house. Only a few foggy August mornings. It’s been way to hot this summer and I’m looking forward to cool Fall evenings and an abundance of snow this winter!

38 Aaron { 08.31.12 at 3:16 pm }

Fogs in August: Its been foggy everyday this August! Especially this morning
Squirrels: Active squirrel activity, they are around our oak trees gathering up their nuts
Acorns: Tons of acorns. Last year we had none at this time. Just about 5 mins ago I went outiside and heard acorns banging down on everything
Spiders: Im seeing many spider webs, everywhere and they are high up. I have one spider web on the top of my shed, which is about 10 feet high
Permission seeds: Havent tried them out yet… but here in Virginia we are predicted to be colder than normal with above normal snowfall. So I think the signs of winter are upon us. As we go through September and fall comes into full swing then I will be looking at it more, as we all know autumn is only 3 weeks away!

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.