Sunday, March 1, 2009

In like a lion, out like a lamb?


If March comes in like a lion, she'll go out like a lamb. Or, the other way around. How many times have you heard that one? It's ironic that I think of March as a 'feminine' month, when she is named for the Mars, the god of war. I also find it amusing that we carry so many superstitions with us every day without knowing why or even realizing our actions. Throw salt over your shoulder when you spill it? That's because salt was such a prized possession in ancient times, it was considered unlucky to waste it.


Weather was such an important part of every day life, it's no wonder we have so many old 'sayings' from our past. Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning. Mom's favorite saying was that if the sun came out while it was raining or snowing, it would do the same tomorrow or the devil would beat his wife. MaMa always said that, if there was a ring around the moon, it meant fallin' weather within two days. And, if that ring had a star in it, then the 'weather' would be snow or ice. Today I know that is because of ice crystals in the atmosphere. But, when I was little, it was magic. We have weather reports at the touch of a button these days, and it helps save lives. I'm extremely thankful for our warning system for tornadoes. But I do find it comforting sometimes to look at the night sky remembering those old predictions and my Grandmother's voice.

How many of these customs have you heard?

Fire spitting sparks means cold weather.

If the fire burns well, it is coming cold weather.

Fog in winter is always succeeded by cold and wind.

Plenty of hawberries foretell a “hard winter,” i. e., they are to serve as a store of food for birds.

The first Tuesday after the new moon settles the weather for that quarter.

If it is a fair sunset Friday night, it will rain before Monday.

If it storms on a Friday, it will storm again before the next Monday.

The first seven days of January indicate the first seven months of the year. Mild days, mild months, etc.

The corn is planted when the Baltimore orioles appear, or when the first green is noticed on the oak-trees.

A dry May and a wet June, make the farmer whistle a merry tune.

It rains often on July fourth. That is due to the firing of cannon, etc.

If there is a wet September, there will be a next summer’s drouth; no crops and famine.

If it rains on Easter, it will rain seven Sundays thereafter.

It is a general notion that a cold winter is followed by a hot summer, and vice versa.

It always rains during May meetin’s.

Women “cruising,” i. e., visiting about on “pot-days,” especially Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, when people have their best dinner (usually pork and cabbage) in the pot, is a sign of bad weather. But it is also said that it is a sign of mild weather.

From twelve till two, tells what the day will do.


In uncertain or threatening weather it is said that if you can see a piece of blue sky big enough to make a pair of breeches, it will clear off.

If you can see enough blue sky in the west to make an old woman’s apron, it will clear off.

Clocks and watches tick louder before mild weather.

Cobwebs on the grass are a sign of fair weather.

If every dish is cleaned at a given meal, then look for fair weather the following day.

Fog lying in valleys is a sign of a “civil” day.

If hoar frost remains after sunrise, the day will be fine; if not, the day will be wet.

Rainbow in the morning,
Sailors take warning;
Rainbow at night,
Sailor’s delight.

Rain falling while the sun is shining indicates more showers.

Rain falling while the sun is shining means that the devil is beating his wife with a codfish.

Thunder in the morning,
All the day storming;
Thunder at night
Is the sailor’s delight.

Evening red and morning gray
Will speed the traveler on his way.
Evening gray and morning red
Will bring the rain upon his head.

Sun’s “hounds” (a sort of halo) before the sun denote dirty weather; after the sun, denote fine weather.

If the stars are scarce, big, and dull, it portends mild weather in winter. If large and bright, it portends frost in winter.

When the moon is on the back, it denotes weather wet or mild; when on the end, it denotes frost.

Should the new moon lie on its back, it is a sign it will be dry that month, for the moon would hold water. The Indian says the hunter can hang his powder-horn upon it. But should the new moon stand vertically, it will be a wet month, for the moon will not hold water, and the powder-horn will slip off. Very many, however, reverse these signs.

The Indians told the first settlers that if the moon lay well on her back, so that a powder-horn could be hung on the end, the weather during that moon will be dry.

A disk or ring around the moon indicates bad weather (rain or snow).

A circle round the moon means rain. In some localities the number of stars inside the circle denotes the number of days until it will rain.

Where there is a ring around the moon, whichever way the ring opens; the wind will blow in. If it does not open there will be fine weather. The bigger the ring the nearer the bad weather.

If the new moon is of light color, there will be a frost; if it is red, it will be mild for a month.

If there is a star before the moon, the weather will be calm; if the star is behind the moon, the weather will be stormy.

When you blow out the candle, if the fire on the wick burns bright, it means a fair day on the morrow; if it dies down on being blown out, it indicates a rainy day.

When long cirrus clouds or “cow’s tails” are seen, it means rain.

Cobwebs on the grass for three mornings running are a sign of wet.

If there is no dew on the grass at night, it will rain the next day.

Fog on the hill
Brings water to the mill.
Fog on the moor
Brings the sun to the door.

It will rain within twenty-four hours of a hoar frost.

When the glass sweats, it is the sign of rainy weather.

Mackerel sky,
Twenty-four hours dry.

If raindrops linger on the pane,
There will be further rain.

Raindrops falling on a river, etc., and raising large bubbles, mean a heavy fall of rain and a flood.

When the rain dries up quickly from puddles, it will rain again soon.

When the sun sets in a bank of clouds, there will soon be rain.

Water boiling over out of a kettle is a sign of rain.

When you hear a distant locomotive whistle, it is a sign of rain.

Comes the rain before the wind,
Then your topsail you must mind.
Comes the wind before the rain,
Haul your topsails up again.
Cape Cod, Mass.

A broom falling across the doorway, or chairs set crosswise, is the sign of a storm.

If a cloud looks as if it had been picked by a hen,
Get ready to reef your topsails then.

Blue blazes in a coal fire mean a storm.

When wood on the fire makes a peculiar hissing noise, it is said “to tread snow,” and there will soon be a storm.

Strange lights at sea are seen before a northeast gale.

To see Northern Lights denotes that south wind and a storm will come inside of forty-eight hours.

If the fall “line storm” clears off warm, it signifies that storms through that fall and winter will clear away with mild weather, i. e., the way in which the storm closes at the autumnal equinox will rule the weather following storms until the vernal equinox storm. Then the same saying applies to the “line-storm” of March, and the spring and summer after storms is foretold. The contrary would happen if cool weather followed the line storm.

A shooting star shows that wind is coming from the direction toward which it goes.

1 comment:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Marge I love your post.. I wrote two similar ones.. Check out my blog: CLICK HERE.

The one that almost always comes true for us is the number of fogs in August. When we don't have many fogs (like this past August), we don't get much snow...

I added you to my followers list.
Hugs,
Betsy