Grandma Mellie's Scrapbook
Copyright © 2001, Michael S. Cole, M.D.

previous page next page

Weather Forecasting

    According to history, one of the earliest almanacs was published in New England in 1646, nearly 300 years ago. Hundreds and thousands of almanacs were issued before 1700.
    The most famous of all American almanacs and the best known was "Poor Richard's," issued by Benjamin Franklin. He published it for 34 years, from 1733 to 1766.
    Almanacs of the 19th century were devoted to various matters of great public interest. In earlier days weather information was written in almanacs and was eagerly read.
    My grandmother, also my father, were observers of the weather. As a child and in my growing up, I learned much weather wisdom from them. However, some of their observations were based on superstition.
    Many of the old pioneers considered the position of the moon for when to plant and to harvest. They believed in planting their root crops in the "dark of the moon." Potatoes planted in the "light of the moon" would "go to top."
    Many used the signs of the zodiac to do or perform certain things, such as when to butcher hogs and render lard, or when to expect bad weather. The number of stars inside the ring determined how many days before the weather would come.
    Some weather notions I learned, when I was young, were:
    If the sun goes down cloudy on Friday, we are sure of a clear Sunday.
    Red sky at morning, shepherds take warning.
    Rain before seven, stop before eleven.
    Sun drawing water--sure sign of rain.
    When the wind is in the north old folks should not venture forth.
    Rain may be expected when fish bite readily and swim near the surface.
    If it clears off during the night, it will rain again shortly.
    I have an old almanac published in 1903. I have others also that are interesting reading. The weather forecasts, recipes, articles on the founders of civilization, history of the American flag, poems and words of philosophy are included.
    Weather is something no one can control. We must take it as it comes and like it.
    Here's wishing for an early spring!

Mellie Cole

previous page | table of contents | next page