Long range forecasting of the weather today is still not an exact science, but we have a plethora of sources we can go to in order to determine what the coming winter might be like.
But in the days before internet, television, and radio, this was done without the help of meteorologists by the common man or woman with nothing more than the signs nature gave. These portents vary, but there are a couple that are still known locally that you can check yourself.
Still a well known method in this part of North Carolina, checking persimmon seeds is one way to determine what sort of winter might be coming.
This method involves taking a ripe persimmon off a tree or from the ground. It must be a locally grown persimmon or this will not work- what you’ll get from a store bought persimmon is the weather where it was grown, or if it was grown in a greenhouse, a false result altogether.
To do this yourself, open up the flesh of the persimmon and find a seed. Very carefully split the seed in half and take a look inside.
More than likely you will see one of three things. Either a knife, a fork, or a spoon. That is to say, the shape the cotyledon takes will give you your answer.
If the shape is knife-like, we’re in for a cutting, bitterly cold winter.
If the shape is like a fork with tines, winter will be mild.
If the shape is a spoon, or a shovel, get out the shovel, because we’re in for cold and lots of snow.
I cut several open today to see what winter has in store for us.
Based upon the persimmon’s prognostication, you’ll want to get a snow shovel if you don’t have one.
Walnuts & Acorns
It was also and in some places still is believed that the amount of walnuts and acorns that fell could also point to future weather. This sign is a bit more vague than the persimmon seed, but what it boils down to is that if you have a larger than normal number of acorns or walnuts on the ground, you’re probably in for a rough winter.
As a sample size of one, this year in my own yard I have had the largest amount of walnuts on the ground in over a decade. They were so numerous this fall that I used a snow shovel to gather them up. A single tree on my property put down 12 full-sized wheelbarrow loads of walnuts.
So, If you trust the humble walnut tree and the persimmon, it might be time to start preparing for a rough winter.
By the way, speaking of persimmons, many people don’t quite know what to do with them. They seem a chore to eat for most because of the pulp and seeds, but persimmon pudding is an excellent way to use ripe fruit once it’s ready for harvest.