Sunday, September 16, 2012
The seeds have spoken: Winter will be harsh
Friday afternoon I picked up half a dozen persimmons that cluttered my deck, stuck them in a bag and took them to the Rolla Daily News newsroom.
"Hold the presses. I am fixing to predict the winter weather," I told Editor Lynn Brennan.
I took the persimmons into the employee breakroom and commenced to removing the seeds and cleaning the fruit flesh off them. What a chore that was. Then I took the seeds to the front counter and started to slice them open. My knife was dull, so I borrowed one from one of my colleagues.
The ladies of the office all gathered as I cut a seed in half. They were curious how I would predict the weather with a handful of seeds.
It showed the definite shape of a spoon on one half.
"Going to be a heavy wet snow," I said. "That's what the spoon portends."
The ladies wanted me to open the rest of the seeds - I got 15 altogether out of the six persimmons - quickly.
I was having trouble getting them open with the available knife.
"You know, this is a lot of fun," I said. "Would you ladies like to try this?" (I have read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Samuel "Mark Twain" Clemens a couple of times, so I know how to get other people to do my work.)
One grabbed the knife from my hand. Other knives came out of purses. I did not know the ladies of the RDN were such knife enthusiasts.
Quickly, they halved the persimmon seeds and began counting.
Of the 30 halves, 18 were readable. Fifteen were spoons and three were butter knives. None showed a fork.
That means we're going to have a lot of heavy and wet snow that requires a lot of shoveling. The spoons tell us that. We're also going to have an icy, cut-through-your-coat-and-chill-your-bones cold. The knives tell us that.
A fork would have indicated mild weather with a dry and fluffy snow. With no forks in the seeds, that means we're going to have a relentlessly cold, snowy and icy winter.
At least, that is what the seeds say.
"Is this witchcraft?" one of the ladies asked.
"No, of course not," I assured her. "This is folklore."
Last week, I told you what The Old Farmer's Almanac predicted.
This week, I've told you what the persimmon seeds predict.
I'm on the lookout for wooly caterpillars to see what they have to say to us. One of the ladies said she had seen one that was black from tip to tip.
That would fit with the seeds' prediction. An all-black woolyworm, or woolybear, or caterpillar, means we're in for a long, cold winter, with plenty of precipitation. In Missouri, that means sleet, a rain-sleet mix, freezing rain, ice/icing and snow.
I'm hoping I find a bunch of wooly caterpillars with wide bands of brown or orange to refute that single wormy prophet - and the 18 seeds.