Southern Folklore And Predicting The Winter Weather

November is here and our beautiful fall weather will soon turn to winter. Fortunately here in the south we don’t usually experience harsh winters or a lot of snow. And I have often heard if you live in East Tennessee and you don’t like the weather just hang around for a few minutes and it will change. But you may not know that there are subtle signs that can help you predict just what the winter might hold.

When I was a little girl, usually starting in late summer or early fall, I would hear mama and daddy talking about the upcoming winter. My mama would say “ I think it’s going to be a rough winter just look at those woolly worms.” My daddy would talk about how the geese seemed to be flying south earlier than usual. That meant an early and cold snowy winter was coming.

I still cling to this southern lore, Appalachian way of predicting the weather or whatever you want to call it. My husband makes fun of me and calls it ridiculous but he secretly knows I’m right. Ha!! Just like the various winters we experience before summer actually makes her hot, humid appearance, the weather can be a little fickle. If you missed the post about the various winters check it out here.

Here are a few of the things I have heard throughout my life about foretelling winter weather:

You can tell how harsh the winter will be by looking at the color of a wooly worm. The more black on the worm the colder the winter will be. If it has a broad stripe across the middle or more of an orange color the winter will be mild. Just look at this wooly worm we found at work last week. the brownish orange stripes are so tiny you can barely see them. I would say that means a really cold winter but we will see.

And then look at these guys with all the orange and brown. I haven’t seen any like this so far this year. I think they would indicate a mild winter.

Photo credit pics for learning.
Photo credit Dreamstine

Other predictions include, the number of fogs you have in the month of August, that will be the number of snows you have during that winter.

If squirrels are very active gathering up nuts like chestnuts and walnuts it means there is going to be a longer winter. I don’t know about you but the squirrels around our property have been very busy lately.

Rings around the sun or moon mean that numerous snowfalls are likely. This was a favorite of my daddy’s. I heard him say this many times.

The number of wasps and hornets you see in September indicate a harsh winter.

Larger than usual spider webs built high.

If ant hills are high in July winter will be snowy.

If berries and wild fruit are plentiful in fall bad weather is coming and the abundance of berries and wild fruit and nuts are just what the wild animals need.

Flowers that have a second bloom in the fall or hold onto their blooms late in the season forecast a colder winter.

If squirrels stash their nuts high in the trees, the snow will be deep.

Mushrooms galore, much snow in store. No mushrooms at all, no snow will fall.

Winter time is harsh but I think that birds, animals, and plants provide us with subtle clues to what winter might hold for us.

I grew up hearing these predictions and I have always found them fascinating. Some of these predictions have been passed down for generations.

What have you noticed lately that could be a prediction for the coming winter?

Always remember

Love your day your way!!!!!

The Dog Days Of Summer

Well the Dog Days of Summer end tonight. When I was a kid I heard my parents and grandparents talking about the Dog Days of Summer. It would be really hot and they would say “oh this is nothing we still have to get through Dog Days”.

I always thought that dog days had something to do with a dog and it does just not the hound dog variety I was thinking of. Dog Days are from July 3 to August 11 each year.

The phrase “dog days” is a reference to Sirius, the Dog Star. During the “Dog Days” period, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, The brightest star visible from any part of Earth. Sirius is a part of the constellation Canis Major, The Greater Dog. The heat is due to the earth’s tilt at this time. Source Farmer’s Almanac

In the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. On July 23rd, specifically, it is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of hot weather. They referred to this time as “dog days”. Dog Days are from July 3 to August 11 each year 20 days before and 20 days after this alighment of Sirius with the Sun. Source Farmer’s Almanac

Ancient people often believed that this was a time of drought, bad luck, and unrest, when dogs and men would be driven mad by the heat. I know I have felt that way a few times. And even though “Dog Days’ officially end today here in the south we will still have hot hot temps and high humidity which makes the heat even hotter and stickier.

Since I have been recording the temperature every day for my temperature blanket I thought it would be interesting to show you just how the temps here have been. These are all Fahrenheit:

July 3, 88. July 23, 93
July 4, 95. July 24, 87
July 5, 90. July 25, 85
July 6, 90. July 26, 86
July 7, 88. July 27, 87
July 8, 95. July 28, 85
July 9, 85. July 29, 81
July 10, 85. July 30, 84
July 11, 86. July 31, 83
July 12, 88. August 1, 75
July 13, 84. August 2, 90
July 14, 90. August 3, 90
July 15, 92. August 4, 85
July 16, 90. August 5, 88
July 17, 88. August 6, 86
July 18, 85. August 7, 88
July 19, 87. August 8, 88
July 20, 87 August 9, 84
July 21, 88. August 10, 85
July 22, 89. August 11, 82

I always checked the temperature around 1:00-2:00 PM and this gave me a fairly accurate reading for that day. You can see that the “Dog Days” haven’t been very bad at all this year. I think once or twice it got close to 100 degrees in the early evening but that is all. And as I said we could be in for even hotter weather I have often known August and September to be very hot and sticky here in East Tennessee.

My mama always said you could get an infection easier during dog days. I remember if we ever got a scrape or cut or Lord forbid stepped on a nail we were sure to get an infection if it was during “Dog Days.” Is this just a myth? in 2009 a study was done in Finland to test this theory to see if the rate of infection was higher during Dog Days. The myth was actually found to be true. I guess my mama knew what she was talking about.

Old-timers believed that rainfall on Dog Days was a bad omen. You may have heard this little poem:
Dog Days bright and clear
Indicate a happy year,
But when accompanied by rain,
For better times, our hopes are vain

The old Farmer’s Almanac, 1817

You probably knew how the name Dog Days originated but if not now you do. I wonder what Cat Days would be like?

Always remember

Love your day your way!!!!

A Crazy Week And A Trip to Nashville

Happy Tuesday friends. Today was Nashville day when Mark and I go to Vanderbilt Medical Center for his four month check up. This is to keep an eye on his transplanted kidney. Everything was great!!! We made the trip in the usual eight or nine hours. We leave out early in the morning around 5:00 AM and travel approximately four hours to Nashville, see the doctor, get blood work and drive back home. But more on that trip in a minute.

It seems like almost every week I say “wow!!! what a crazy week this has been” well here we go again.

Last Monday night my little mother in law had a heart attack. She pretty much scared the crap out of all of us. When you are 88 years old everything that happens can be a life changing experience. As I have mentioned before my maw in law lives in an assisted living village. A nurse from the village called my husband on his way home from work and said she had had an episode and wasn’t acting like herself. Her vitals were off and they had called an ambulance by the time Mark got there. She spent most of the night in the ER and then was put in a room in ICU. She was very confused. By Thursday she had been moved to a regular room. She is almost 89 years old so surgery was not really an option. The doctors decided to treat her with medication. We were afraid for awhile that she might not be able to go back and live at the Assisted Living Village. The residents there have to be able to do most things for themselves. But after a few days it seems as though minimal damage was caused by the heart attack and on Friday she was moved to a nursing facility where she will have therapy and then hopefully, if all goes well, she will return to the village. She is much more coherent than she was last week and can’t wait to get back to her room at the village. She told me to tell the village to hold her room she is coming back!!!

We celebrated her 88th birthday in November so she is almost 89 years old.

When you work in tourism you know that July is just the busiest month of the year. You look forward to the great numbers but also dread the long, never ending days. It is mind numbing. We have been so busy at work and still very short staffed. We are counting the days until fall, or at least the end of July. I usually do something special for our team members during the last week of July. We call it our Goodbye July celebration. We have something special every day during the week. Last year we had pizza day, ice cream sundaes, and lots of other things. I have been so busy with everything else this week and then taking today off to go to Nashville. I have some catching up to do.

The weekend was good and my sister and I met up with some of our cousins from Texas. They were in Tennessee for a memorial for my cousin’s husband. We all went out to eat afterwards along with some of our Tennessee cousins and we had a great time. Later that night we took a friend out to eat for her birthday.

On Sunday Mark and I visited his mom and decided to eat out, which we rarely do anymore, it seems like we get take out and eat it at home but we don’t make it out to eat a lot.

So a good but busy week and weekend.

Even with all the extra weekend eating I am down 20 pounds. WHOOOO HOOOO!!!!! I will have more on that adventure on Thursday’s blog. I am calling it an adventure because I just hate saying journey. It is not a weight loss journey I am going to make it an adventure!!!!

So back to today when we ventured to Nashville for Mark’s appointment. I had to get up at 3:30 AM to get everything going and all the babies fed and taken care of. We left around 5:15 and surprisingly traffic was not bad. I always drive over and Mark drives back. I am listening to an audio book by Jennifer Weiner and it is so good. I listened to it almost all the way over. We stop on the way back and have breakfast. But today we had another little adventure. Have you ever been to a Buc-ee’s? I think they are mostly in the southern states. Buc-ee’s is sort of like a gas station, truck stop, convenience store etc etc on steroids. It is huge!!!! So a Buc-ee’s just opened in Crossville Tennessee which is about halfway to Nashville for us. We decided to stop on the way back and check it out. Just being newly opened it was packed. If you are a traveler and see one of these stores you should definitely check it out it has everything you could want for a stop. There are several different foods to choose from, books, shirts drinks and amazingly clean bathrooms. Also there are probably fifty gas pumps. We had a good time checking it out.

I had to pass quickly by the fudge counter because I wanted all of it.
The barbecue smelled amazing!!!
It was very crowded
Even snacks for your doggos.

We didn’t buy anything at Buc-ee’s but we did go next door to the Dairy Queen and get our usual chocolate dipped, vanilla ice cream cone because sometimes you just have to splurge.

How are things going in your neck of the woods?

Always remember

Love your day your way!!!!

A Quick Trip To Bristol TN/VA

Hello friends a recap of last week’s trip to Bristol TN/VA. I had hoped to get a post out during the week about my trip but it just didn’t happen.

First of all I hope everyone had a happy Mother’s Day. I have no human children but I have definitely mothered many through the years. I think mothers come in many different forms. I received a precious message yesterday from a former employee that I still keep in touch with after many years. He wished me a Happy Mother’s Day and said he always thought of me as someone he respected and could come to for guidance and that I was a mom in his life. That truly made my day. It is amazing how just a few words can mean so much. My own mama has been gone for nineteen years and I have to tell you she was the best Mama in the world!!!!! We were best friends and I miss her every single day.

Last week I spent a few days at a meeting in the Bristol Tennessee & Bristol Virginia area with our Southern Highlands Attraction group. The two states are very close and there is a spot on the street where you can stand in both states at the same time. I did however almost get run over doing this once so if you try that be very careful. I am sure the locals hate this area. My meeting was actually in Johnson City but we spent the entire day Tuesday in Bristol.

We started the meeting Monday in Johnson City about a two and a half hour drive for me. I left early Monday morning so I wouldn’t have too many nights away from hubs and the fur babies. We met at the beautiful Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site. If you missed my Wordless Wednesday post I posted a lot of pictures of the site it is beautiful with so much history. You can check out the post here.

Just look at these beautiful yellow Irises

Our meeting ended about 4:00 and I headed to the hotel where we were staying. It was only a couple of miles from Tipton-Haynes. The Carnegie Hotel is a beautiful historic hotel. It is located in the heart of Johnson City with lots of things to see and do around it. We had a little time before dinner. I actually took a small nap.

Dinner was so delicious We went to Southern Craft Barbecue. It was only about a mile from the hotel. The food was amazing. This was probably some of the best barbecue I have ever had.

A deviled egg, cornbread and sugar bacon, this was the appetizer
Salmon, Barbecue pulled pork, okra and sweet potato souffle. We had so much food, we had to do a lot of sharing.

We started Tuesday morning with meetings. And then at 11:00 we took a bus to Bristol which is about twenty miles from Johnson City. We started out with lunch at The Burger Bar. This is supposedly the last place Hank Williams was seen alive. Not from eating there but it was a favorite of his. And that is where he ate his last meal. Just a little local history for you. There you will find the best burgers and milkshakes ever. Just a few of the burger selections: Hey good lookin, cold cold heart Hawaii 5-0, Howlin at the moon. I didn’t get a milkshake but the list to choose from is unbelievable. Check out their website here and plan to eat there if you go and get a burger and milkshake. It is such a sweet place with lots of memorabilia on the walls and just plain old southern hospitality.

Next we went to The Birthplace Of Country Music Museum. This place is amazing and I love it. I have been several times. It is so much more than a museum. A lot of people think that Nashville is the birthplace of country music but actually it was in the small homes and store fronts in Bristol where the very first country music was recorded. We didn’t tour this time but met with some of their staff and board members.

We stopped in at The Southern Churn Ice Cream & Candy Shop and we just had to try this Mountain Dew Fudge. It was actually very good.

Next stop we visited Benjamin Walls’ gallery for a wine reception and some chill time enjoying the beautiful photos of Benjamin Walls and we were actually treated to an unveiling of a couple of his new photos.

That is Benjamin on the left.

Benjamin is an internationally acclaimed artist, avid environmentalist, and successful entrepreneur. I am taking all of this from his website but go and check it out for yourself. His artwork has received seven international awards and has been displayed in dozens of museums, including five exhibits at the Smithsonian and twice at the Natural History Museum of London. It is almost unbelievable some of the photos that he has captured. Check out his website here

A few other places that we visited: The Paramount Theatre
and Lost State Distilling

After the wine reception at the gallery we went to eat at 620 State Restaurant for dinner. Another amazing meal. I had the chicken and rice and a sushi roll, and a margarita. It was yummy. We were exhausted from the day and being on the hot street. It was good to relax and enjoy our meal.

This Margarita really hit the spot after a long hot day.

Our bus picked us up to take us back to the hotel. I think I napped on the way back. The next morning we had meetings until noon and then I headed for home. Although I was only gone for two days I was so glad to get back home to my hubby and the babies.


If you live near this area or if you are just passing through don’t forget to check out some or all of the things I mentioned. It really is a great trip. Bristol Tennessee or Bristol Virginia is a beautiful area. You won’t be disappointed.

I hope you enjoyed your short trip to Johnson City and the Bristol TN/VA area let me know how you liked it.

Always remember

Love your day your way!!!!!