Are You Ready to Shake, Shiver and Shovel this Winter?

Oct 27, 2022

Are You Ready to Shake, Shiver and Shovel this Winter?

In talking with a friend of mine, he asked what kind of winter we were going to have? Now I am no meteorologist but thought I would look into nature's way of offering a glimpse of what is to come. Here is what I found....

Trees know! History shows when acorns are in abundance, a rough winter is ahead. Thicker shells on hickory nuts are another tell-tale sign as well. If you see squirrels foraging and scurrying about, moving and storing nuts more so than normal, this can be an indication of bad weather ahead. Thicker bark being apparent on the north side of trees indicates a rough winter as well.

Some other cool nature telltales are woodpeckers sharing a tree, spiders spinning larger webs than normal, raccoons having thicker tails and brighter, visible bands.  

Pigs gathering sticks and straw, crickets in the chimney and if Dick Goddard’s wooly bears have small rust or orange bands, we could be in for a nasty weather.

I remember watching the Beverly Hillbillies growing up and Granny would check her caterpillar to see what the weather was going to be.

Some may think this is crazy, but many years of records offer repetitive indicators to prove these observations to be true more than not. Even onions can predict the future. I love this gardener’ rhyme:

“Onion’s skin very thin,

Mild winter coming in;

Onion’s skin thick and rough,

Coming winter cold and rough.”

In watching Al Roker on the Today show, he said we will have average, normal temperatures with wetter than average days through winter. He said this is the 3rd year in a row la Niña is evident. This has only happened 3 times since 1950 and weather could be extreme for certain parts of the country.  Now scientifically, la Niña (which is the cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and east-central Pacific ocean) near the equator impacts our weather. La Niñas that tend to be dry in summer will be cold in winters. When la Niñas occur, they push the storm track higher into the United States from the Pacific Northwest into the Great Lakes area. The poor southern part of U.S. is predicted to continue to be dry and warmer than normal. 

The Farmer's Almanac says it's time to stock up on hot chocolate, flannel and snowshoes. They say this winter will have plenty of snow, rain and mush with record breaking colder temperatures. They are warning readers to get ready to shovel this year. Winter storms will come sooner this year than before starting in December. They say we may even have a white Christmas but warn we could see temperatures as cold as 40 degrees below. I hope they are not right!!

We have had a lot of rain in April. May and June but dry in July and August and the rollercoaster of cooler than normal days followed the days of hotter than normal days.... this seems to be the new norm. So, what will happen this winter? Your guess is as good as mine. We’ll just have to wait and see. Take advantage of the warmer days which are upon us. Get those fall chores done and be ready for old man winter when he sneaks in upon us. 

Thanksgiving will be here before we blink and then Christmas. In changing our store over to our Christmas Wonderland, product is trickling in a little better than last year but still slow. The pandemic is still having such a major impact on everything we buy! I believe the start of the rise of every product's cost will be seen this Christmas for sure.

In attending spring buying shows, prices are up for goods and scarcity of products still exists. We finally received some pottery we ordered in Sept of 2021 for shipment March of 22 just this past week! Companies are not stocking much extra products compared to years past. Prices still remain volatile especially on fertilizers. The war in Ukraine is having an impact on pricing. Many companies have higher priced stock in their warehouses. This must be pushed through before we see a price drop. The good news is many suppliers say freight pricing is going down, (although I do not see it) and surcharges are being eliminated or reduced on products from China.

Thank goodness the railroad companies reached an agreement and did not strike. It is truly amazing how much product they move every given day!

I must be getting old, as now I find myself saying, remember the good old days when... Looking back, pre-covid, we really did not know how good we had it. All we can do moving forward is understand we are all in the same boat and must exercise some additional patience with salespeople who are trying to help us. Labor shortages, higher gas prices, higher food costs and rising inflation definitely puts a damper on things. We will make it through, enjoy the fall leaves, get your gardens ready for winter. Order your seeds early and keep focused on spring which arrives March 20th, 2023. Thanks for reading!!

J.R. Pandy, "The No B.S.Gardener"
Pandy's Premier Garden Center

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