Category: Folk-Wisdom

“A Year of Snow, A Year of Plenty”

It’s a good old weather proverb. And it’s a truism founded upon practical agrarian experience that has been passed down through many generations of farmers and gardeners. I thought you might be interested in knowing a few of the reasons behind the old-time weather adage. Lots of Snow Means Lots More Water One of the…

Candlemas Day Proverb

“Half your wood and half your hay you must have on Candlemas Day.” The above is a bit of folk wisdom that’s spot-on. For traditional agrarian people, February 2nd, marks the mid-point of winter in terms of weather. Today is exactly the half-way point from the winter solstice to the first day of spring. For…

Old -Time Pennsylvania German Homestead Superstitions

Holstein Calf

Every once in a while I’ll run across a Pennsylvania folk belief that is taken as more than just a custom or superstition. The two that I hear most often are:   Keep a smelly Billy goat with your cows and they’ll never get sick.   Cure a scouring calf by feeding it a whole…

Pick The Best Day For Hatching Eggs

Hatched Chick

I’m a great believer in agricultural traditions and folk wisdom. That’s because much of what I learned about homesteading was passed onto me by the two generations of garden farmers that came before me. Heeding their advice enabled much success and fewer homesteading failures. One bit of advice that was given to me by those…

Gardening & Planting By The Moon

Planting Peas By The Moon Sign

The term “planting by the moon” or “planting by the signs” are colloquial expressions or folk terms for the ancient practice of timing agricultural and gardening tasks by the moon’s lunar phase and astrological position in the zodiac. For our ancestors, the understanding and application of natural lunar cycles and rhythms to their lives was…

Distaff Day

Flax Dressed Ready For Spinning

“Partly work and partly play You must on St. Distaff’s Day: From the plough soon free your team; Then come home and fother them; If the maids a-spinning go, Burn the flax and fire the tow. Bring in pails of water then, Let the maids bewash the men. Give St. Distaff all the right; Then…

Roosters – The Sacred Bird of January

A Dark Brahma Rooster

Did you know that the month of January, and the first day of every month during the year is associated with roosters? Well it’s true and I’ll tell you why. January is named for the ancient Etruscan god Janus. Janus/Jana was an androgynous, mythical creator sun-god and was considered to be the keeper of the…

50 Old Time Weather Proverbs & Signs

Weather vane

After years of experience I can usually predict rain just by walking on the morning grass or watching the behavior of my cows or opening a dresser drawer. What follows below is a list of my 50 favorite weather folk sayings. And like most folk proverbs you’ll find more times than not they have real…

A Hornet Nest Winter Forecast

Hornets Nest

Yesterday morning while walking in my apple orchard I noticed an active Bald Face Hornet nest built very close to the ground. The nest is good size and is about 3 ½ to 4 feet from the ground. Old timers say that when hornets build their nest close to the ground a cold and snowy…