Tag: folklore

“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…

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…

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…

Lightning Struck Wood

Lightning Struck Wood

The piece of wood below is from a tree that was struck by lightning. If you look carefully at the photo you’ll notice the black zig-zag line that runs from top to bottom. That’s the path the lightning took when it hit the tree. Lightning struck wood is the subject of folklore and superstition in…

Husband & Wife Trees

Husband Wife Trees In July

There are two very large maple trees standing side by side in my front yard near an old shallow well. They are called Husband and Wife trees. Old timers called them that and you hardly ever hear the term any more. It has gone out of fashion: like marrying for life and farming. Eric Sloane…

Pennsylvania German Superstitions

Groundhog

Rural Pennsylvania German farmers have always been superstitious bunch. It’s not for nothing that Punxsutawney Phil hails from Pennsylvania. The use of rodents for weather prognostication is just the tip of the Pennsylvania Dutch folklore iceberg. I thought I’d share a few more Pennsylvania Dutch superstitions. Fact is the Pennsylvania Dutch are known for more than…