By Dennis Gordon

I know that is not the way the saying goes, but “EVERY BLIND HOG” doesn’t fit in with what I’m trying to write about. Besides, I don’t have any hogs running around my property, but I do have plenty of squirrels.

Squirrels have been used for predicting the weather for many, many years. Since I live in the woods, I have my share of squirrels playing around the homestead and have had the privilege of watching them and their antics over the years.

One of the old-time sayings is: “When squirrels lay in a large supply of nuts, there will be a severe winter.” This has been proven false and I also have observed this as not true. Squirrels are very industrious rodents and when there are a lot of nuts, they work very hard gathering and storing them, sometimes in the strangest places. I have found nuts in jars, cans and once in the end of a hose. You can be sure they will bury them in the flower gardens and even in planters.

Another saying is: “When squirrels store nuts high in trees, we will have a winter of deep snow.” The so-called experts claim that this is false also. I can’t really say, because I have never climbed a tree looking for the nuts that the squirrels have stored. I’m not that nuts!

“Squirrels have bushy tails when the winter will be severe.” Maybe they have bushy tails because they have been eating a lot of nuts and are well nourished. I have noticed that the tails do seem bushier some years. The experts do not commit themselves on this one. They say that it may be possible.

“When he eats them on the tree, weather will be warm as warm can be.” Once again I believe this is determined by the amount of nuts during the season. When there are a lot of nuts, it seems that the squirrels will take one bite of a nut and then throw it down. In fact many times I have sat on my deck under a tree and will swear that they are trying to hit me.

“If squirrels are scarce in autumn it indicates a cold winter.” I have nothing to say on this. I always seem to have an overabundance of squirrels. It doesn’t matter if it is a cold winter or a mild winter.

“Unusually thick nutshells predict a severe winter.” If you are going to rush right out and check the thickness of the nutshells for this winter weather, you may have a hard time finding any nuts. The hard freeze we had late last spring not only ruined our peach and apple crop, it also made nuts in short supply this fall, along with the woolly bears. I usually have a ton of acorn and hickory nuts but this fall I have hardly any at all. This will help my mower blades from becoming so dull this fall when I start to gather my leaves.

I don’t know what the squirrels will do this winter. There are hardly any nuts for them to gather. I know that many of my friends hate squirrels. They get in their bird feeders and sometimes just dump the bird food on the ground. They chew holes in their siding and just make plain pests of themselves. I actually enjoy watching them play, chasing each other up and down the trees. I will probably get some extra corn in this winter and feed them along with the birds. I hope all of you will too.

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