Winter 2018-2019: More Snow than Average and Teeth-Chattering Cold
“More snow than average” and “teeth-chattering cold” – those are two of the phrases the folks at the Farmer’s Almanac have thrown around when referring to the winter of 2018-2019. And they should know, I mean, they’ve only been offering their predictions on the weather since 1818. Doesn’t take a genius to do that math….that’s 200 years of predicting.
It’s always been interesting to me, this science and art of predicting the weather. I remember when I was little, maybe 9 or 10 years old, my Grandpa told me that if you “find spoons” in your persimmons, to get ready for a winter with lots of snow and LOTS of shoveling. I never really thought about it after that. I guess, what 9 or 10 year old would?
My Grandpa’s been gone for 18 years now (miss you, Papa), and the older I get (and the more snow I shovel), the more I wonder about things like this. Like, if there’s any truth in this way of predicting how the winter will fare. And then I saw it. A report in Farmer’s Almanac that talked about this very thing! Persimmon seeds! Over the past 30+ years, I’ve always thought my Grandpa must be the only person out there who believed this, or who relied on this as a means of knowing what to anticipate, in terms of shoveling the upcoming winter.
Back to the report. Apparently, there’s a woman in North Carolina named Melissa Bunker, who is known as “The Persimmon Lady”. Every year she sends the Farmer’s Almanac her winter predictions based solely on the seeds she opens from the fruit that grow on her persimmon tree.
This year, Hurricane Florence decided to pay a visit to Melissa’s area (among many others along the Eastern seaboard). Below is Melissa’s story, in her own words:
“We lost power for a little while but were lucky. We did have flooding inside our home! This was a constant battle for two days, but we’re nice and dry now! We were luckier than most. Prior to the storm, I kept an eye on my persimmon tree watching the fruit. They came early this year, so I should have taken the hint that something large was coming, but between family life and other things, I got pretty busy. Most of the persimmons remained green right as the storm hit. After the storm (the tree was still standing), I looked at the fruit and saw they were peachy orange in color, with ripe ones at the top. Because the tree was too large to shake them down, I decided to wait. That evening, the soggy ground released the roots and down she came. The next morning during the intermittent rain, I saw my beloved tree laying in the mud and its unripe fruits scattered. I left my tree and allowed the dead limbs to ripen the fruit. This morning I gathered as many as I could.”
“My beautiful persimmon tree, sadly, is gone. It served me well. It was heartbreaking to see it laying there but I will be saving some seeds and starting them in the spring to begin a new persimmon grove.”
According to folklore, if you crack open a persimmon seed from a ripe fruit and the shape inside (called a cotyledon) looks like a fork, winter will be mild; if you see a spoon, there will be a lot of snow, and if there is a knife, winter will be bitingly cold and “cut like a knife.”
Melissa continues, “I opened up not my normal five fruits (containing 3-4 readable seeds each) but a grand total of 26 fruits, for a total of over 100 seeds altogether. Out of this total, I only found two forks. The remaining seeds were all spoons. No knives.
This will be a winter for the record books in central North Carolina! I have never seen this in all of my years. I’ve heard of similar stories from my grandfather. One story happened in 1962, where the seeds read all spoons and the precipitation was almost constant and continued until May of 1963. In 1985, when I was only 5 years old, it happened again. At the time, I was mostly excited to be getting some snow days from school, but my grandfather’s ominous look sobered my childish dreams of lazing around, and we began furiously canning and preparing the freezers for what was coming.”
Here’s a graphic Melissa created, showing what each of the shapes looks like.
Now I get it. I get all the talk about “finding spoons” when I was little, and I now understand why when my Grandpa found spoons, his long sigh was followed by his palm finding its way to the small of his back, as if saying, “get ready, old boy, we’ve got some shoveling ahead of us.”
And because Melissa’s fruit yielded almost all spoons, I would say we should prepare our backs (and our roofs) for what winter 2018-2019 has in store. A great way you can prepare a roof for snow is by having snow guards installed. With styles to suit your needs, your budget, and even your taste, Alpine SnowGuards is your source for all things “rooftop snow management”, whether your roofing material is metal, shingle, membrane, slate, tile or even solar, our rugged systems will manage that rooftop snow so it will drop off in small amounts or allow snow and ice to melt completely before falling to the ground, potentially harming pets, cars, landscaping, gutters, plumbing vents, lower roof areas, or worse – people!
Take a look at this animation, which highlights the importance of snow guards:
Before the snow starts piling up (and sliding off), give us a call at 888.766.4273 or email us and get your snow guards on order, on the job site, and installed, before the snow even has a chance to accumulate.
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