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  Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Texas weather always unpredictable

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew

One subject on which all residents of the Texas Panhandle agree is, "If you don't like the weather here, just wait five minutes." Mother Nature can be cranky and unpredictable all through the year, but the spring season seems to be the most unsure time of all.

Time and again, down through the years, residents have removed their wood or coal heating stoves then suffered through a late spring blizzard. Modern-day residents, like the Trews, often turn off and have to relight the pilot lights on heating units as one last cold snap arrives. Old-timers know never to remove their extra coat and gloves from their pickups until after its time to start using the air conditioner. Experience learned the hard way is never forgotten.

One bit of wisdom handed down from generation to generation in the Trew family is, "Spring is not here until the mesquite trees start making leaves." My father watched all his life and remembered only one time that mesquite leaves suffered from a late freeze.

Another old-time saying in our family is, "Plant potatoes and set out onions on St. Patrick's Day." My experience is that planting before that date causes plants to just sit there and not do any good afterward. We always consulted the Farmer's Almanac before planting any seed, and we watched the signs of the moon when planning any cattle work.

The first true sign that summer has arrived occurs when a dozing cow suddenly raises her ears and tail and goes galloping across the prairie as if the devil himself were after her. This phenomenon, of course, is caused by "heel flies" or as some people call them, "no-see-ums."

These tiny invisible insects with the bite of a saber-tooth-tiger can keep a herd of cattle on the run for days or until the life cycle of the insect has ended. It is not unusual to see all the cattle in a pasture standing in the pond water up to their knees trying to avoid the heel fly.

I have forgotten many old sayings but it seems the "tilt" of the moon's position either held rain or poured out rain. A ring around the moon had significance, but I can't remember why.

"Sun dogs" or rings around the sun, or flashes among the clouds near the sun meant a change also, but I don't remember the results.

My grandfather was a pretty good weatherman who studied the directions of the wind daily. Somehow, after the wind blew from a certain direction for so many days it meant rain was coming. If any readers recall other old sayings about the weather, let me know at the addresses below.

I remember one time our family was going to town on Saturday afternoon and a big dusty whirlwind nearly blew us off the road. Dad remarked, "When a whirlwind spins to the right it means it is dry weather." Mother innocently asked, "What does it mean when it spins to the left?" Dad kept a straight face and said, "That means it's dry also."

Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" >

September 5, 2006 Column
E-mail: trewblue@centramedia.net.

 
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