Diary of a Rural Crazy Lady

Through the annals of time, earth has lived with Mother Nature’s PMS moods; however, things have settled down, and the tracking/warnings of major events have improved and saved many lives and damages. I now propose for our local weather the question, “Why do we need a weatherman?” Let’s get back to listening to nature.

Growing up in Midwest farm country, I knew my uncle’s big toe was never wrong; my aunt’s bursitis always told her when to keep the woodstove burning.

Another age-old way the world has tried to keep track to these little things is by watching Punxsutawney Phil Sowerby, beloved ground hog that someone pulls out of his comfortable hole every year on Feb. 2 to predict whether we will have six weeks more of winter or spring is coming. (Note: Phil has a full name! I know people who don’t have middle names, so that must make him even more special.) Phil has been pulled from his hole, here and in Canada, every year since 1887, and I have been assured that it is the same ground hog through “special” earth magic that is the same animal from the beginning – wink, wink. (Where can I get some of that?)

Throughout the centuries Phil has become an international celebrity. His big day is full of music and food. His home has even been graced with its own name, Gobbler’s Knob. This begs the question of why is his home named after the sound a turkey makes? And, Phil has his own personal servants who tend to his every need all year long (seriously, where can I sign up for his job?)

I would like to mention here, with my warped sense of reality, how much I did appreciate, and laughed, when Wikipedia.org (Sept. 8, 2018) reported Phil bit the major’s hand one year.

There are many other critters that predict the weather and pass the word out - we only need to be able to interrupt their “words.” Frogs croak longer and louder, birds scatter and fly weird, etc.

My favorite are crickets. I found this at Yourweatherwtcher.com (Sept. 9, 2018) site written by Gerald West (April 12, 2018).

Multi-talented, crickets can tell you the temperature in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. Fahrenheit: Count the number of chirps that occur within 14 seconds, then add 40; i.e., 25 chirps plus 40 equals 65 degrees. Celsius: Count the number of chirps within 25 seconds, then divide that number by three, add them and add four., i.e., 30 chirps divided by three plus four equals 14 degrees.

Why does this work? Cold blooded, they adapt to the temperature around them. The outside temperature affects the amount of energy crickets have available to chirp, among other chemical bodily actions -- warm temp makes them chirp faster; cold temperatures slow the chirps.

I wonder if this will work with the kids, too? Hmm … an experiment on the horizon? Have a great day!

Pam Laird is an aspiring writer and resident of Kooskia looking to share the lighter side of rural life.

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