Today, the ides of March, is the average last freeze date in north Texas. There are times, although, when after the 15th of March we’ve experienced one or more late freezes which kill the smatterings of early spring blooms that often start here as early as February. But interestingly there’s a saying hereabouts which purports that if the pecan trees have not yet budded by the 15th, there will definitely be more freezes. So I keep an eye on my neighbor’s pecan tree as it actually has branches reaching over our common fence line, and I can easily see whether it has started budding or not. That’s why today I went out for my usual ides of March sojourn over to my north fence and looked up to find that tiny buds are beginning to appear on some of the tree’s branches. And silly as it may seem, I’ve been watching that circumstance for over a decade now, and it has never failed to be quite accurate in its forecast. So now I can and will bring the ferns out of the green house to enjoy breezy and fresher open air, and I will be able to move forward with more and more plantings. Isn’t it fascinating that seeds which fall to the ground during the growing season in summer and/or autumn know when it’s time to start germinating in the spring and that pecan trees and other already growing things know when it’s safe to start budding and leafing out. Indeed, the Lord’s designs, in all things, are amazingly far better laid out than “the plans of mice and men.”
A ring around the sun or moon,
means rain or snow is coming soon.
~Old Time Weather Proverb
People have been using signs from nature to predict the weather since the beginning of time. For example:
Some say if you notice hornets, bees, and wasps building their nests higher than usual, like in the tops of trees rather than closer to the ground, a harsh winter with lots of snowfall may be coming. Or if you notice livestock and wildlife looking more woolly than usual in the fall, they may be gearing up for a particularly harsh winter. Or if rabbits and squirrels look especially fat in the fall, they may be bulking up for a cold winter. Likewise, if you see squirrels burying nuts at a more hurried pace than usual, that may also be a sign of a hard winter. Or if spiders build larger webs than usual, it could be because they are trying to catch more food and fill their bellies for a coming cold snap. Or if apple and other fruit trees produce more fruit than usual, a harsh winter may be in the forecast. Or there’s a story which goes that the thicker the outer shells of nuts, the worse the winter will be. This theory also extends to acorns and the thickness of their shells because it could be nature’s way of protecting the tree species during harsh weather. Or some people believe that the brighter the leaves are in the fall, the snowier and colder the coming winter will be. And here in Texas, I’ve always heard it said that until pecan trees begin to bud out winter’s not over and so there’s still a chance for a freeze. And ever since I’ve watched my neighbor’s pecan tree near my north fence line, it has never failed to be true. Although it has seemed like spring for weeks, until today that tree nor others around our neighborhood had not started to bud out so I’ve worried that a freeze would come and ruin all the pretty “babies” that have been blooming in the area. But now I believe that we should be safe to continue celebrating this early, early spring because the pecan trees have started to leaf out.
He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ ~Matthew 16:2-3 ✝