Monday, 21 July 2014

Red sky at night

I am learning all the time. We are haymaking again today; another friend, with a much larger field, wants his making into hay for his horses and he wants it to be ready to lead in at the week-end. This week looks a reasonable week so that the farmer has begun the cutting today. He looked at the long-range forecast last night (on Country File John)and the forecast up until the week-end looks quite promising. It struck me forcibly on Friday how farmers and countrymen in general decided on the order of jobs in the days before there was any sophisticated forecasting. There was a sharp breeze blowing and the leaves on our rowan tree outside the kitchen window were almost blowing inside out. The farmer remarked on this, saying that the leaves were blowing inside out - that was a sure sign that rain was on its way. And I thought of all the other country sayings: Red sky at night a shepherd's delight. Red sky in the morning a shepherd's warning. Rain before seven, fine before eleven. It's the west wind that brings the rain and the east wind that brings the cold. The North wind brings the snow. There are countless others and that and the farmer's intuition were all he had to go on when planning farm jobs. The farmer will often come in and say ' there's rain in the air' or 'there's snow coming in' and he places a lot of importance on the view over the moor from our kitchen window - a lot of weather comes from there he believes. And he is probably right. So nowadays it is a combination of things that decide when farmers begin their haymaking, but it is still a tense time. The price of cattle feed in Winter fluctuates greatly and the more each farmer has stored in his barns when winter begins the happier he will be.

11 comments:

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Hail Pat!
Even though I was not raised on a farm, weather forecasts back then were 3 minutes once a day on the 15 minute evening news. So we, too, looked for leaves blowing upside down and the smell of snow in the air and red sky at morning, sailors take warning.
My friend had a stick she said told the weather. If it was wet, it was raining; if it was white it was snowing; if it was moving, it was windy, etc. Worked really well! :)
My favorite, though, is when I am watching the weather on TV, and it is doing the Exact Opposite of what they are forecasting. Cracks me up.
Hope you guys get plenty of sun this week!
:) m & Miss Josephine

Barbara said...

Hi Pat!
I love the old sayings about weather forecasting. In many ways, they are far more accurate than our modern technology.
It feels like (and looks like) rain here, but the forecast doesn't show anything. So, I have to decide...Which one do I trust? and do I think can I get to the feedstore and back without getting wet?
Here's hoping you have good haymaking weather!

Heather said...

Our climate is so eratic it must be a nightmare for forecasters and farmers alike. I love it when the old country sayings prove themselves right.

Cro Magnon said...

Red sky at night
Shepherd's cottage on fire.
Red sky in the morning
Shepherd's cottage still burning.

Spike Milligan.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Ah ! Good old Spike! Never heard that one Cro.
My husband looks at all the maps and squiggly lines and gives his own forecast. He is usually right.
Me, I'm a fir cone weather forecaster sort of person.
Nothing is so sure tho' that if you farm or garden you get obsessed with the weather

jinxxxygirl said...

My grandfather could always forecast the weather... And he was always right. At least in the eyes of his little granddaughter.. :) I remember being told when the leaves were showing their silvery sides when the wind blew it meant rain. Hugs! deb

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

Around here, observing the old signs and sayings is usually more accurate than the TV forecasters.

Terra said...

My husband rides his bicycle every day and studies weather maps and cameras online every day, looking for fog, etc. How good your neighbor grows his own hay for his horses.

angryparsnip said...

Wonderful post today.
I believe in many of the old saying.
They usually had years of history behind them.

cheers, parsnip

Terry and Linda said...

Boy do you think like us...and we watch the signs...and we smell the wind, and feel the earth...

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

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