Signs in September

As a gardener, I spend a lot of time outside, all through the year. April through October, though, are the months when I am always out and about, planting, weeding, harvesting, weeding, tidying, weeding - you get the picture.So I am perhaps more in tune with the weather than I might be if I spent more time inside. I can't always say that I can accurately predict the weather, but sometimes I get it right. This is most likely due to watching the sky, and observing the plants and animals. For instance, if I am bothered by biting mosquitoes during the day, I know that rain is coming. If there is an absence of normal animal chatter (birds, for the most part) or if the butterflies are not to be found flying about, I know that a big change in the weather is coming, probably a storm with heavy rain and winds. There is a certain "mackerel sky" I think they call it, that tells me that rain will be coming within 48 hours.
Rainbow
Changes in air pressure or humidity can cause animals and plants to react. When it is very dry and fair (as your home in winter) cats often lick their fur, especially around their heads. They do this to prevent static discharges (as when you get a zap of static electricity).

"If a cat washes her face o'er her ear,

  'tis a sign the weather will be fine and clear"

If humidity is high and the wind strong, trees often turn up their leaves, showing their undersides. This can be a sign of an approaching storm.

"When leaves turn their back 'tis a sign it's going to rain"

Some birds and animals react to a decrease in air pressure. I often notice that ants start building big mounds in the driveway cracks and other areas just before a storm. There is a saying:

"When the wind is out of the east,

  'Tis neither good for man nor beast"

And this one, which I've never heard of, but will remember to check the next time my rooster crows at night:

"If the rooster crows on going to bed,

  You may rise with a watery head"

Another interesting ditty:

"Trout jump high

  When rain is nigh"

Lower air pressurem it seems,  disperses the microscopic organisms in plant debris at the bottom of a pond. Small fish start feeding, and big fish in turn feed on them - and may jump in a frenzy. I know my father always said that jumping fish was a sign of rain Who knew?

My grandmother had a "bad knee" and she always claimed she could tell when rain was coming if it acted up. I've found that my own arthritic knees have increased pain just before or during a storm. Apparently studies have shown that some people react to the change in air pressure by an increase in their aches and pains.

I've always heard:

"Red sky at night, sailor's delight,

  Red sky at morning, sailor take warning"

It's mostly proven to be true for me, but now I know why. Most weather patterns move from west to east. A red sky in the evening can be caused by the setting sun shining through dust particles More dust particles mean more moisture can form. The dry air is already moving through and clouds may not form through the night. But if the sky is red in the morning, watch out.

This next one is a more comprehensive saying:

"Evening red and morning gray,

  Two sure signs of one fine day.

Evening red and weather fine.

  Morning red, of rain's a sign.

An evening gray and a morning red

  Will send the shepherd wet to bed"

So, watch and observe, and you might get better at predicting the weather than the Weather Channel. You sure can't do much worse!
Weathervane
Searching for signs,

Karen