Breland: Nature brings varied weather forecast

Published 10:46 am Friday, October 1, 2021

During autumn, most likely just after leaves have fallen, keep your eyes open if driving down country roads. You might spot a wild persimmon tree filled with tiny hanging bright almost plum-sized orange fruit, just waiting to be picked!

Riding the bus home from school in autumn, our bus driver, Mr. Dolphus Sheridan, would often stop and let the few of us still on the bus get out and pick either wild persimmons or maybe crabapples. It was a treat to taste these goodies from the woods.

Fall brings a season of different fruits and persimmon is one of them. They used to be an unfamiliar taste to many of us. I was familiar with the flavor of these small wild persimmons, which tasted very different from the big fruit grown at my Uncle Iva Lang’s.

He had a big persimmon tree growing by the front of his house. That tree would shed its leaves each fall and show a tree filled with beautiful bright orange persimmons hanging by their stems. They were big, full and juicy with big seeds. Some folks referred to this type as Japanese persimmons.

Before they are ripe, either type of persimmon fruit has a very astringent taste, but the taste grows mellow as they ripen. Just be sure they are really ripe before eating. If not ripe enough, either kind will cause your mouth to go into an extreme pucker! It will not leave you smiling!

I was thinking about persimmons the other day and happened to read they can be used as a method of weather forecasting. I have seen a lot of the old-fashioned ways of forecasting weather, but never with persimmons! We learn something new every day!

We had the wild kind of tree in our yard once and enjoyed eating them, but not for forecasting the weather. Maybe this came from an old Farmer’s Almanac, who knows?

Directions say to use locally grown persimmons, as they will predict local weather conditions. Wild persimmons are so small, it would hard to do this with them. Use the large persimmons grown in many yards now, as many people love this unusual fruit.

Wait to pick the persimmon or cut into it until it gets a bit soft — sort of mushy. Then cut open a seed and there will be a kernel inside.

If the kernel is shaped like a spoon, expect pretty cold weather — might even have snow! If it is fork-shaped, plan on a mild winter. If it is knife-shaped, expect frigid weather where cold winds will cut like blades!

I wonder about all these old-fashioned hints and how they came about. It was likely the only way early people could tell about seasons and weather — studying nature.

“Ring around the moon, rain or snow in the next three days.” Since Bible times, people have long known how to read signs of the weather.

“Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.”

Jesus said, “When it is evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering”

(Matthew 16:2-3).

Many of the old farmer’s tales about the wind and weather point to the west as the place to watch as weather develops.

Jesus also said, “When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, there cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, there will be heat; and it cometh to pass” (Luke 12:54-55).

Maybe it is good to know all this … but also be thankful for modern daily weather forecasts, even if they are wrong sometimes!

Bob Ann Breland can be reached by email at bobann70@att.net.