Mulling things on my morning ramble
with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.
Heading toward the steps this morning, the meathead surged sideways across the porch after a squirrel.
It was one of the increasingly more common black squirrels. Apparently, he was picking up seed spilled from the front bird feeder.
I have a weakness for black squirrels, so I checked the leash before Storm came close.
Then we scattered squirrels for the first half block.
Just a ton of them.
And I thought, aha, they know the cold snap is coming later this week.
But that is probably a bunch of hooey and just a coincidence.
I am virtually certain that squirrels only know or sense daylight is getting shorter so it is time to bury or stockpile nuts and such, not that they have some long-range forecasting ability.
But here is where modern life and the wisdom of the ages, sometimes known as old wives' tales, intersect.
I have been checking the long-range weather forecast since Wednesday, trying to decipher what deer hunting will be like this weekend.
And every day on the ramble with the meathead, I notice as much as possible what is going on with wildlife and the natural world in and around town.
So it is natural for me to make a connection between the forecast cold snap for Thursday with frenzied squirrel activity this morning.
Even if such a connection doesn't exist.
Which brings me to divining persimmon seeds.
A few weeks ago, I went to southern Illinois and picked persimmons with our pastor and his wife. Great Sunday afternoon and evening.
Well, over the weekend, my wife and I finally got to cleaning the star tops off, then mashing the persimmons through tri-stand metal strainer with a pestle. We bagged eight pints of pulp.
That's a lot of pudding to come.
While we were cleaning the persimmons, I kept trying to open the seeds (close to watermelon seeds in size and shape).
On our trip south, we stopped first for lunch in the small town of Iuka at Penny's Cafe for an old-style country lunch.
The proprietor Penny Helm came out and, in talking, mentioned the idea that persimmon seeds forecast the winter.
She said to split the seeds, then check the design. The accepted meanings are a knife means a cold winter (cutting cold), a spoon means big snow (shoveling) and a fork means a mild winter.
So I tried to split a bunch of seeds Saturday night and couldn't.
Guess I am no good for divining what our winter will be like.
Then so far, I haven't divined anything concrete from woolly bears either.