IN THE FIELD: Cold Winter Ahead?

In the part of the northeastern United States where I live, the change in season is beginning to show. Earlier this week I was photographing a grouping of holly bushes and was surprised to see the incredible amount of berries they are bearing this year.

With the cooler nights and unseasonably high rainfall, the leaves on the trees have just started to turn towards their autumn colors. Is that a sign of an early and cold winter? Or is it simply because it’s late September? Either way, it promises a glorious autumn show which makes for outstanding photo opportunities.

The apple trees at our local orchard are heavily laden with fruit maturing into their varied colors. A good indication of a large harvest. We have an abundance of beech-nuts and acorns all over the yard this year. Does that mean extra food for the squirrels and deer? The squirrel activity has been on the increase lately.

I’ve already seen some big woolly caterpillars crawling around. An old wives tale says when they make appearances this early, it means a cold winter. Geese flying north at this time of year also suggest a cold winter. I’ve seen a few flocks heading in that direction the past few weeks. Even the coats on our two canine companions are getting thicker. Or maybe they just need a trim?

Local folklore predicts that for every fog in August, there will be a snowfall in winter. We’ve had a lot of fog this past summer…uh oh. Last year we got almost five feet of snow in one week.

I guess it boils down to this. Rain or snow…not much we can do about that. I just hope we don’t have to shovel too much snow again this year. I’d rather be out with my camera then schlepping snow.

What’s the weather going to be like this winter? We can look to folklore, old wives tales, meteorologists, farmers almanacs, television weather folk and Mother Nature’s hints.

I’ll stick with Mother Nature’s hints.

  1. September 23, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Gorgeous image of the holly berries, Davis. But the way you are describing the weather there, I am glad I am down here. 🙂

    • September 25, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      Thanks Bob, We are actually a bit warmer today (71) compared to the wet chilly rainy week we just had. The trees are changing quickly…mostly some maples, sumac, and black tupelos.

  2. TechieChef
    September 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Very pretty picture…

    Thanks for Sharing.

  3. September 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Beautiful! I always heard it was the color of the wooly bears (pillars) that determined what the winter would be like. The darker the entire wooly was the colder. One year we had blonde woolies and a super mild winter. I want to go apple picking but I think its too soggy.

    • September 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm

      Wow blonde woolies!! I’m think’n cold one this year. The wooly one was pretty dark. Apple picking would be a good thing…the ground was like a wet sponge yesterday but has dried out a bit. I’d go anyway.

  4. September 23, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Very nice berry image! Hope we have some nice fall colors to photograph this year.

    • September 25, 2011 at 2:54 pm

      Me too. The leaves have really started changing this weekend. Mostly maples and black tupelos and a few sumacs.

  5. September 23, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Beautiful photo! I ran into a all black woolly worm this morning. Not a good sign for a mild winter. 🙂 Thanks for your post–enjoyed your words.

    • September 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      That’s what I was thinking too!!

  6. September 24, 2011 at 4:25 am

    Beautiful Autumnal image! Fruit has been in abundance here in England for many weeks too. We thought maybe it was a sign of another harsh Winter. The National Trust, however, claim it is due to a dry hot Spring followed by a cold cloudy Summer.

    We’ll see!

    • September 25, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      That’s pretty much what the weather was like here also. Guess we just have to wait and see!!

  7. September 26, 2011 at 8:42 am

    In here we have some points as you said, like folklore, old wives tales,…etc. for example if quinces will be too much it means the winter will be so hard… How insteresting these kind of things… Last year we didn’t have snow… But I am afraid this winter will be snowy, they say like that… But I know your area is much more colder than us… But I wish not be very snowy winter days like last year. Autumn and spring are my best seasons… I love the colours in both of them. This berry’s photograph is amazing, I loved it. Thank you dear David, have a nice day, with my love, nia

    • September 26, 2011 at 11:04 am

      Thanks Nia for the kind words. I like winter…I just hope we don’t have as much snow as last year. I got tired of shoveling the back yard for the puppies.

  8. September 26, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Beautiful photo! I like how you used the leading lines in the background to bring your eye to the main group of berries.

    I’m typically not a fan of winter, but for the past four years I’ve been back on the ski slopes so now I don’t dread it as much as I used to. I have even started to enjoy the challenge of snow photography. So whatever happens this winter, I’ll be outside with camera in hand (or in pocket)!

    • September 26, 2011 at 11:07 am

      Thanks Tricia, Wow skiing …I haven’t had, as Sharon says…”had two sticks strapped to my feet” in years. I enjoy snow photography …well any season photography for that matter too!! Keep the batteries warm!!

  9. tedgriffith
    September 26, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    A lovely image of the berries. 🙂

    • September 27, 2011 at 8:08 am

      Thanks, they are quite prolific this year!!

  10. September 28, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I enjoyed this post, David. Beautiful photo of holly berries! I love to observe nature’s hints and warnings. The activity of our backyard birds and squirrels often predicts rain or snow for us. I hope we all have a mild winter!

    • September 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Me too, although the activity levels around here seem to be elevated.

  11. September 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Thanks Karen, those bushes are loaded.

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