Last autumn I made a note of the following winter words of wisdom:
The sheep were eating fresh nettles all summer even though there was plenty of grass & other greenery available. The shepherd says: means its going to be a hard winter.
Other country folk are saying that there are more hazel catkins out than is usual for the autumn: means its going to be a hard winter.
I revisted this winter forecast as the calender moved into winter proper :
Casting a look back at this post from the autumn when country lore was telling us that a hard winter was ahead: no sign of it yet but then we are only a few weeks into winter so far!
The calender now moves into spring and so, how did it look, our winter?
Some (very) stormy gales, a week or so of sustained ice, day and night, but very little snow – not even enough for a snowman this year :
So no, the nettles and the catkins were not signs of a hard winter this time round.
And will hopefully not be the sign of a hard spring as this is the critical season in the orchard: the trees are awakening from their winter slumber as the warmth and the light make themselves felt. Buds and blossoms become more apparent and, once the blossoms open, the last thing we need is frost, not by day and not by night.
Frozen blossoms are dead blossoms and then the (non-)harvest is a dead loss!
This March has had many bright and sunny days so far and my German country almanac tells me:
Ist März schön und hell, kommt viel Obst auf alle Fäll’.
If March is sunny and bright, there will be plenty of fruit alright.
… If it is followed by a frost-free April!