General Weather/Earth Sciences Topics > Weather Folklore

"When. . ." - Cause & Effect Folklore Sayings


Through the centuries, common folk on farms and in villages were ever mindful of changing weather conditions and came up with folklore sayings to express what they had observed living close to the land.  Many of their expressions are humble cause and effect observations about the weather that they garnered from tending their crops and animals, watching the sky or putting a finger to the wind:  “When such and such occurs, this is what will follow.”  Here are some of my favorites:

When pigs carry sticks, the clouds will play tricks;
when they lie in the mud, no fears of a flood.

When corn fodder stands all dry and crisp, go on your outing,
there's no great risk.
When the wind is out of the east, ‘tis neither good for man nor beast.

When sheep gather in a huddle, tomorrow we will have a puddle.

When oak is out before the ash, ‘twill be a summer of wet and splash.
But if the ash before the oak, ‘twill be a summer of fire and smoke.

When March blows its horn, your barn will be filled with hay and corn.
When the forest murmurs and the mountain roars,
then close your windows and shut your doors.

When the ass begins to bray, surely rain will come that day.

When chickens scratch together, there’s sure to be foul weather.

When ditches and ponds offend the nose, look for rain and stormy blows.

When clouds are upon the hills, they'll come down by the mills.

When the goose flies high, fair weather. If the goose flies low, foul weather.

When a cow tries to scratch her ear, it means a shower is very near.


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