Fat Squirrels Forecast Falling Snow

I have a feeling this is going to be a cold winter.

Sure, there’s a La Niña, which historically means a higher likelihood of colder weather for the northern plains. But I’m not basing this on any official predictions, whether the source is reputable (NOAA) or not (Farmer’s Almanac).

I’m just looking at the squirrels in our backyard. Boy, are they fat lately. So fat, they must be hoarding doughnuts instead of peanuts. So fat, they must have mistaken candy corns for acorns. So fat, they’re inspiring me to make up lame “fat squirrel” jokes. They’re bulky all over, but most of the weight has gone to their bushy tails. You can practically overhear them asking each other, “Does my ass look fat?”

Yes. Yes, it does.

If I sound squirrelly, keep in mind that people have been forecasting the weather based on animal observations for centuries. Take the woolly bear caterpillar, for instance. It’s said that the narrower the orange stripe, the harsher the upcoming winter.

There are some catchy proverbs, too. Like, See how high the hornet’s nest, ‘twill tell how high the snow will rest.

Dammit, I was too busy chasing away the hornets with Black Flag to determine how far off the ground their nests were this year.

According to folklore, other signs of a cold winter include:

  • The early arrival of crickets on the hearth.
  • Domestic geese that walk east and fly west.
  • Spiders spinning larger-than-normal webs.
  • Pigs gathering leaves and straw in the fall.
  • Ants marching in a line rather than meandering.

And yes—a bushy tail on a squirrel is another indication that you’d better make sure your snow blower is tuned up for the season.

There’s another reason I’m sure it’s going to be a cold winter:

Let me rephrase that: there’s another reason I’m sure hoping it’s going to be a cold winter. That’s half a cord of firewood, folks. Set us back $125. If we don’t burn through it all, Tara won’t have patio space for her plants next spring. And you know that’s not going to fly.

C’mon, subzero weather!


With 40% of the marketing department traveling this week, and 20% on maternity leave, I figured I’d have a nice, relaxing work week. Especially since I got a rare reprieve from my normal Thursday brand journalism article thanks to Veteran’s Day.

Ha.

If anything, it was busier than normal. One of those weeks where you can hardly spare two minutes to use the bathroom. I wouldn’t say I was putting out fires, per se, but I sure had a lot of irons in those fires.

So, it was a pleasant surprise when my supervisor messaged me yesterday.

Hey Mark! Our afternoon session at the SDLA is all about attitude. In addition to your strong writing skills and passion for storytelling, I wanted to let you know that I also appreciate your positive attitude so much. You help make the office a more enjoyable place to be. Thank you!

How great is that? And also: validation. Because Tara often (jokingly) makes fun of my eternal optimism. What can I say? It’s always sunny in Markadelphia.

As much as I love my work…even during crazy-busy weeks like this one…not gonna lie: I am looking forward to a nice, long four-day weekend.

Which has just commenced. Sayonara!



Categories: weather, work

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

19 replies

  1. Half a cord? That used to get me through December and January. Hmm. I’d be stunned if that got you through the whole winter. Maybe reevaluate?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Our squirrels are positive porkers this year as well. And the raccoons? Good grief, they’re positively waddling.
    I’m hoping you have an alternate heating source because half a cord doesn’t last a month up here.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We could use a cold winter to thin out all our squirrels. Or maybe to thin out the elderly neighbors who feed them bags of peanuts daily. My flower beds are littered with buried peanuts and holes to reclaim those peanuts.

    But SoCal’s idea of cold is dropping into the 40s, so everyone on the block is probably safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve been seeing the Farmer’s Almanac dire forecast warnings posted by friends for the past 3 years, which make me laugh, as we’ve then gone on to have mild winters. At this point, I’d only worry if they forecasted a mild winter!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. First, if you could research and report on any rabbit behaviors that foretell cold weather, I’d appreciate it.
    Second, “one of those weeks you can hardly spare two minutes to use the bathroom”? Welcome to every day in public education.
    Third, watch out for Toxic Positivity. You might have a case of it. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lord. I hope the squirrels aren’t reading this post because she might IN FACT hurt their {fat} feelings.
    Positive validation is the best. I too love your optimism.
    Have you guys watched Ted Lasso? (on Apple TV) Ted is the eternal optimist and in such a funny/cute way you can’t help but love him. Enjoy your long weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Despite living where it is predicted to be icy and flaky, our squirrels have a rather la-de-da attitude toward burying nuts this year. Either they haven’t read the Farmer’s Almanac– or they’re tuned into something different. I hope they are right.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m so far behind, I had to check the date on this to see what four-day weekend you meant–the one that’s long gone. Way to go, Betsy! Air five!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, I briefly considered doing daily November posts again, like last year. But I didn’t want to face your wrath and scorn!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m nearly (almost, sort of, getting there) ready to post something new for the first time in weeks. I have been BIZ-ZY, and have deleted blog post notifications in my in-box left and right for weeks. HOWEVER, I’ve still been making a point to read yours (better late than never) and two other’s. Feel the specialness? You are welcome.

        Of course, if you start posting daily again, you’re dead to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I do feel honored, thank you! No worries…I’m too busy myself to post more than 7-8 times a month at this point. Though that is subject to change without advance notice at any time!

    Liked by 1 person

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