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Signs of a hard Winter already ?


Frederick

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Having driven through the New Forrest this week and noticed that the ponies ....and the cows.... that are turned out .... seem to have very thick and fluffy coats already ...are we in for a hard winter.?       Its got me thinking what are the signs in France now ?.... are the signs of a harsh winter showing already ?
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Now, much as I'm a great believer in the hidden "knowledge" that nature has, and to some degree the mystic nature of our cosmos, I really can't quite take in board the notion that earlier in the year when hips and haws were being formed, or for that matter when creatures were developing their winter coats, there could be any foreknowledge or consideration of what type of winter climate was in store.

Chris

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[quote user="chris pp"]

Now, much as I'm a great believer in the hidden "knowledge" that nature has, and to some degree the mystic nature of our cosmos, I really can't quite take in board the notion that earlier in the year when hips and haws were being formed, or for that matter when creatures were developing their winter coats, there could be any foreknowledge or consideration of what type of winter climate was in store.

Chris

[/quote]

Now then Chris, don ee deny thu wizdum v th ancient times when maaaam n animuil wuz clozer n unerstood thiz thingz. Therz fawcez uf Nature you'll neverrr no abaat if you dont look my awld luvvvv.

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Chris you do surprise me I thought you would believe in this !! I do and can see small signs of it everywhere, nothing that would stand up in court , but just little signs that I have noticed from living in the country for a long time, One of which is the squirrels , last year there did a last miniute run around for the acorns and nuts from my hedgrows around here. This year they have been carrying and hoarding for at least 5/6 weeks and the headges are stripped bare, no hazel nuts for me this year, the hips are larger and more of, and most of the wildlife in my garden have gone to ground , where as we still had toads , hedgehogs more birds ect well into decembre last year. Also I have noticed the wildflowers that are in abundance during spring and summer are different each year, this year we had a few foxgloves , whereas normally we have loads, but the wild primrose daff, snowdrops where out in the trillions where as I bet next year it will be the other way round, not only that my old broken leg is giving me jip where as I didnt have any pain last winter[8-)]    
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Nah, it's far too complicated, take the development of rose hips, the number and size will depend on the right weather and soil conditions from early spring, through summer, in fact on our land we have a large number of dog roses and they have, without counting, about the same quantity of hips as last year when we had a mild winter. Of course many species "go to ground" when it's cold and will grab more food when it's easily available, usual energy / cost conservation.

What is around and it's abundance is "in the past" not "in the future".

Chris

 

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I was born and bred in the highlands of scotland, nature really does tell a story, the bushes are filled with bright red berries, which to me means a hard winter, the birds know when to fill up enough to survive over the harsh weather, have been proved right over the years,Mother Nature knows best.!!    [:)]

 

 

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Chris you may be right to say that nature is far too complicated for the

animals to know what nature has in store for them but my theory is as follows.

It is possible that the effects on our planet from internal

and external forces that create the lead up to severe winter weather could have

an effect on certain plants to make them produce more fruit. The animals would

not of course know that a severe winter was ahead but would be able to eat more

of the abundance of fruits and/or nuts.

 

Just a theory.

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The problem is that it neither meets my observations or has any empirical basis. It's more to do with how people notice things because of certain circumstances and then make connections that aren't actually there because they didn't notice that it wasn't any different when, for example in this instant, it wasn't cold. Next week and for the rest of the winter it may be mild and then this thread will be forgotton.

Keep your records year on year and prove me wrong.[:D]

Chris

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I am in agreement with Chris as I have been watching the berries thing every year and haven't noticed any relationship at all yet, here in the UK. 

This time last year the bushes and trees were absolutely laden down with berries and there were loads of acorns everywhere but we had one of the mildest winters that I can remember, with some of the summer and spring shrubs flowering very early.  This year there are just as many berries and even more acorns so I am keeping watch to see what happens.


Pix

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Last year when harvesting onions our French neighbour mentioned the number of papery external layers on onions - the more of them the harder the winter - but again I think maybe the growing conditions through the summer - ie plenty of rain to swell the hips, grain, onion layers - is more likely - but these old wives tales are delightful and worth checking out after the event?
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[quote user="Pads"]Chris you do surprise me I thought you would believe in this !! I do and can see small signs of it everywhere, nothing that would stand up in court , but just little signs that I have noticed from living in the country for a long time, One of which is the squirrels , last year there did a last miniute run around for the acorns and nuts from my hedgrows around here.

Last year it stayed warm well into the traditional winter period, so the squirrels had no trigger to start hoarding until the temperature dropped - then it was a very quick affair until they went into hibernation.

This year they have been carrying and hoarding for at least 5/6 weeks and the headges are stripped bare, no hazel nuts for me this year,

Its been a longer and much cooler autumn (satrted in July for some) so plenty of triggers for the squirrels to start fattening up.

the hips are larger and more of, and most of the wildlife in my garden have gone to ground ,

'cos it's cold - we had a daytime high of -6° over the weekend.  Even I wanted to stay inside in the warm.

where as we still had toads , hedgehogs more birds ect well into decembre last year.

As I said triggered by actual temperature and not by any foreboding of what is to come.

Also I have noticed the wildflowers that are in abundance during spring and summer are different each year,

Again this is a past and current weather effect.

this year we had a few foxgloves , whereas normally we have loads,

prossible cause is that the mild winter induced more fungal rotting of the plants and the poor summer then also failed to trigger flower production.  We had better temperatures in April than in any month up to September - this was too soon for the foxgloves to develop and they suffered from the poor summer, by the time September arrived it was too late to develop flowers before the first frost.

but the wild primrose daff, snowdrops where out in the trillions

mild winter again - and a cracking spring - which went downhill fast when May arrived.  Most of our spring plants were up to 4 weeks in advance of "normal". 

where as I bet next year it will be the other way round, not only that my old broken leg is giving me jip where as I didnt have any pain last winter[8-)]    

Now there I agree.  But my observation is that the breaks and joints rect to the current weather and not what is to come.  Cold and damp being the worst.  I actually do much better either in hot sunny weather or in the really periods when the temperatures stay firmly below zero for weeks.

[/quote]

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[quote user="chris pp"]

Now, much as I'm a great believer in the hidden "knowledge" that nature has, and to some degree the mystic nature of our cosmos, I really can't quite take in board the notion that earlier in the year when hips and haws were being formed, or for that matter when creatures were developing their winter coats, there could be any foreknowledge or consideration of what type of winter climate was in store.

Chris

[/quote]

I always seem to think that trees and shrubs always produce more fruit / seed if they think that they are dying or threatened in some way - totally illogical!  Logically seed / fruit production can only be the result of surplus food / energy after survival needs are met.  Seed / frit production is not simply about reproduction or replacement, that is only a small part of it.  There is usually a vast surplus - the bounty of nature - that occurs to feed animals higher up the food chain. It could be said that in temperate climates such as the UK it is 'normal' to have 4 seasons and, if these seasons are 'normal' then plants will fulfil their full potential.  But the seasons are seldom 'normal' any more.

 

With regard to New Forest ponies; a genuine New Forest pony - as opposed to those that have been 'bred up' - that is the ugly ones with big heads and hairy mouths, always produce thick coats for winter and then shed them if it is too mild.  There are not that many cattle left out on the forest to fend for themselves during the winter - they don't do too well except for breeds such as the Galloways and Highland that are used to a much harsher climate but even they usually have supplementary feed.  In actual fact a wet winter is worse for all stock than a cold one.

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I believe it is common knowledge that plants will put effort into flowers and therefore fruit if they feel threatened - rather than wasting it on extra growth in other areas because it is the need for survival of their genes and the species which fuels the process not individual success!  This explains why people dead head flowering plants - to encourage more flower growth - presumably the plant is shocked into producing flowers and hence seeds.

FYI The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins covers this (as do various other books) - a very interesting subject especially when you look at how survival of the fittest can affect behaviour amongst animals and even more interestingly amongst humans!

Pix

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  • 3 months later...
Hi Chris - My first winter in the Vendee which, I know, has one of the milder climates.  However, my impression has been of many more frosts than we had in the south of England although none were deep or long lasting.  Great tits were investigating the nest boxes back in mid February but although they still feed seem to have lost interest.  Probably not 'des-res'.  Saw my first ever Large Tortoishell on 8th March so I was quite excited.  I am quite surprised that my garden is not freer draining [+ surrounding area].  Since the heavy January rains the veg patch [prospective] has not dried out enough to get anything planted.  By now, 16th March, I had [wrongly] expected Spring to be in full swing but it seesm as unpredictable as the UK.
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We had some quite severe frosts in Nov. and  Dec. (thick ice on the chicken's water container) but since then it has been very mild. Spring starts officially on Thursday, according to Rustica, but spring flowers have been early to appear - I noticed wild comfrey in early Feb. whereas last year it was end of Feb. So down here in the SW the winter wasn't as predicted.
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“Nature is part of our humanity, and without some awareness and experience of that divine mystery man ceases to be man. When the Pleiades and the wind in the grass are no longer part of the human spirit, a part of very flesh and bone, man becomes, as it were, a kind of cosmic outlaw, having neither the completeness and integrity of the animal nor the birthright of a true humanity.”

 

H. Beston

 

 

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Here, on the coast near Bordeaux, temperatures only went below zero on two nights.

It's interesting reading this thread again - thank you, Chris.

P.S. My 8-year-old son was watching me on the computer and saw your avatar, Chris, and said 'was that the man who was shot at?'.  Last autumn, I had told me about your incident and he had remembered.

 

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