Stay tuned for annual winter weather forecast

Published 5:45 am Saturday, October 28, 2017

Okay, for those of you anxiously awaiting the annual NAWWWWW (national association of wooly worm winter weather watchers) forecast for the upcoming winter, all I can say is, “stay tuned.” I’ll try to get to it in the next week or so, but, so far, we have not had enough cool weather to get the woolies motivated.

We did have frost on both Oct. 17 and 18 here in the lowlands of Paint Lick where Charlie Brown Road gets the first sign of ice in Garrard County in October and the last one in May. I sometimes wish there was a way of finding out whether or not my garden has the dubious distinction of being the most frost prone place in Kentucky. I’d be willing to bet a few bucks that it is, at least, in the top ten, not that that’s anything to brag about.

But the first frosts were not severe enough to do any real damage to anything in the garden even though our windshields were iced over and the garbage can lid was too slick to handle when Loretta stepped out to wheel it down to the roadside for pick up.

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The TV weather guys had all announced at mid-day on Monday that there was a “slight chance of patchy frost” in low lying areas come Tuesday morning. That’s as good as a written guarantee we’ll get one on Charlie Brown. We’ve lived here 18 years and I’ve never seen it fail. In fact, we have had frosts, on numerous occasions, when the forecasters never even mentioned we had a chance or even uttered the word “frost” during the evening or late night news.

So Loretta and I, in worried anticipation, spent the afternoon of Oct. 16 picking a bushel of redeye fall beans that needed picking anyway but we also packed in every five-gallon bucket on the place full of bell and banana peppers, egg plant, green and ripe tomatoes, leaf lettuce and the very last cucumber of 2017. Everything, besides the beans and cuke, could have stayed out there for at least another week and I honestly have no idea what we’ll do with all the other stuff we can’t give away. We don’t have a hog to feed it and I’m reasonably sure the dog won’t eat it, though I wouldn’t be surprised.

Loretta put up 14 quarts of the fall beans. I did help break them over Mr. Parkinson’s loud protests. I’m wondering how many other people in Kentucky have found themselves sweating over canners full of beans during the third week of October? I can tell you, for sure, that that if I live through the winter and stay well enough to cook, not a single jar of those beans will go to waste and they’ll be digested long before it’s time to plant another crop. Ironically, we are usually eating canned beans by this time of year instead of eating them fresh out of the garden and still canning them for cold weather.

In the meantime, I’m as anxious, as some of you, to have a conversation with NAWWWWW and get their take on what we might expect over the next six months. It could be that they are still celebrating the forecast they made last year when they called for a mild winter. I’m betting that you will not hear any TV weather forecasters badmouthing wooly worms when they get around to prognosticating over the next few weeks. At least one Lexington forecaster predicted that last winter would be the most severely cold one we’d had in decades. I doubt that you’ll hear him eating his words even though I recorded the show.

And it could be that NAWWWWW is still confused about the fact that we never really had a summer this year. For that matter, if the leaves were not changing color and falling like crazy, there has been scant evidence that we’re already over a month into what is supposed to be autumn.

Do stay tuned. Sooner or later the wooly worms are bound to turn up in sufficient numbers to make some sort of prediction.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Ike Adams at or on Facebook or 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461.