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"Suddenly the weather turns bad! Thundershowers, lighting, the sun is blotted out! And there is nothing we can do to warn or prevent this act of Mother Nature."

These headlines appeared in the St. Louis Messenger on July 27, 1837 .

Then the article goes on about, "the terrible heat wave and drought of 1833-1834 and how the earth was parched, creeks turned into dry rock beds and crops burned in the fields. During the drought the temperature hovered near 100-degrees for the entire growing season and questioned how some families made it with available food supplies! "

This was of coarse, extreme weather seldom seen in the Illinois country, but the threat of changes like this and an earlier period in 1816 had people talking of building food supplies like natures animals do every year. The start of storing grain and other field products was born.

Let’s get back to the 1816 weather change, reported in Harper’s Magazine, of that following year, “Both January and February of 1816 were warm and spring like, so much so that settlers let their fireplaces die. The cold started in March, with each day windy and blustery. Despite the weather, spring crops were planted, with vegetation well under way by April when unusual cold moved in. Snow or sleet fell for 17 different days in May, killing the fruit trees. June saw frost and snow for all but 3 days, it lasted through July. August was worse, with ice coating the fields, vegetation was gone, wildlife had moved to distant lands and panic felled upon the people." This strange change in the weather was caused by a volcano thousands of miles away, that sent so much ash into the heavens it changed lives around the world and was not found out until a few years later.

(Several others have written of this unusual condition in North America in later years, Sunshine and Life magazines did several articles in the early 1900’s.)

The old-timers had several weather signs they used, "when cows lie down in the pasture - expect rain", "spider webs on the morning grass with dew - expect rain", "if birds build their nests close to the trunk - expect a rainy summer - if nests are built low - expect high winds" or "frogs croaking in early spring - expect rain".

Ben Franklin had several similar sayings, as did Thomas Jefferson both interested in growing edibles. These pioneers, as others that followed had weather sayings for each cloud formation, wind from different compass points or anything of unusual conditions.

In 1839 the Messenger reported, "We’re predicting the weather more accurately than in the past, but it’s not harnessed and earthquakes, hurricanes and tornado could happen at anytime."

Dwelling on such predictions, was considered in bad taste, it could raise our blood level far too high!

With the changes in the weather, in the same area in the last few years, things haven’t improved that much with some of the experts reporting!




With warmer weather coming and the chance of rain and storms and a good possibility of lightning. We need to start thinking about this act of Mother Nature and keep some simple precautions in mind. Lightning kills 50 to 100 people each year in the United States alone, whether outdoors or indoors, everyone – adults and children need to be aware of lightning’s danger. There’s an old saying that Ben Franklin wrote, him being the man about this subject.

“Lightning is frightening!

It can hurt you and me.

 And under a tree

Is the worst place to be.”



Here is a list of safety tips to keep in mind and share with others.


§         Take shelter in a substantial, permanent shelter at the first crack of thunder or a lightning flash, don’t wait for rain. Unsafe places are small sheds or small outbuildings, canopies or near large trees.

§         Avoid water, high ground or open spaces.

§         Stay away from tall, isolated trees or water or railroad tracks, (anything metal). Get into the woods and find shelter in a low area, just as you would if on the plains. If possible get under a thick growth of small trees.

§         If in a level field and the hair feels like its standing on end, lightning is about to strike. Kneel or squat, hands on your knees, not the ground. This is safer than lying down according to the National Safety Council, because: 1) you keep low to the ground and, 2) only a small part of your body is in contact with the ground. With a party of people, spread out.

If lightning is striking nearby, put your feet together and crouch down. Avoid being close to another person or animal, keep a minimum of 15 feet apart.” Per John Hill of the National Lightning Safety Institute.

§         Take cover in a fully enclosed vehicle with a metal roof, but don’t touch any metal surfaces, keep all windows shut.


§         Stay away from windows and doors when lightning is near.

§         Avoid water (e.g., baths and showers).

§         Don’t talk on the telephone. Turn off, unplug and stay away from appliances, computers, power tools and TVs.

Learn how to recognize the signs of an oncoming thunderstorm. Watch the clouds, darkening skies, distant rumbles and flashes of lightning. Don’t wait for lightning to strike nearby before taking cover and keep that rifle down low.

We’ve seen a few guys duck into a tent and think they’re save or get out of a canoe and duck down in ankle deep water thinking they’re safe, boys your not thinking with what God gave you.

As mentioned before go to a low place, a ravine or valley. If in a canoe your probably better off under it than laying down in it, I’d would rather get to shore and take cover.


Until next time, we leave as friends and followers of those that went before us.

Buck Conner  

"One who trades”

"Uno quién negocia"

“Unqui commerce”