This summer, when the weather has changed so often and so suddenly we have had many opportunities of watching in nature the signs of change. Many signs are local or at least vary in degree with locality.
A greater or less degree of haze or mist is the usual condition of our atmosphere and a clear day when we see distant points on the horizon which are not usually visible is a sure sign of rain unless it follows immediately after rain. When the beautiful clearness attracts the attention of the most heedless, prepare for a storm of rain.
There is a tiny red flower called the Pimpernel which creeps along the ground in corn fields and meadows and on the hill side. It is not much larger than a pin head but its abundance of bloom and brightness of colour make it very conspicuous. On the approach of rain, it closes its petals and this sign is unfailing, for which reason the flower is sometimes known as the shepherd’s weather glass.
We all understand the warning when our staid sober family of ducks suddenly grows frisky in the water, making a tremendous splashing and quacking, apparently for no adequate reason. The hens , with thoughts intent on worms and gravel, pay no heed to the rain till it disagreeably wets their feathers.
Wild birds whose home is in the air are very sensitive to atmospheric conditions . When the swallows fly low you may expect rain. When sea fowl, particularly the seagull, fly far in land they are trying to escape from a storm of wind and rain which will probably soon follow them.
Country folks say that when the pigs, well fed and cleanly housed, are rustling in their stye, grunt uneasily and proceed to disarrange their clean straw bed, as if dissatisfied with its position, rain is sure to come.
Just as changes in the atmosphere affect the joints and rheumatics, similarly the joints of our furniture are affected and there are mysterious creakings in the stairs and in distant rooms caused by the contraction or swelling of wood as the case may be.