Jeanette Riffle: Do Katydids Predict The First Frost?

The Free Press WV

Old folks used to say that it would only be six weeks till a frost, when the Katydids started hollering. We have been hearing them at night for quite a while, along with the tree frogs and crickets. When we were small and growing up, Dad used to entertain us with a saying that goes like this. “Katydid did, no she didn’t,” and would repeat that over and over. One time I asked him, “What did Katy do?” He just smiled and repeated it. There is plenty of folklore about these insects on just how they obtained their name. One tale is about a fair young maiden who fell in love with a handsome man but he shunned her and married someone else. After their honeymoon, the couple was found dead in the same bed. The bugs began arguing about whether Katy did it or not. If you listen carefully, you can hear them debating back and forth, “Katy did!  Katy didn’t!” One thing for sure, the earlier you hear the Katydid chirp, the earlier the first frost will be that fall. We love those autumn night sounds. We don’t hear the whippoorwills any more but the folks up the Tanner #4 road say they still hear them.

The Free Press WV

Sometimes it sounds like there are crickets in our walls already. I found one recently by the back door that had made it inside.  Another night sound that I am remembering is the whistle of a train. Dad had a brother, Scott Stewart, and his family, that lived at Walker, WV and they had a house and store by a railroad track. One summer I went down to stay a week with my cousins. Every night that train would go through and the train tracks were so close to the house that it shook the windows. That was something different for me. We didn’t have trains where I lived between Lockney and Normantown. In a way, I’m glad we didn’t though, because it was hard to sleep with all that going on and you got woke up every night.

The new puppy is adjusting very well and learning the ropes here. He knows he is to go up to the road for the morning paper with Duane and that is quite a jaunt for him. Next, he gets fed his Puppy Chow and then he wants inside with us where it is warm. After a big romp, he is ready to go back outside again. He has been venturing around a little but not far. This place must look awfully big to a little pup. The weeds have taken over in the garden and he gets lost in them and runs clear to the end of the garden and around the end, till he sees Duane and then joins him. Our deep freeze is full and so is the side by side in the house. We are ready for winter.  I made one turn of pear butter that tastes like apple butter and I found another recipe that I want to try. We sliced and froze pears to use for recipes.

Until next time, take care and listen for the Katydids. God bless !

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