Those German Onions Don't lie

Flagstad, Carl O. "Those German Onions Don't lie." Minot Daily News, 28 January 1990.

Quit fretting about the lack of snow and moisture and stop gloomily visualizing a disastrous crop year because things may get better, much better.

The precipitation is coming, at least in one portion of Pierce County and hopefully it will find its way into other parts of the region.

The only sure thing, however, is that good times lie ahead for the Balta-Orrin area of Pierce according to a most reliable source, an onion.

An onion? Yup, a lowly-looking onion. But one with the gift of foretelling the weather for a year ahead providing the rules are rigidly observed.

There is nothing really new about onion forecasting. It has been a time-honored old German way of determining what lies ahead in the weather pattern, especially for farmers used down through the generations.

Andrew Weigel, who lives south and west or Orrin those who follows the onion forecasting practice and did so again to find out, for his own satisfaction, what 1990 would be like .
His onion came up with a superb answer, one that couldn't have been much better -- a wet February, a dry March, but wet conditions again in April and May, fairly wet June and even some moisture in July.

That's just about ideal as any farmer would testify and that -at least in the area where Weigel lives -- is what should be seen because his onion told him so.
Not just any old onion, however.

“It has to be one grown locally,” admonished Mrs. Emil Weigel, who also lives on a farm near Orrin.

"Don't matter what size it is but it has to be grown in the area. Store bought ones don't work."
She said the old German custom of onion forecasting was common in many areas of the state where German people live.

"Lot of people around here use the onion way and a lot of them go by the forecast it tells them which is nearly always right," she pointed out.

The way it is done, according to what the Pierce County Tribune reported, is to take a local onion and cut it in half -- but not just on any day. The cutting has to be done on Christmas Eve.

Then you peel off 12 "cups" from the onion, place a small quantity of salt in each and place them in a window -- not just any window, mind you, but one with a western exposure.

It doesn't take long for a trembling and hopeful individual to find out the good or bad news. As Andrew Weigel said: "By the time we get back from midnight Mass, the forecast is ready."

Which it was again this year and carried all those goodies about precipitation every month through July, except March.

Unfortunately, like the onions that are used, the forecasts which result also are localized, holding only for the immediate region, not a wide area.

Of course, people living elsewhere can resort to the same system and, providing they follow the old German rules, develop yearly forecasts for their own regions.

Reprinted with permission of the Minot Daily News.

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