Reading the Signs of Nature

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by Motomom34, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    This is a great article that has a good reminder to practice reading nature. These are simple skills that people should have. Reading animal behavior and weather signs is important. The article is broken down into 5 ways with subcategories.

    How To Read The Language Of Nature
    Tristan Gooley writes in his book, The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs, that it is “not the map that should make sense of the land, but the land that will make a map for us.”

    Although we have access to more information than ever before in history, many of us have lost the ability to learn from an ancient and wise teacher: Mother Nature. It is by reading the signs of nature that explorers were able to cross vast oceans in sailing ships. It is how pioneers were able to cross continents on foot and in covered wagons.

    Learning the language of nature is a valuable skill that can benefit anyone who seeks to live a simpler lifestyle. Natural signs can help us find our way when we are lost, prepare when harsh weather is looming, and locate food and water when we are hungry and thirsty.

    Here are five ways to read the language of nature.

    1. Finding Direction
    As many people who have gotten into trouble by relying on it can testify, GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and mobile phone service can be unreliable. Even “old school” technology can fail us. Compasses can break, and maps can get damaged and lost. Yet nature offers us ways to navigate without any equipment.

    Use the Sun
    During the daytime, you can use the sun to find direction. Here’s one method. Point the hour hand of an analog watch at the sun. If you are in the northern hemisphere, you can locate South by going counter-clockwise, halfway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock.

    If you’re in the southern hemisphere, the same point will be North. Now, with South or North located, you can determine the other points of the compass on your watch.

    Use the Stars
    You also can navigate by the sky at night by finding the Ursa Major constellation (also known as the Great Bear, the Wagon, the Plough, and most commonly, the Big Dipper).

    First, find the Pointer Stars, which are the stars at the end of the Big Dipper. Draw an imaginary line through them and then raise your gaze about five times the distance of this imaginary line. You soon should spot Polaris, or the North Star, the brightest star in that part of the sky. If you are in the northern hemisphere, Polaris points the way North.

    Use the Trees
    What if it is a cloudy night and you cannot see the stars? Another way to find North is by examining moss on trees. Moss usually grows on the north side of tree trunks where it gets more shade and, thus, more moisture.

    Here’s a tip: Check for tree moss that is more than two feet above the ground for directional signals. Moss close to the ground gets moisture from the ground, so it may grow on all sides of the tree trunk that low.

    Please follow the link for the rest of the article:
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  2. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    All good info to have . Also old wives tales can help tell the future as well .
    I used to hear many old wives tales from my grandparents , but just seem to forget many of them , and then others I'll use without even realizing it .
    In my AO , we don't get a lot of snow usually , but my grandma said years ago , If it thunders while snow lays on the ground , it will snow again within 7 days . I found this to be true a few years back .
    The leaves of some tree's will turn over before a storm .
    The animals food gathering is true as well .
    Thanks for the post on this , when you find info like this , it's like Bishop say's , If you don't practice these skill's , you won't be able to do it when you need it .
    DuxDawg, arleigh, Ura-Ki and 3 others like this.
  3. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    DuxDawg, Zimmy, Ura-Ki and 4 others like this.
  4. Bishop

    Bishop Monkey+++

    I watch the trees to tell for rain the leaves of white bay tree will turn up and show a white bottom leaves it doesn't always mean rain but they sense it and turn there leaves up to make water run down next to the trunk

    A ora around the moon that gets bigger means rain or snow is coming

    Fiddler crabs moving to high ground means a bad storm
    is coming

    Sea birds moving inland means bad storm is coming
    .cows all looking in one direction means sonsome is in the field.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
    Zimmy, Ura-Ki, Motomom34 and 2 others like this.
  5. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    While working at the airport one blustery day, I stood looking out the window as the wind whipped the shrubbery and rain pelted the concourse. A pilot from the ground school located in the lobby approached and was also looking at the stormy weather. I mentioned that there weren't many out flying today. He replied, "If the birds aren't flying, anyone with any sense shouldn't be flying either."

    Animals can sense the weather. Whether it is an ability to feel the changes in barometric pressure or the subtle differences in temperature or wind direction, they know when to seek shelter. It is all part of awareness, something most humans do not seem to possess any longer.
    DuxDawg, GOG, Zimmy and 5 others like this.
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    I really do NOT have a problem with Wx Prediction// I have a Crushed Ankle ( in a climbing accident 50 Years ago) that tells me whenever the Barometer goes Up or Down at anything above a medium Rate... It is a very good predictor of the barometric Pressure changes. as for "Which way is NORTH", again, I can do that easily in a few hours during the Day and a few minutes in a clear night... Now if the Sun doesn't rise, and the clouds stay Thick as Pea Soup, for days, which way is NORTH is the least of my worries.....
    GOG, Zimmy, Dunerunner and 4 others like this.
  7. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Keep an eye on your dogs nose, Which way its pointing when it takes a dump,East primarily
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  8. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    My old boss broke his neck and he could tell when a storm was coming in. I have heard others who have had breaks say the same thing.
    Zimmy, Dunerunner, oldman11 and 2 others like this.
  9. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grampa Monkey

    I always watch the dogs, they can tell whats coming pretty well! Birds and others animals are a great gauge on what's about to arrive! Especially the predators, when they are scratching or fluffing up, it's going to get cold soon!
  10. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    These barometric pressure changes are easy for me to recognize,
    I drove mountain roads all my life almost and going from sea level to 7500 ft or more you learn to feel it if you pay attention to it.
    Humidity is another thing I've learned to feel living the mountains being desert arid most the time.
    With snow making and watching temperatures and feeling the wind; if 30 degrees feels really cold it's humid hard to make snow.
    Once it drops to 28 air dries up and the snow making making really sings .
    As for reading nature , the squirrels and birds in a resort are not reliable because of human interaction.
    We had to instruct folks NOT to feed the humming birds as winter approached to get them to migrate off the hill, they could not take the cold and flying off the hill in the cold was difficult for them.
    For trees and moss , not here . not humid enough .
    Knowing where north is , when entering an area should be done all along , because some times the machinery doesn't work.
    We had a mountain that had so much iron ,if you were near it ,a compass was useless . we didn't have GPS then .
    There is another heavy iron deposit on a mountain in the town I live now , so it's important to get a good fix on things .
    DuxDawg, GOG and Gator 45/70 like this.
  11. Zimmy

    Zimmy Wait, I'm not ready!

    If you live in a place long enough, you should be able to feel which way is north with your eyes closed
    DuxDawg and arleigh like this.
  12. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I can find under ground water , can you?
    DuxDawg and Gator 45/70 like this.
  13. Zimmy

    Zimmy Wait, I'm not ready!

    I can dowse if that's what you mean.
    Gator 45/70, oldawg and Cruisin Sloth like this.
  14. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Spring, summer and early fall but winter when everything is brown and crunchy it is harder to spot wet areas. Plants are always a give away but I am sure there are tricks and tips for me to learn.
    DuxDawg and Gator 45/70 like this.
  15. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    3' to 4' in my area
    Zimmy likes this.
  16. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    12' to 40' in my area / ranch .
    I have dug a few .
    Then aging in a RAIN forest , Im cheating
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
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