Winter Worries?

Laura put her hand on the wall of the [muskrat’s] house. The coarse plaster was hot in the hot wind and sunshine, but inside the thick mud walls, in the dark, the air must be cool. She liked to think of the muskrats sleeping there.
Pa was shaking his head. “We’re going to have a hard winter,” he said, not liking the prospect.
“Why, how do you know?” Laura asked in surprise.
“The colder the winter will be, the thicker the muskrats build the walls of their houses,” Pa told her. “I never saw a heavier-built muskrats’ house than that one.”
~from The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I’ve heard from at least three different sources that we are to have a bad winter. I guess the Farmer’s Almanac has foretold this, though I haven’t looked it up. And rumors are fed along Internet and word of mouth enough to have me thinking I need to do some stockpiling of supplies next time I am in town. It didn’t help for me to start reading The Long Winter again this week, I suppose, but now that I am into it I am thinking how interesting it will be if the predictions people are making will be right. Just how is it that people know these things?
Back in Laura’s time, apparently, the animals gave them clues. In another chapter of this classic, Pa comes home from a goose hunt and remarks that there are no birds to be seen anywhere. I have not noticed any birds around here lately, but I have not been watching for them, either. There are a pair of bluejays that volley from the weeping willow to the pines out back; I’ll look for them tomorrow.
I’m not looking forward to icy trips to church this winter. Luke is worlds better at driving in inclement weather than I am, so all I have to do is sit in the passenger seat and trust him. Still, it gets tense sometimes. Maybe the baker’s dozen of expected blizzards will eliminate some of these adventures and keep us safely at home.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:33-34