I firmly believe that the old timers knew how to predict the weather far better than we do with our computer models and meteorologists. At least for their particular slice of the world anyway. I'm always observing the natural world trying to find the best and most accurate indicators of the weather to come.
When I was growing up in Florida I was taught that goldenrod was the best indicator of when the first frost would come. Over the years, and many places I lived, I've tested this theory and have found it still holds true. The blooming goldenrod means there will be a frost in that area in 6-8 weeks. Of course, our goldenrod started blooming last Friday so we should get our first frost by the middle of October. It may not be a hard frost but it will be frost.
On Tuesday we had to go into town and I noticed the Canada geese were starting to flock up. Since moving to Eastern Ontario I've noticed that the geese start flocking up about the same time as the goldenrod blooms. When the geese start to flock up then we can expect frost within a few weeks. When they start flying south I know there is snow coming. Of course by the time they start flying south it should be late October early November and snow is almost always within a few weeks anyways.
I've had my theories poo-pooed by almost everyone but I still hold them to be true. Maybe I should start a spreadsheet, but then would be be any different than the computer models - nothing but good guesses, and averages? I guess the secret of the old timers is more about gut instinct than omens or portents.