Onion Snow

Onion Snow.  Most Beloved’s grandfather would say that when we would have a snowfall like we are having today. Yes, it’s snowing yet again here in the mid-west, but today the snow is so pretty outside.  The flakes are wet, heavy and seem like grand lace confetti drifting down from the sky.  The trees are coated thickly with it and the whole world seems hushed and quiet.  It gives off an almost sacred aura as if you are in an elaborate cathedral demanding your reverence.  But it’s just snow, and will probably be gone by this evening.

I googled the term ‘onion snow’ to see what would come up.  I was surprised to find many entries!  Guess it’s not as back-woods as I thought, but it does say it’s Penn-Dutch, which is what my most beloved is.

Apparently, the term “onion snow” isn’t as widely known. Here in South-Central Pennsylvania, it’s a common expression for an early spring snow that comes right when the onions and garlic are peeking through the dirt in our gardens. The dark green tops of wild onions are also popping up around field edges and in yards in late March to early April. The snow that falls is no more than a dusting to a couple of inches. A heavy spring snow is called a twig bender or sapling-bender. Either type of snow does not last long, and will be the last snow of the season.

On a different tangent, I got to thinking this morning about how the people on my blog roll or Facebook page are a type of family.  My family, kin-folks in a technological kind of way.  I subscribe to a blog about life on a ND ranch, and I had heard through the news that they had quite a mini blizzard that stranded 800 people on the highways.  I wondered if this family was safe and how they were dealing with this latest onslaught of weather.  Then I got to thinking. . . .I really care about those on my blog roll.  They have become important to me.  I worry with them, or laugh with them.  When something good happens to them, I rejoice with them.  I pray for them when they are needing a touch from the Father.  There is a young husband who is going through the grieving process for his wife.  He is raising three daughters with help from family and friends.   His grief is apparent in his writing, and my heart goes out to him.    All these folks have become dear to my heart; even though we’ve never met, and some don’t even know I exist.  Isn’t life funny that way?    In all fairness I have to add that the opposite is just as true.  With one click of anyone’s mouse, this family member or friend can be deleted away forever. Such is the value of friendship, costly one minute or disposable the next. 

Back to onion snow.   I bet there is a lot of terminology out there that pertains to the region and isn’t widely known anywhere else.   Can you think of any other terms, words, or foods that are only common to your family?  It would be neat see what else is out there.    When we moved to the mid-west, we learned that paper bags are called sacks.  Lollipops are called suckers, and soda is called pop.  East coast salons automatically wash your hair before cutting, while mid-west salons cut your hair dry.  The north-west people bale and stack their hay in huge fortress like mountains,  the mid-west use round and square bales,  and when we left the east coast,  they were mostly square bales, but now that might have changed.

Share with us what are some idiosyncrasies that your neck of the woods has?  We’d love to learn about them!

4 thoughts on “Onion Snow

    1. I’ve heard of planting peas on St. Patrick’s day, but usually in Lancaster PA it’s too wet yet. If anyone else knows of the peas snow pls let me know more.

  1. Old-time gardeners here still talk about onion snows. And for the record, those square hay bales, for the most part, have evolved into giant round ones left out in the fields. Folks here used to call paper bags “pokes” but I don’t hear that much any more. And your soda has always been pop here. (I used to laugh at my eastern cousins calling it soda.) :-)

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