Ashe County’s Local Weather Forecaster…Joe Mullis

If you live in Ashe County North Carolina you have probably heard of the Joe Mullis and his "Beans in the Jar" forecast along with the sighting of a "Black Squirrel" to determine the severity of the winters. If not, then you need read this to find out what it's all about.

Joe Mullis doesn't rely on televised weather forecasts or even the Farmer's Almanac to tell him what Mother Nature can about the upcoming winters. Joe claims he can tell up to four months in advance what each winter will bring to the High Country of North Carolina. Joe and his family have lived in the North Carolina Mountains all their lives. They live in the Creston, North Carolina.

What is his secret, you ask? A time tested calculation that he has practiced since he acquired the art from oral tradition. His method is very simple. For each fog in August, Joe drops a single bean into a canning jar. A larger fog denotes a big bean or a "big snow", one that measures four inches or more. A lighter fog or bean represents a "little snow", which provides just enough snow to cover the ground. At the end of August, Joe counts the total number of beans, both large and small, to determine the total number of snows for the upcoming winter.

"What we do and still do is something you might call a lost art or a dying art. We go by the way the Indians and the old mountain people did. The real mountain people did. They were farmers who depended on nature to show them what each winter would be like," Mulllis said. "Mom has done it, grandma has done it, and her grandma did it and so on. It's something everyone did because they depended on it for their crops and livestock."

Joe, an avid outdoors man, also relies on a combination of other signs from nature to discern what Mother Nature is trying to tell him. In the months preceding each winter, Joe examines the shape and thickness of the fall foliage. He analyzes the thickness of the animal fur and even meticulously examines the thickness of blades of grass and how it lays. Insect and avian activity along with the sighting of a black squirrel is also a weighting factor as it was in 2007 as to the severity of the winter.

So now you know the story behind the "Beans in a Jar" and "Black Squirrel" weather forecast made by our local Parker Tie salesman here in West Jefferson NC of Ashe County… Joe Mullis. 

If you happen to visit Ashe County North Carolina come by A1 Mountain Realty and the experienced staff of Ashe County NC Realtors can provide you with information about Ashe County NC or Homes for Sale in Ashe County NC. Visit our website ( and view our listings or or a MLS search for any property in the High Country and give A1 a call at 336-846-4900.