Holy Mackerel! Look at Those Altocumulus Clouds!

Yesterday while walking the dogs, I looked up and saw this:

Mackerel clouds on Flickr

My mom’s friend Kitty (she of the unique tea strainer and adorable heart bracelet) once told my mom these were “mackerel clouds” because they resembled the fish’s scales. Of course we both thought this was an old wives’ tales, and maybe it is, but it also made Wikipedia, so there.

They’re actually called “altocumulus” clouds (thus the title of the post), just in case you didn’t remember from elementary school science class.

So I smiled as I photographed the sky, thinking it was rather fitting that these clouds would be over me this week. Kitty’s 87th birthday would have been on Saturday the 17th–a day before mine–but she passed away two years ago.

The mackerel clouds, however, will always live on–and always make me think of our Kitty.

Had you ever heard of mackerel clouds?

Do you have strange things that remind you someone special?

11 Beans of Wisdom to “Holy Mackerel! Look at Those Altocumulus Clouds!”
  1. Review Unit

    mackerel clouds looks like MIRACLE clouds

    Spammy but still cute, so I’ll let you play 🙂

  2. Ciao Michelle! What a sweet story and memory. I haven’t heard of mackerel clouds actually, but I love the name! The other day while driving here there were similar clouds and someone in the car described them as “little sheep” in Italian. There was some saying about how the “little sheep” clouds always mean rain is coming soon. I can’t remember the saying though! Have you heard something similar down your way? I’ll have to ask. Hope you have beautiful blue skies for your birthday this week. Buon compleanno!!

    I’ve never heard the sheep thing; I’ll have to ask P…no rain came after these though, thank goodness!

    .-= Laura from Ciao Amalfi´s last blog ..Autumn Arrives on the Amalfi Coast =-.

  3. No I never heard these clouds described that way. Very fitting though.

    Bella photo.

    Thanks! I see these clouds a lot here, so I’m glad I finally snapped a photo 🙂

    .-= nyc/caribbean ragazza´s last blog ..Via Cola di Rienzo, one of the most dangerous places in Rome for an Expat. =-.

  4. rel

    I don’t recall ever hearing the term mackeral clouds. But since our sky here in the most northern of NYS had a skyful, I thank you for passing on that bit of info. I’ll tuck it away for use in a future post and I’ll be sure to acknowledge who gave me the info. 😉

    Smells, smells of a thanksgiving kitchen give my aunt Nellie back to me.

    Mmmm food memories are so very delicious 🙂

  5. ally bean

    I love old wive’s tales like this one. I’ve never heard of mackerel clouds, but we rarely see them where I live. I’m more in a cumulus region.

    I love that you know what kind of region you’re in, Ally 😀

  6. 10.12.2009

    You have made me remember all the old time words for weather that my mother used to use. That is a bonny clabber sky as well as a mackerel sky.

    LOVE it Judith! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. 10.12.2009

    I’m looking out the window and seeing Chicago’s gray skies. So, this is such a nice visual for me today. What a beautiful picture of clouds. So nice to hear your story about Kitty and how these clouds made you think of her.

    Glad you enjoyed Debbie; hope Chicago is treating you well 😀

  8. 10.13.2009

    Thanks for the science lesson. I just saw gray clouds today.

    Glad to provide you with some blue 🙂

    .-= Esme´s last blog ..The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall Review and Giveaway =-.

  9. 10.14.2009

    I love this post so much. The photo of the clouds is beautiful, but most beautiful of all is your memory of a family friend. I think it’s nice the more unusual things we remember people for, since they seem to stick in our minds more.

    Aw thanks Kalee 🙂

  10. Gil

    Never heard of mackerel clouds. In fact. all I remember hearing about clouds are that the dark ones are storm clouds. I do remember a 90+ plus year old neighbor telling me “the older you get the quicker time flies by” when I was complaining about how long 5th or 6th grade was taking!

    Too funny! I always find it interesting the random throwaway comments made by others that we remember so vividly…and then wonder about what the hell I’ve said that has stuck in people’s minds!

  11. 10.19.2009

    Mackerel Sky,
    Not long wet,
    Not long dry…

    Old English Farming saying

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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