By Randy Lyle
We've all seen hunters use powder to check the wind direction. Here is something we use here in Pennsylvania that I believe to be a better option.
I use the seeds from a milkweed pod. The seeds inside of the pod are similar to the seeds of a dandelion. The seed is attached to a white, downy, parachute-like top, and is designed by nature to be carried long distances by the wind.
I store my milkweed seeds in a 35mm file canister, and whenever I want to check wind direction, I simply remove the lid and let a couple go into the breeze.
The seeds float on the breeze for quite a distance and are very visible as they float away.
Not only can you see which direction the wind is blowing, but you can also follow the seed until you lose sight of it. You will be surprised how far a milkweed seed is visible.
You will notice that they don't always fall straight down, but are light enough to show you thermal activity as well.
Milkweed seeds are obviously natural and have no alarming odor, and one big pod should contain enough seeds to last you for years.