Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Woolly Bear

I had my first Woolly Bear encounter this morning. 

 I am sure she (I call her she because it French, caterpillar is feminine, "la chenille") was looking for a nice place to cozy up for the winter.  I found her busily crossing the road looking for the perfect place to spend the winter (rocks, bark and logs are favorite spots); their thick coat and a naturally produced antifreeze allow them to survive through the winter. She didn't seem to be in any hurry though, and when I picked her up to put her on the other side of the road (to avoid getting crushed by a passing vehicle, though may be an uncommon occurrence around here, I've found many a squashed caterpillar or butterfly) I discovered that though she looks quite fuzzy and furry and soft to the touch, she is not.  She is bristly...if you look closely, her hair looks like little quills!
She curled up into a tight little ball when I moved her (there are many caterpillars, furry ones in particular, that you don't want to touch because they can cause a skin reaction, Woolly Bears can have that affect, so be cautious if you choose to handle them). 

The Ol' Timers say when the Woolly Bear Caterpillar's brown coloring is wide, there will be a mild winter.  They also say if the head or tail is black, the beginning and/or end of winter will be hard.  The Woolly Bear has 13 segments and Ol' Timers say each segment represents one of the 13 weeks of winter.  So according to folklore, this Woolly Bear tells me we'll have a hard start to winter, a few mellow weeks in between, and a cold/hard exit toward spring.  

The Farmer's Almanac  shares some research to see how true the Woolly Bear's forecasting ability is.  And the Sault Ste. Marie Horticultural Society site shared more about the folklore and habits.  You can click on the links to learn more. 

I will be doing my own observations to see if our Woolly Bear predicted the winter as the Ol' Timers would expect...I'll let you know what I find out!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,


Osage Bluff Quilter said...

Mr WW, too funny. I did my own post on him over 5 years ago http://osagebluffquilter.blogspot.com/2007/11/mr-woolly-worm.html

You see my son in law in the weatherman in the post.

so far, I haven't seen any here in Mid-Mo.

Powell River Books said...

I guess that is as good a way to predict the weather. This time of year, the weather channel changes its mind almost hourly. No planning ahead for big events. - Margy

Lise said...

Wow Patti, cool post! I think I might have to share it:)

Margy, I hear you...we don't even get TV weather channel, we have to look on the internet. Rarely accurate for our position, in fact, I think I need to rely on folklore for accuracy!

Dad/Pepere said...

Beautiful creatures, big and small. Hugs!