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!
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,