It's about this time of year that I post the question for my friends, "What do your woolly worms look like?" No, I'm not a weirdo...okay, well yeah, I am. But not in regards to this. I listen intently as my friends and family members tell me what those fuzzy little worms are looking like year to year. Not because I'm just insanely interested in insects. These guys are little weather men!
Long before there was a meteorologist to watch on the morning news, people learned that you could look to nature for certain signals for things to come in the weather. For instance, we've all heard the old adage "Red skies in morning: sailors take warning. Red skies at night: sailors delight." We know that we can actually look at the clouds and know by the color whether or not a storm is coming that day. There are many more of these interesting little indicators. If a cow lays down in the field it will soon rain. If it rains and the sun is shining it will more than likely rain again at the same time tomorrow (although I've noticed this one isn't always reliable). And on and on.
The woolly worms are those fuzzy little caterpillars that are usually made up of orange-ish brown and black. You can look at the woolly worm to see what the winter will be like. I have found that this is usually pretty accurate. You read a woolly worm from head to tail (and yes, it's difficult to know which end is the head. I like to just give it a minute to start inching away). Brown means a mild winter. Black means a harsh winter, although this can mean bitter cold and not necessarily snow.
My woolly worm last fall looked like this:
Reading this worm, it had a strip of black at the beginning, the middle had a larger strip of brown and the very tail end is black. That meant that the beginning would be harsh, a longer stretch of mild would be experienced through the middle of the season followed by a short snap of harsh at the end of winter.
I've noticed that the woolly worms are usually different for each area, so I would even venture to say that you should read the woolly worm in your own area to be sure. Just as the weather varies from area to area, you can't read one woolly worm for the entire nation. I've heard other options of how to read a woolly worm also, so I don't know which is the most accurate.
Is this just an old wives tale? Is it all coincidental? Who knows really, but I do know that long before men with technology, our ancestors looked to nature to be able to prepare themselves. If these methods didn't hold at least some authenticity, then I doubt they would have paid much attention. And that's good enough for me.
How are your woolly worms looking??