Woolly Bear


You learn something new every day – at least one thing.

I was reading a book I am really enjoying, The Laws of Harmony by Judith Ryan Hendricks. It’s a “starting over” story and I love those, and there is a lot of New Mexico in this one. I highly recommend this novel (and I am picky).

A woolly bear is mentioned, and I had no idea what that was – so I looked it up. My Dad’s standard answer to most questions when I was a kid was “Look it up.” That ingrained a life-long learning habit which has served me well. If he were alive now, he would be amazed how the whole world is “looking it up”. He would have loved Google.

But I digress.

Of course, I have seen this caterpillar form of a species of Tiger Moth – just never knew it was called a woolly bear.

And I never knew that folklore says the length of the orange and black sections predict the severity of the upcoming Winter, because these guys are usually running around in the Fall, when people are wondering about such things. “Running around” is not to be taken lightly here either – they are fast (for a caterpillar) and can travel a mile a day!

But, if you see a group of them at once, they all have different segment lengths, so the Winter would depend on which one you believed. Not much more dependable than the Weather Channel, actually.

Then, I read about the woolly bears who live near the Artic, where summers are short. They eat all summer and freeze solid all winter for 14 years before they have stored up enough energy to build a cocoon. The emerging moth then has a lifetime of only a day or so to lay eggs for the next go around.

OMG. The patience and perseverance!

Think about that for awhile. I have been. Are we the world’s most impatient species?

Photo Credit: Organic Gardening.com

Video on the 14 Year Freeze: Discovery Channel



  1. your posts are like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get! One thing certain though, I always learn something!
    Thank you Jessica!

  2. Having grown up in NJ, we know Wooly Bears well and always used to look for the size of the stripes to see if they were accurate predictors of winter. Maybe. Arizona doesn’t have those cute “bears”.

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