Monthly Archives: October 2013

Climate Change Denial Woolly Worm

Well. It seems that our yard has become a hotbed of woolly worm climate protestors.

Bob found this guy when he went out to walk the dog the other day. By the time I got outside with the camera, he’d started to curl up:

Leopard moth caterpillar (Hypercompe scribonia)

Leopard moth caterpillar (Hypercompe scribonia)

He looks exactly like a regular woolly worm, but he has no brown segments. This, according to the traditional method of woolly worm winter weather prediction, means a really bad winter. But wait. Once he curled up completely, we could see that he had red stripes hidden in his fur:

Leopard moth caterpillar (Hypercompe scribonia)

Leopard moth caterpillar (Hypercompe scribonia)

So, clearly, he is an impostor, a Hypercompe scribonia, and not a Pyrrharctia isabella, and so cannot be relied upon for an accurate winter weather prediction.

(Whew!)

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Climate Activist Woolly Worm

Woolly Worm (Pyrrharctia isabella) with one black segment

Woolly Worm (Pyrrharctia isabella) with one black segment

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the black and brown stripes on the woolly worm are traditional indicators of the coming winter weather: the more brown, the milder the winter. This woolly worm is predicting a very mild winter. Or maybe he is a climate activist.

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A Little Fall Color on the Blue Ridge Parkway

We drove a few miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway this afternoon, between mileposts 423 and 443, and it’s clear that Mother Nature has her paintbox out and has begun her annual masterpiece.

Blue Ridge Parkway - Early Fall Colors

Blue Ridge Parkway – Early Fall Colors

There’s still a lot of green, but now it’s splashed with briliant bursts yellow, gold and red.

Fall Color on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Fall Color on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The barrier gates at the parkway access point we used (NC 215 at Beech Gap) are still open; only the visitor information stops are closed. But the views are as gorgeous as ever and who needs the brochures anyway?

Fall Color on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Fall Color on the Blue Ridge Parkway

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Winter Weather Prediction

With the National Weather Service closed, we can still get an accurate prediction of the 2014-2014 winter weather using traditional methods:

Woolly Worm Caterpillar (Pyrrharctia isabella)

Woolly Worm Caterpillar (Pyrrharctia isabella)

This woolly worm is telling us that the coming winter will be a very mild one. Notice how wide the brown stripe is:

Woolly Worm Caterpillar (Pyrrharctia isabella)

Woolly Worm Caterpillar (Pyrrharctia isabella)

The more brown, the milder the winter. This is one of the widest brown stripes I’ve seen. Note that the woolly worm can predict only for his local area. This particular woolly worm was observed at approximately 35° 8’23.91″N 82°49’7.14″W, so if you are not close to this location, you will need to find your own woolly worm.

The 36th Annual Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, North Carolina, will be held this year on the 19th and 20th of October. Go here for more information.

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Summer is Officially Over

The temperatures at night are dipping below 50°, so it’s a little too cold for the iguanas in their outdoor pens – even with their heaters. Time to come indoors. The move usually freaks them out a bit but, for some reason, they were both pretty calm about it this year. Maybe because we picked a cold, rainy day for the move.

They spend most of their time on the window seat in the dining room where we have south-facing windows with lots of sunshine, but they will occasionally have a stroll to the bathroom and the more rigorous excercise of climbing anything they can get their claws into – Odie more so than Penny who is quite a bit older and less active.

Odie poised for a 2-foot leap to the drapes

Odie poised for a 2-foot leap to the drapes

Penny and Bob enjoy watching a movie

Penny and Bob enjoy watching a movie

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