Autumn Azalea And Wooly Bears

November 9, 2009

This weekend I noticed that not only is the camellia bush hanging in there and blooming, but the Autumn Azalea bushes in the same flower bed have decided to have a last hurrah and throw out a few blooms.  I guess they decided to live up to their name, since they are from the Encore® Azalea Collection.

This first one is an Autumn Debutante Azalea.

 Autumn Debutante Azaela

It’s a light pink, whereas the other one, Autumn Sangria Azalea, is a hot pink.

Autumn Sangria Azaela

Having checked those out, Toby and I decided to go for a walk in the woods.  We passed The Farmer in the bottom pasture.

The Farmer burning sacks and boxes.

He was busy burning old feed sacks and boxes.  I don’t know how we seem to accumulate so many boxes, but there always seem to be a bunch around here.

There was a nice bright yellow leaf caught in the weeds.

Yellow Leaf

Some day I need to figure out what kind of tree has that leaf.  We have a lot of them around here, whatever they are.

Right beside the path going into the woods there is an old tree that’s been stuck by lightning.  At the base of the tree some fungus balls were growing.

Balls Of Fungus

I haven’t seen any quite like them before.  There’s nothing in the picture to give you a perspective, but they’re all about 1 inch across or less.

Of course we can’t go back in the woods without taking a stroll along the creek.  It’s got lot of leaves floating on it.

Creek covered with leaves.

They especially collect along the sides, or around obstacles like this fallen tree.

I don’t know about other American Working Farmcollies, but our Toby LOVES water.  The highlight of a run in the woods is to splash across the creek and back at least once.

Toby, American Working Farmcollie, crossing creek.

Given the opportunity, it’s more like 2 or 3 or … more times.

On our way back to the house, I stopped and turned over one of the salt bins.  This is the same one I found a black widow spider under earlier this summer.  Thankfully, this time it was a more innocuous discovery.

Wooly worm, Wooly Bear, or Banded Woolly Bear, your pick!

Whether you call it a wooly bear, wooly worm, or more properly, the banded woolly bear, we find a lot of them around here.  They hatch late in the summer or fall, and overwinter in this caterpillar form.  What’s cool is that the little wooly worms survive freezing by producing a cryoprotectant in their body.  How about that, this cool little woolly bear produces its own antifreeze!

Next spring, the little wooly worm will eat and eat, snarfing down all the grass and weeds it can.  Then it pupates, and the fuzzy little wooly bear turns into the Isabella tiger moth:

Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella)

Of course, while it’s still a fuzzy little wooly bear, you’re supposed to be able to use the banded woolly bear to predict what kind of winter is on the way.  Supposedly, the thinner the brownish red bands, the harsher the winter will be.  So if the wooly worm is mostly brownish red in the middle, winter will be mild.

Considering how wide the brownish red band was on the wooly bear I found, looks like if the folklore is correct, we ought to have a mild winter!

Leave a Comment: