It's that time of year when western New Yorkers begin to wonder how bad the coming winter will be and seek telltale signs from wooly bears. Not the four-footed kind, but the ten-footed kind, wooly bear caterpillars. This method from European folklore is an amusing way to attempt to forecast the winter season.
This fuzzy guy that curls into a ball as soon as you touch him is usually divided into three colored bands that “predict” how severe the winter will be and what part of the winter will be the worst. If the brown band in the middle is large, it will be a mild winter. If the black bands on the ends are bigger, it will be a rough winter. And depending on the length of the black bands at the head or tail end of the caterpillar, either the beginning of the winter or the end will be difficult - more black being colder and snowier.
Most of the wooly bears I have seen this October have a wide brown band, but this little guy in the photo also has a wide black band at his head. So a rough start, but then milder. And if you don't like this prediction, keep looking for another wooly bear.
Just remember, regardless what the winter brings, there are cozy fireplaces on Campus to welcome you and keep the winter at bay, in the Copper Shop and the Inn.