Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A sure sign

We have a hickory tree in our yard. Due to an odd confluence of other trees around it, this tree has grown in a very warped, twisted way, its trunk almost horizontal to the ground as it seeks out light.

This tree is about 10 feet from my office door. In front of my office (in the distance, near the drop off to the river below) is the oak tree, the white pine, some scrub oaks, and some Dakota pines. I can't see the hickory because my line of sight in that direction is blocked by a bookcase. But if I step back from my desk, I see it.

BIG nuts grow on that tree all spring & summer. They're about the size of my fist and they're fat, yellow and look heavy and swollen. Because the tree is almost horizontal to the ground (see above), they're at eye-height for me. So whenever I walk through the arbor or go out in the yard, I'm face-to-face with this globules.

A sure sign of autumn is when I'm sitting at my desk and I see the squirrels in the back yard. They start at the Dakota pine on my left, work their way through the white pine (going WAAAAYYYY high) so they can jump to the oak, scamper along those branches, jump to the scrub oak below, then go through the cedars to get to the hickory. They grab a nut (only one: those suckers are BIG), then they retrace their steps.

I'll be sitting at my desk and all of a sudden I see this chain gang of squirrels, toting those nuts through the treetops back to the old ironwood tree where they store them. That ironwood is ancient, rotted, and part of it fell on my house a few years ago (that's how I know it's rotted and that's how I know they store food there -- a TON of nuts fell out). Busy squirrels, scampering through treetops, never dropping a hickory. Oh, no, they never drop a hickory. They do, however, forget where they bury their acorns, thus keeping me busy all spring digging up volunteer oak trees. But that's a story for another day.

When all the nuts are gone from the tree, it's time to consider putting the pond to bed for the winter, cutting back some herbs for drying, and evaluating what needs to be weeded out or kept in the garden. I'll start to look through my winter sweaters and sweatshirts, put away my pastel colored tops and check the fireplace for winter operation. I know it's just a matter of weeks before those things will be put to use. The squirrels told me so....

1 comment:

Donna Caubarreaux said...

That squirrel parade looks like it might be fun to watch. We have our own little fellows and they can almost circle the property without hitting the ground.

While we don't have hickory nuts, we do have pecans, so they have a tasty treat whenever they need it.

That and the feeders I put up! LOL