Thirsty Thursday

Don’t know if you humans got the notice, but Nutmeg has decided the end of the month we will close the blog down for the winter. Ol’ Wally here decided to start taking his break a little early. After all, how much longer will we have these warm fall days? They make it pretty easy for this old squirrel to take a ramble across the golf course.

Pond in fall

 

Beautiful view.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Today we have a tree mystery.

Mystery #108

Do you recognize it? Give me a guess and I’ll check in later with your answer.

~~~

No guesses? Ahem! I, Hickory Squirrel take this as a bit of an insult since the tree is in part named for me. Or was it the other way around?

The bark is also part of the name–Shagbark Hickory, Carya ovata. It’s cool bark, a little hard to climb. But that’s only on the mature trees. The young ones have a smooth gray bark, so could be camouflaging themselves in your woods! The way to find out is the nuts.

Shagbark Hickory Nuts

This tree had plenty. The shells are like fat balls that split into four parts and leave four ribs on the hickory nut inside. The nut is roundish, not oblong.

Shagback Hickory Nut

And they are delicious! Of course since I am named for them, I can’t say enough about hickory trees!

But even if it’s not fall harvest, the Shagbark Hickory is a beautiful thing to climb.

Shagbark Hickory Tree

Hope your fall is treating you as well as mine is!

Thirsty Thursday

Frog Bird bath

This here is a pretty fancy bird bath. Ol’ Wally isn’t too sure how many frogs can make a leap that high to get into it, but it’s a good reminder. This time of year the animals that will be out and about this winter are scoping out the places they will get food and water.

If you humans think you are going to put out feeders for the winter, or keep a nice supply of unfrozen water–either by heating it or putting out crest everyday–then NOW is the time to set these up. Once winter hits and we are freezing our little paws off going out and digging those acorns from the frozen ground, we do not have the energy to waste going around searching for other food and water sources. Neither do the birds. You humans may not think we are smart enough to prepare, but I’ll let you in on a secret: most wildlife have a dozen or more known sources they will return to again and again. In the harshest weather, they go to a few most likely spots to refuel.

Let us make your yard one of them!

Fine, fine…Nutmeg is making me get off my high stump… When you get to be as old as this old squirrel, there’s no time for fancy talk.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

This may not be a difficult mystery for some of you, but it’s an important one.

Mystery #107

What is this plant with the attractive fall foliage?

~~~

So we had a few readers who recognize this as Poison Ivy. See the leaves of three? Gorgeous color, isn’t it? But the oil that causes rashes still remains, in the leaves, in the stems, the berries and even the roots. It’s not a good idea to touch Poison Ivy in any form, in any season!

Squirrel Nest Boxes

A conversation with a reader on Thursday–in the comments section if you are interested–led to my promising to post a squirrel nest box. Squirrels would prefer to den or nest in a hollow in an old tree. However, there aren’t many of those around in suburban neighborhoods. We make leaf nests instead, but would happily fill a human-made nest box with leaves instead, especially as winter approaches!

Squirrel Nest Box

These boxes are larger than a bird box and it’s easier for us to get in and out of them if the hole is placed next to the tree trunk.

Nest box

And here is one that was well used!

Gray Squirrel kits

You humans could buy a box, or build your own. Here is one link to plans. Thanks for helping out us squirrels!