Ready for a quiet winter? We are!

Dear Readers,

You know how busy our suburban lives are. With all the things we squirrels do, it’s harder every year to collect the acorns we need for winter.

A few years ago–actually, it’s been five!–Hickory and I decided to close down the blog. Then we started blogging again, and it came to pass over the next years that closing the blog for the winter gave us the break we needed. A squirrel never knows what winter may bring, however, we do plan to resume the blog, likely for the Blogging A to Z Challenge in April. (What’s that? They have a website, too: a-to-zchallenge.com)

Our archives are still open. Using our sidebar menus, you can look up past posts in categories. For example, if you like to test your nature skills in our Sunday mysteries, search the title “What is it?”. Or use the search bar–labeled ‘Trying to find those nuts we’ve buried?–to hunt for your favorite plants, wildlife or other nature topics. We’re actually pretty good at labelling stuff for you to dig around.

Until spring, have a safe, warm and productive winter!

Your friends at The Squirrel Nutwork.

Nutmeg, Hickory, Ol’ Wally and Miz Flora

Motionless Monday

Hey there!

Isn’t this theist wildlife statue ever?

We spotted him last year and went looking again. He’s in a new spot–obviously the humans here have a sense of humor!

This will be my last Motionless Monday post until spring! Have a great winter and stay warm! Hickory

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Here’s a common sight in nature–do you know what it is?

I”l check the comments for your guesses and return later with the answer. By the way, Nutmeg wants to put the blog on hiatus for the winter, which means we’ll soon stop our regular posts. You can always access our archives!

~~~

It’s definitely an oak leaf, which many of you many have realized…and we had a correct guess today! We have so many different oaks in the neighborhood–white, pin, black, willow and chestnut! Because they blow all round, we can’t always identify the fallen leaves by the closest tree, which is the case with this leaf that was found beneath a chestnut oak.

Only the pin and the black oak have the deep lobes with pointy tips between, and the Pin Oaks have the deeper lobes of the two.

Here are black oak leaves for comparison:

But really, any of the oak species are great trees to us squirrels!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Here’s a tricky one–can you actually see the thing we’re asking you to identify?

I’ll be back to check your guesses later!

~~~

That was decidedly hard to see. How about this?

This little critter camouflages really well!

Its a walking stick–the kind that’s an insect. And look at the size of him! Compare him to the oak and maple leaves–about 4.5 inches long. It’s so cool that the body is speckled like tree bark and the undersides of the flat legs are orange. Maybe that’s to make it look like stems coming from a twig, or to break up the look of a body. The color perfectly matched some Virginia Pine needles the walking stick was walking over.

Walking sticks or stick-bugs are members of the insect order Phasmatodea, which includes many different species. We aren’t sure which this is, but we squirrels do see them often in the treetops where they feed on leaves. In fact, we understand that in the warmer climates of the American south, walking sticks can endanger trees by defoliating them if the insects overpopulate.

This one might have fallen with the leaves, or, if it’s a she, it may have actually descended on purpose to lay her eggs in the soil. They usually only live one season, and appear large in the autumn just like wolf spiders and praying mantids because they have had all summer to grow.