Quiet times ahead…

After yesterday’s hawk sighting, it seems time to suspend the blog for the winter. We squirrels still need to go out to eat, but cold, coupled with the bare branches exposing us, means we want to spend more time curled up!

It’s been six years now that Hickory and I started this practice. A winter gives us the break we need to want to resume blogging again. We hope that will be for the Blogging A to Z Challenge in April. (What’s that? They have a website, too: a-to-zchallenge.com)

However, as we said last year, a squirrel never knows what winter may bring.

Our archives are 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

Hawk alert!

We squirrels spotted this hawk’s shadow flying in and we took cover!

This beast searched the area, head swiveling about as he sat as still as he could to not give himself away.

We think it’s an immature Cooper’s Hawk, but honestly, squirrels don’t stick around to clarify these things!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

We squirrels are having too lazy a day inside our warm dreys, but a few plants are still greening our landscape, collecting the sun’s rays when they can.

Recognize this one? If you do, give us a guess in our comments. We’l be back later to check your answers!

~~~

These little cuties greening up our winter landscape are polypody ferns, Polypodium sp.

Like most ferns, these grow in the shade and partial shade, but polypody ferns sprout in cracks between rocks, or on old stumps or logs. They prefer a rich soil and steady moisture found along streams and rivers.

Color on a gray winter’s day

We squirrels don’t know about you humans, but coming upon these witch hazel blossoms in the winter really brightens our day!

This native shrub, Hamamelis virginiana, blooms at the oddest times. Anytime from October–thus the reference to witches!–to March. And sometimes twice! All the better to enjoy!

Along with this cheer, we must announce that we’ll be suspending the blog this week for our winter hiatus. Look for one last post, then we’ll see you in the spring!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Have you ever seen such a stickery sticker stem?

We squirrel do NOT climb this one! What is it?

Give us your guesses in the comments, and we’ll check back later to confirm!

~~~

Heh! A tougher than normal mystery. Perhaps we should take a step back…

 

Do you recognize this plant? Teasels–numerous members of the Dipsacus family–have prickly stems and leaves in common. We aren’t sure exactly which one this is, but apparently they are all introduced to North America. These prickly seed heads were introduced and grown for use in the textile industry where they were used to raise the nap on fabric. Because the teasel break and need to be replaced often, industries eventually replaced them with metal cards. In the meantime, the teasel plants spread.

And spread. They tend to form tight groups and push out other plants, so have been labelled invasive.

The flowers bloom with multiple blossoms to attract bees and, afterward, the full seed heads lure in goldfinches. So teasel isn’t that a bad of plant to keep around!

Thankful Thirsty Thursday

Ol’ Wally here today. Seems there are some human celebrations going on inside your warm burrows, while outside…

Look who is back on the pond!

Hooded Mergansers enjoying a warmer location than their Canadian summer lakes now offer.

Ol’ Wally hopes you humans will get outside and enjoy a bit of nature with your holiday celebrations!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ol’ Wally, Nutmeg, Hickory and Miz Flora

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

We’re all curling up against the cold…

but what is this?

I’ll check back for your guesses in the comments!

~~~

It doesn’t actually take low temperatures for Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota, to curl up. As soon as the seeds are developed, the plant dries up.

The lacy umbels of flowers pull into the center and form what some humans call ‘bird’s nest’.

It’s very easy to see why! Look carefully and you can see the eggs–the tiny brown seeds of the Queen Anne’s Lace.