They’re falling!

“The acorns are falling!” Hickory leaps back and forth under the huge Chestnut Oaks in our neighborhood. “This will make it so much easier to collect and bury them! And snack on.”

“Ugh, they’re green,” I tell him. “These are only good for burying.”

“Oh.” His tail droops.

“Well, look on the bright side. The humans have done something funny to the grass, so we won’t need to dig holes. Just push them in.”

Now both our tails are flicking as we get to work.

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S is for Squirrels!

Yes, folks, squirrels.

And everything we love–

Big oak trees,

Acorns,

Leaf nests,

Birdfeeders,

Sunning on your decks

Running on the golf course.

This is our squirrel world and we love it.

 You see, today is Earth Day.

We hope you love your world, too. Maybe you’ll take care of it for all of us?

Happy Earth Day!

 

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Another shot of our changing leaves.

Mystery #171

dsc04358

Any guesses for what they are?

I’ll be back later to check your answers!

~~~

Isn’t that a gorgeous tree! It’s an oak, and common, maybe more so than you humans realize.

Acorn of the Chestnut Oak

Chestnut Oak, Quercus prinus, is easily identified by its large rounded teeth along the margins of the leaves and growing in the higher, drier soils. The acorns are bigger than most oaks, and oval in shape.

And speaking of acorns… We squirrels are having a plentiful year, but as always, it’s a tiring chore preparing for winter. A regular reader asked if we’d be taking our winter hiatus again, and the answer is yes. We have some catching up to do. Nutmeg and I need to pick when, but it’ll be soon.

Get outside while the weather is good, folks!

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Back with your mystery this week. Here’s a thing Nutmeg and I saw a few weeks ago…had to wait to for it to finish up before I could post for you good folks.

Mystery #151

Know what it is? Give us a guess in the comments!

~~~

Sorry! I had an unexpected delay, and I see so many of you checked in that I am embarrassed. No guesses, but no surprise because we also didn’t know what it was and had to check back as the tree grew its leaves out… (that was a hint!)

Willow Oak leaf

This photo is from early spring, the emerging leaves of a Willow Oak tree! Willow Oak, Quercus phellos, is a large native tree growing to 120 feet in the eastern and central U.S. As the name suggests, the leaves are more like those on a willow tree–and certainly skinny as they unfurl.

 

Willow Oak acorns

They have no teeth or lobes and turn yellow to yellow-tan in the fall. We squirrels love the acorns, but when the trees are deep in the woods–usually along marshes–we have to share with Wild Turkey, Wood Ducks, Red-headed Woodpeckers, deer and tore mammals like raccoons, and opossums and a host of birds. The Fairfax County Park Authority has a long list on their Willow Oak page.

It was fun to see this newly planted tree in our suburban neighborhood.

WIllow Oak tree

How about considering this species for your yard? You’d make a lot of squirrels happy! And maybe some turkeys, woodpeckers, bobwhite…

Q is for Quercus

Q can be a difficult letter to find in nature. Unless you are a squirrel.

Q

Quercus is the genus name for the Oak tree family. We squirrels can’t imagine life without them. Every day of the year.

White Oak tree

White Oak

Black Oak

Black Oak

fallen Chestnut Oak leaves

Chestnut Oak leaves

Willow Oak acorns

Willow Oak acorns

Pin Oak Branches 2

Pin Oak

Eastern Gray Squirrel in Black Oak Tree

Eastern Gray Squirrel in Black Oak

White Oak

White Oak catkins

Oak trees

Oaks in spring.

Haven’t seen enough oaks? Here’s what we had to say about our favorite Quercus on Q day in 2014!

Enjoy!

A is for Acorns on Another Awesome April with the Blogging From A to Z Challenge!

We squirrels at The Squirrel Nutwork love our A to Z Challenge. This year marks our 5th in the challenge and the start of our 5th year blogging. We have a small but faithful following of mostly–we think–human readers. Our 200th follower just joined us yesterday! Welcome BloominBootiful! She describes her blog as ‘A girl and her garden’ which is a great match for us, ‘connecting to nature in suburban D. C.’

Yes, we write about nature and science and people and how we all get along. Thus, our A to Z topics are all about nature, too. What we find interesting in our little corner of Northern Virginia.

A

Every year we start our April Blogging Challenge with the same letter, ‘A’ and the same item, Acorns.

Black Oak Acorns

Acorns, like these Black Oak acorns, are very important to squirrels around the world, because we eat them. A lot of them! People sometimes prepare acorns and eat them, too. We are not advising you humans try this unless you look up how to prepare the acorns just right for you, so just trust us, acorns are a healthy food for squirrels.gathering acorns

If you look back to our April 1, 2012 post on A is for Acorns we had a lot to say about acorns and oak trees. Just click on over so we don’t need to repeat it.

Welcome to another season with four squirrels, and thank you for joining us!

Thirsty Thursday

It rained! For more than one day, too!

Raindrops in spider web

Spiderwebs cauth with raindrops

We at The Squirrel Nutwork are excited, but not nearly as excited as this chipmunk in our neighborhood.

Eastern Chipmunk

The rain knocked leaves and ripe acorns from this Pin Oak, making them easy gathering for a fellow mammal who isn’t as keen on climbing as we are.

Pin Oak after rain

But when it’s easy pickings, we’ll grab some of those acorns, too!

Eastern Gray Squirrel gathering acorns

And happy first of October! (Where has the year gone?)