One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Have you ever seen leaves this pretty?

Know what it is?

I’ll check in with your comments later for guesses but below is a tiny hint if you like…

Most plants we squirrels feature on The Squirrel Nutwork are native. This one is not.

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Need another hint? The bark peels into speckles…

This patchy bark belongs to the kousa dogwood, Cornus kousa, a native of East Asia.

Its leaves are very similar in shape to our native flowering dogwood, but the colors tend more to red and yellow than the natives purple tones, as seen below:

The amount of yellow and red varies intriguingly vary from tree to tree. Nutmeg and I will have to make a run-around to see if this is due to the amount of shading, or if the red advances as the season progresses.

Enjoy the show of these small trees!

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Thirsty Thursday

Folks, it’s been dry this fall. But this old squirrel, with his comfortable suburban life knowing which houses have a birdbath or backyard pond the humans keep filled, had no idea the local natural waterways were faring this poorly.

Yikes, that is low for our local pond.

We haven’t had a freeze–ha, far from it!–so the place was still abuzz with insects, like this male Autumn Meadowhawk.

Despite finding the pond in less than its best state, I’m happy I took the outing while our weather is balmy.

Just Relaxing

Fall is a very busy season for us squirrels.

Nutmeg in a tree

Sometimes it’s nice to just relax, and this is one of my favorite trees to do just that. Right now I have the extra treat of fall-blooming azaleas to look at while I rest. How weird is that? Or, as Miz Flora said, ‘What will those humans think of next to do to some poor plant?”

Leaves Down

Here in northern Virginia most of the leaves are off the trees. Every now and then Hickory and I see a tree holding its leaves, but it’s usually one like this oak that is in a very open area, so it could continue to make its sugars longer.

Oak

For us leaping thorough the woods, the branches are bare.

Oak

And for you humans, leaping through your yards, the lawn is also bare.

bagged leaves

Miz Flora grumbles rather loudly about the leaves being carried off this way. “Where do they go,” she asked. “Don’t those humans know the plants need nutrients put back in the soil? That’s what composting leaves do.”

“They buy mulch for that,” I told her.

“But is it as good?”

If she doesn’t know, I certainly don’t.

Home again with the blog

Wow, I’m in awe of Coney’s neighborhood, but Hickory reminded me of how tough a life it must be for our friend the Pine Squirrel with his Colorado temperatures dipping into the 30s when we’re keeping to the 40s here in Virginia. My winter coat is coming in, but each day I add leaves to my leaf nest to insulate more and more. The trees near my nest are preparing, so we have do, too!

Thank you again, Coney, for joining us. We hope to hear from you again, weather permitting.

Cooler Weather Upon Us

I can’t help but feel that my fur is behind on filling in. A few days ago a storm blew through our area of Virginia and the temperatures have dropped. Mornings are cool and misty. The air has a certain scent to it. Suddenly every squirrel in our neighborhood has his nose to the ground. The equinox may be another eleven days away, but fall is here.