Sunday, November 05, 2006

Change of Season

The barn is clean, the chicken house is clean, half the garden is cleaned up and spread with manure for a headstart next spring. I've fed the bees and spread more than half the mulch that was delivered last month. Most of the fruit trees and shrubs are protected from deer browsing. One and a half cords of wood are in the shed (another cord to go.) Jelly and jam are in the cellar and carrots and onions are stored.

Still I'm absolutely nowhere compared to this red squirrel. He's intent on filling up the maple sugar house with black walnuts. He's covered the woodpile, filled every stray concrete block and syrup bucket.

He's run out of nooks and crannies and taken to simply piling them up wherever he can.

I particularly like this batch on the roof. What made him think that would work?

Seriously, don't ever be tempted to plant a black walnut in your yard. My yard came with them and I've adapted. But I'd never choose it.

Besides the fact that the roots exude a hormone that's toxic to many plants that you might want to include in your landscape, every season brings it's own particular black walnut mess. In the spring I'm still cleaning up the remains of the previous year's crop. In early summer the flowers drop and cover the sidewalk and the deck. In the fall, between the underfoot giant ball bearing effect and the nuts falling overhead, it's worth your life to walk through the yard. They drop their leaves practically all in one day after the first frost and the petioles, the little stems of the compound leaves, persist throughout the winter to be cleared away in the spring. And as if you weren't tired of them already, you find them germinating everywhere a squirrel stored them and didn't come back for them.

On the plus side, they are beautiful. And I have eaten the nuts and used the husks to dye wool yarn. I've been forced to cut a few and gotten some beautiful lumber from the logs (which is good 'cause they're terrible as firewood.)


LauraHinNJ said...

I think the entertainment value is a definite plus! That's the funniest thing I've seen in a while.

Anonymous said...

I agree with comment #1! Too bad our entertainment is at your expense, but you have to love that little squirrels craftiness.