The Discerning Squirrels of Deer Lane

“THE COMING ACORN FEAST”

by OPOVV, ©2019

Photo: klimkin at Pixabay

(Dec. 6, 2019) — This is the time when leaves are raked into the culvert that acts as a natural leaf-burner, and along with the leaves are acorns as large as your big toe. Notwithstanding the slick commercials about the ease of gathering leaves off the grass, there has yet to be a contraption that collects acorns without damaging the lawn. Where the acorns are as thick as to walk on them is akin to walking on marbles on cement, old-fashioned raking is required under the tall oaks.

One need not concentrate when raking; the only requirement is to extend the rake until it hits the ground, pull back whatever the rake caught; repeat. Once in a while the tines must be cleaned, but that becomes more of a looked-forward-to distraction than an annoyance. Gives one a chance to pretend playing county employee and lean on the rake, just as you see others lean on shovels.

There are certain rules by which to abide that one learns through astute observation or from mistakes, such as don’t leave piles of leaves for ‘some other time’ because, if you do, the likelihood of it raining for the next seven days will have just jumped up exponentially, regardless of what the weather station may be reporting.

Want to have a discussion about the wind? Find a neighbor raking and you’ll get an in-depth report on how often the wind changes direction at different speeds; temperature changes; bird chirpings and, in my case, squirrel sightings. Now seeing squirrels isn’t a happening, but when you last looked up where there was one, there are now ten. Reminds one of the movie, The Birds,’ but instead of birds, it’s squirrels.

But I fear not because I know these squirrels are gathering for the coming acorn feast. The squirrels know that after the culvert is full and with the setting sun, the wind will die, then the big burn begins. It’ll flame for an hour and then it’ll turn to glowing embers until the rooster crows, about an hour or so before dawn.

Photo:  Pixabay

And around ten in the morning, after the cooked acorns are cool enough to handle, it’s the “Arrival of the Squirrels,” squirreling from the treetops and stop-go-stop-go action on the ground. They come by ones and twos, fours and eights, to feast on gourmet acorns. They are very picky, squirrels are, and feast only on the perfectly-broiled/baked nuts that have turned, believe it or not, chestnut brown.

So that’s it: from raking to witnessing one of nature’s wonders: gourmand squirrels’ Thanksgiving feast.

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker” (2:39)

OPOVV

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