29 September 2007


It won't be October for another day or so but, to squirrels, it might as well be Christmas - and every oak tree (every nut-bearing tree, for that matter) might as well be Santa Claus. Many of the deciduous trees are fat and happy with acorns and are shrugging them off onto the ground in much the same way that, in the eyes of believing children, the seasonal jolly elf of winter sheds presents.

Of course, we don't trip over Santa's presents (real or fictional). At least not usually. But suburban trees, or even trees on hiking trails, are another matter. We can go rocking and rolling with these squirrel appetizers underfoot, breaking our backs or at least our spirits as the little gray beings are chittering, in superiority, overhead.

Our own property doesn't have nut-bearing trees, sorry to say. We are blessed only with maples and the polynoses of summertime. Sometime soon I hope to add at least one or two nut-bearing trees but whether they bear nuts in my lifetime is an issue open to debate.

Knowing how I feel about squirrels, friends often invite me to their yard to gather acorns there or, better still, they go out and gather up the acorns themselves to bring to me. Do I appreciate this? Well, who wouldn't? But do I recommend it?

Actually, no. That would be like going to your neighbor's house and stealing their supper right out from under their noses so you could put food on the table in your own home. (Assuming you even liked your neighbor's cooking.)

Folks who bring me a dozen or even two dozen acorns won't be tried and found guilty in the Court of Rodentian Justice, of course. No narcotics cop in his or her right mind would even charge someone for dealing in a controlled substance like acorns (of course they're a controlled substance! They're available only during a limited time each year!)

But I always ask people to keep the acorns on their own property, for the sake of their own squirrels - and if the acorns end up on their walkways, driveways, or somehow pose a hazard, well, gather them up and toss them on the grass in back of the house, where the same squirrels will likely find them anyway.

Thus the squirrel and acorn overload motto: Safety first, satiety second.