Today is a beautiful fall day, clear blue skies, high 70s, warm sun. I decided it was time to rake the leaves in the backyard. We have a big, beautiful black walnut tree back there. It has lovely, feathery leaves, and when we fly over our neighborhood, I think it is the biggest tree on our block.
Every fall, it drops its leaves, its leaf rachises, and its fruit. The fruit is about 1.5-2 inches in diameter, with a green skin, and they drop with a bang onto the roof of our garage.
This year, the neigborhood squirrels seem to have been especially active. They salted away so many nuts in the planter for my dwarf orange tree that they eventually completely uprooted it, killing it. Today, when I went into our garage to get the rake and the lawn & leaf bags, I saw that the squirrels have decided to take a new tack. They have been piling up black walnut fruits onto a work surface in the garage–they have filled Dave’s old ski boots, filled some ceramic pots, and even started to place black walnuts along the groove in our ski rack.
After seven years of living here, this is the first time we’ve seen anything like this. Either our squirrels have learned a new skill, have forgotten what they know about burying nuts, or are preparing for a very long winter.