I can tell fall is on its way for a number of reasons. For starters, my blog post's pink floral banner has obviously gone out of season. And so, I have replaced it with the more-appropriate one with the fall colored-leaves, above.
Additionally, the temperatures have cooled here in the northeast, and the air smells "crisp." Also, the walnut leaves in our area are beginning to turn to brilliant yellow, standing out against the yellow-brown fall leaves on the elms. Not far behind them will be the red maples (my favorite).
Another definite sign of fall are the squirrels scampering out and about in high numbers, seeking nuts to store for the winter. They are especialy drawn to our neighborhood's walnut trees. The fruit of these trees are encased in a thickened coat of yellow-green flesh. In order to get to the nuts to stow them away, the squirrels must chew away the outer casing. I find residue of these casings on the seats of my porch wicker and about the porch rug. I believe they come to the porch for the time-consuming part of this job to hide their harvest from the interference of other squirrels.
Another sign that squirrels are on my porch is the fact that they bury a surplus of encased nuts in the soil of my porch plants, probably planning to come back to harvest them at a later date. In the process of burying their treasures, they often tip over my plants, causing a terrible mess on the porch floor. Today, in fact, I had to clean up spilt soil outside my front door from a pot full of choleus which was knocked down from my plant table during their burial work.
Yesterday, when Flurry and I were on the porch, I got a kick out of watching a squirrel carrying an encased nut from the property next door to the front of my house. I first noticed the squirrel as it scampered from the neighbor's porch roof to do high-wire on the telephone cable, without one mistep nor loss of its "prey" as it made itself to a tree on the outer side of the sidewalk. Out of sight for a bit, I wondered where it had gone to. Soon though, I saw it run down the trunk of that tree, then take itself to a car parked in front of my porch.
First, it scampered up to the hood of the car and hovered near the open area at the base of the windshield. Not satisfied with that hiding spot, it then jumped to the ground and checked out areas of the bumper as possible hiding spots. Still not satisfied, and still clamping the yellow-green cargo in its mouth, it scuttled across the street and under a porch.
Obviously, it doesn't take much to keep me occupied. But, I will say it felt great to sit on the porch which had been my favorite good-weather smoking spot, and forget all about smoking for quite awhile. Diversion does work.
And. in case you wondered along with me which gender of squirrels was the appointed harvester, I unearthed the following internet entry from the New York Post of 10/4/2016: " The females care for babies, find nuts and store food away for winter, while their lesser halves do little more than leave their burrows each day to hang out."
Why am I not surprised?