Monday, October 11, 2010

Piney Questions

The more you learn about anything, the more uncertain you become about it, because you discover how much more there is to learn on the topic. The squirrels appear to be poking fun at my lack of knowledge. Or showing off. Or trying to teach me a thing or two. Or simply doing what they do, never-minding what I know or don't know. (I love that about wildlife---that it does its own thing for its own purposes, not caring a whit if anyone notices---a good role model for domesticated humans.)

Since my last post full of erroneous assumptions about stripped pinecone cores, the squirrels have started chewing off and dropping dozens of green-needle-clumps that look like the endmost tips of the highest pine boughs, each with several tiny perfect brand new pine cones budding along the stems. At first I thought the falling clumps were yet another result of our current drought---signs of pinetrees in stress---but my husband pointed out that they are chewed on the ends, likely the work of the squirrels again. Could be a secondary result of drought---squirrels looking for moisture---only a guess.

All of this provokes two new questions:
1. Why are squirrels chewing and dropping the pine needle clumps? I've not noticed this in previous Fall seasons.
2. How long does it take a pine cone to mature from first tiny reddish brown bud, through tightly closed green cone, eventually to dry and brown and open and fall from the tree of its own accord? Must be at least three years, since all three stages exist on the tree at once. Will research and report back.

I have at least learned, by asking an expert in the area (thanks, Anne T.), that the southern yellow pines in my backyard are of the loblolly variety. dkm


Pukeko G said...


Talking about animals, I have a badger at home wanting me to comment to you since you have done me the honour of following a person that just likes to observe. :)
Glad I read this as you have highlighted something we are all guilty of .. worrying about what other people think. Well done .. I concur 100% !! :-)>

dkm said...

Chuckle chuckle---a badger named Niki? Comments never expected but always welcome---

Amen and here's to simple observation and less worrying!

Anonymous said...

haha Pukeko G thinks he's the bees knees ever since you took an interest in him!! He has even asked me to help him with his first blog post :o)

Worrying about what people think can make your life quite unhappy. I'm always worrying.

dkm said...

His may be the first blog in history to have followers and no posts . . . quite an accomplishment . . . maybe he should preserve the mystery . . . and wage a campaign to see how many followers he can get without ever posting an entry :-)

p.s. for what it's worth, I tend toward worrying too, but have spent a lifetime trying not to---

Jane said...

Hehe - I love the above exchange!!! I agree PG - maintain the mystery :-O

And to say what I came in to say - I do like the word 'loblolly'. A very happy and playful word.

dkm said...

Yes, isn't it? and amen all around!