Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Monday, December 13, 2010

Squirrel Cache

We have a large western red cedar (Thuja plicata) tree out by itself in our yard.  If you are not from British Columbia, then you may not know that western red cedar is also the provincial tree of BC.  On the coast of BC and in a few other locations in the interior of the province,  the western red cedars are an abundant and incredible tree for the quality of the lumber they produce and the variety of products First Nations used them tree for, from the bark for clothing to the wood for carving and houses.

In our yard, a red squirrel has claimed our tree the last few years.  I`m sure he or she sees it as their own exclusive domain.  This summer the tree produced a massive cone crop - whether it was due to happen or was influenced by the near drought conditions we had, the tree was laden with the small 1 cm cones.  Starting in late August the squirrel began the harvest and at first we thought it was natural dropping of the tips of the branches with cones, but then every day the carpet of chewed off tips started to accumulate on the ground.  One day I went to look for something under the tree.   I keep a few boards standing up against the trunk because the tree provides so much weather protection that even in a fall rain, you can put something up against the trunk and it stays relatively dry.   I realized that the tips of the branches which he had been harvesting and dropping on the ground had been gradually picked up and were now piled against the base of the tree in the large flutes the trunk creates.  Somehow he had accomplished all this without raising the ire of our Lab/Chesapeake cross dog that lays in her dog house 20 metres away and occasionally gets the energy to go over and chase the squirrel back up the tree.

Now there is a  nice winter food supply that he can come down whenever he wants and he must be well aware that no matter how much snow we get the base of this 40 metre tall tree will never be under any snow.  Grizzly

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