My furry, peanut-eating pals at the Park have muddy paws these days. That’s because they have been digging holes fast and furiously to bury their peanuts ever since we experienced a chilly spell that lasted about ten days the tail end of August. It was right around that time we humans shivered (without even having the A/C cranked up) and the weather folks made their initial predictions about our upcoming La Niña Winter i.e. lots of precipitation, maybe rain … maybe snow. Ugh.
And, even though it was the 5th hottest Summer on record for Michigan, that chilly week or so set off a roller coaster ride of hot and cold temps ever since. The weather’s been downright weird. “Blame it on climate change” the learned experts say. So, stats, charts and jet streams tell us a rough Winter is in store, but I could have told you that because that same week in August, the squirrels began planning ahead too. I’d toss down some peanuts and before a single one was enjoyed, off each one of my furry pals went to bury some of this cache. I remarked on it to Arnie, the other walker at the Park who feeds the squirrels and he noticed it too.
This time of year, now that berries, pine nuts and walnuts have either been savored or buried by my furry friends, they now rely on me more than ever for food. Even the Blue Jays are a little needier than usual, scamming as many peanuts as they can get away with from the squirrels.
But sometimes the squirrels and Jays call a truce and even “break bread” together as that expression goes and you will see below.
Meanwhile, I heard these comments at the Park recently:
“Is that peanuts I smell? Yay, the Peanut Lady’s here!”
“We were starving – what took you so long to get here Linda?”
“Yes I’ll pose any way for peanuts – what do you think is my best side?”
“We take as many peanuts as we can fit in our mouths and paws ‘cuz we don’t have big cheeks like our cousins the chipmunks after all! Watch us carry off one, two, three – maybe even four nuts at a time – quite a feat, don’t you think?”
“The Blue Jays are mean and sneaky! They stake us out …
… then swoop and swipe!”
“Linda says we have to share our treats, so we guess we’re okay with splitting our peanuts with the Jays, as long as they don’t steal too many!”
“There will be lean times when it snows or is icy and Linda can’t visit us … that’s why we bury some of our peanuts closer. After all, who can dig through a foot of icy snow to retrieve one lousy peanut? So, we’ve taken to hiding them near the path to find them easier. Linda says it is a dumb idea. What do YOU think?”
“Soon we will all look like little Butterballs from peanuts and the extra layer of fat and heavier fur we’ll get for Winter. Hee hee … we’ll look nearly as fat as you humans do with your Quarantine 15 … only cuter.”