Saturday, September 14, 2019

Squirrel Food

Autumn is a wonderful time for squirrels: the days get cooler and they're neither sweltering or freezing. And there's plenty of food from Nature's larder (which means some of us get a vacation). Thanks be to the squirrel gods!
Ratatoskr, emissary to the gods

An acorn and a sweet gum ball
Nibbling on a honey locust pod
Munching on acorns

Polishing off a sweet gum ball

There's a big acorn harvest this year.

Honey  Locust
The fruit of the honey locust is a long, flat legume (pod) that matures in early autumn. The young, unripe pods, with their sweet, sticky, and aromatic pulp, are edible and contain about 12-42% sugar. 

The pale green seed pods turn reddish-brown and black, when they mature.
As they ripen, the seed pods produce a strong smell. The sticky pulp inside the pods is edible.

The large deciduous hardwood tree, sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) also goes by the names redgum, sapgum, starleaf-gum and bilsted.

Up to 50 seeds can be found within each spiky ball.
They bloom with inconspicuous, yellowish-green flowers in the spring that turn to seedpods -- which are often called gumballs -- in the fall. The spiky clusters are actually balls of fruit with tiny seeds inside that birds and squirrels snack on.

By mid-fall, the balls are dead and seedless.

It's a good year for  hawthorn berries. Birds, squirrels, raccoons and rabbits like to eat fruit and seed of hawthorn.
Lots and lots of berries

A feast

Enjoying the harvest
while it lasts.

Optimal eating position  

Great for the digestion

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