With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart: Stocking the Cache

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stocking the Cache

Do you have some of these busy little creatures? My yard is full of evidence of their tireless labor to ensure provisions for the coming winter months.
Wikipedia Photo
Wikipedia Photo

The Eastern Gray Squirrel is a scatter-hoarder; it hoards food in numerous small caches for later recovery. Some caches are quite temporary, especially those made near the site of a sudden abundance of food which can be retrieved within hours or days for re-burial in a more secure site. Others are more permanent and are not retrieved until months later. It has been estimated that each squirrel makes several thousand caches each season. The squirrels have very accurate spatial memory for the locations of these caches, and use distant and nearby landmarks to retrieve them. Smell is used once the squirrel is within a few centimeters of the cache. It is one of very few mammalian species that can descend a tree face-first. It performs this feat by means of the backward-pointing claws, one each, on its hindpaws. (from Wikipedia)

We have a source of what must be a favorite food of our
Eastern Gray Squirrels... Hickory Trees.
I can barely mow the back yard without
tripping on all of the nuts on the ground.
And watch out below as the squirrels scamper from tree limb to tree limb
tossing them down with a loud thud.
Maybe because of all the rain we had this year, but there is an abundance
of large hickory nuts everywhere.
I actually like this tree ~ it grows fast and has beautiful large
almond shape leaves. It grows very strait and tall
provides cooling shade in the summer.
Above Photo from top left to right:
  • Buried in a window box of impatiens
  • Buried in a patio planter
  • opened on a back yard bench
  • Hickory Tree reaching upward
  • Close-up of nut
  • hickory nuts
  • an opened shell
  • at the base of a tree
  • right on the patio steps

More evidence of our squirrels constant work are lots of Hickory Trees sprouting up in unexpected places
The Hickory Tree is a tree prized for it's use in tools and equipment because of it's hard wood. The Hickory Tree is also used for fire wood and the Hickory flavor it adds to smoked meats. It is a great tree in areas with high winds because of the tap roots that go down deep in the earth making the trees very wind resistant. Man and animals enjoy the nut from the Hickory Tree.
Hickory wood is very hard, very stiff, very dense and very shock resistant. As stated in the U.S. Forestry Service pamphlet on "Important Trees of Eastern Forests", "there are some woods that are stronger than hickory and some that are harder, but the combination of strength, toughness, hardness, and stiffness found in hickory wood is not found in any other commercial wood."It is used for tool handles, bows, wheel spokes, carts, drumsticks, lacross stick handles, golf club shafts (sometimes still called hickory stick, even though made of steel or graphite ), the bottom of skis and walking sticks. Baseball bats were formerly made of hickory but are now more commonly made of ash. Hickory is also highly prized for wood-burning stoves, because of its high energy content. Hickory wood is also a preferred type for smoke curing meats. Hickory is popular for cooking barbecue, and adds flavor to the meat. Hickory is sometimes used for wood flooring due to its durability and character. (From Wikipedia)

Not as industrious as a squirrel, but I too like to have available home baked/cooked items in my freezer so nutritious foods are always ready for breakfasts, snacks and pop-in visitors.
What are some food items you like to stock pile?


hip chick said...

Oh yes we have a few of these little guys in our neighborhood. I've had to laugh because as I'm busy cooking up cakes and pies and breads in my kitchen now that fall has started I can see the little gray squirrels running back and forth out my kitchen window gathering nuts and getting their kitchens ready for fall also. All the world is busy busy busy getting ready for the season.

Mildred said...

Wehave an abundance of squirrels too. They are cute to watch as long as they don't get in our attic!
Yesterday at the market, they had a bag of bananas for $1.50. Guess I'll be making and freezing banana bread!

Mrs. Michele B said...

Yes, I've been seeing lots of these little guys too! (o:

The Watts Family said...

How fun the squirrels up north look so much better than the overheated ones you see in the south! Fall has arrived! ~Blessings Heather :D

Janice said...

Good to see those grey squirrels where they should be. They are decimating our native red squirrels with a disease that the grey's carry but doesn't kill them. We still have reds in our region but many areas of the UK no longer have any.

marie said...

I love to watch those furry little fellows ~ they are so industrious!

I am not much of a baker but it's always nice to have some muffins and fancy breads tucked away in the freezer.


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