St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Monday, January 9, 2012


Six squirrels have been entertaining us here in Pine Island. Our house is located on 8 acres of woods surrounded by open fields. The squirrels live in huge oaks and basswoods eating corn all fall and usually hitting the bird feeders in the winter.

This year had an excellent crop of acorns and bitternut hickory nuts -- they are thick on the ground. With no snow, the squirrels have plenty to eat and don't bother the feeders.

Yesterday, three gray squirrels spent the day chasing each other through the woods out the window. I assume it has something to do with sex and mating. It is amazing to see them run full speed up and across the trees at full speed. Another two gray squirrels ignored the chase while the red squirrel continues to haul nuts into my workshop in the garage.

A crow visits the bird feeder, picking up dropped sun flower seeds on the ground each afternoon. Once in a while we see the huge pileated woodpecker on the suet block. The pair raised one noisy youngster for the second year in a row in the big dead elm trunk still standing in the yard.

I started reading "Notes from Little Lakes" by Mel Ellis this week. Back when I lived in Milwaukee, Ellis wrote a short nature note in the Milwaukee newspaper that gave us city dwellers a touch of the woods. I found the book for 99 cents on -- in excellent condition with an autograph from his wife!

Almost finished with my newest book -- History of Maple Syrup Making-- a collection of my own writing as well as a collection of articles written in the 1600s-1800s about the subject.

Don't fall through the ice.