The Walnut Blitz
Yes, that's Petunia the sparrow. He's investigating the walnuts. You see all this? It's our incomplete UXB collection. That is, the ones that missed us. Believe it not, there are more out there where that came from. We just got tired, and ran out of buckets.
A long time, ago, somebody planted a walnut tree. We're pretty sure it's over the invisible property line, but the neighbours disavow all responsibility, so we're dealing with the aerial bombardment. Thunk! goes the ground every few minutes, and the birds scatter. Thunk! They bounce. We tried to pick them up, thinking they were a hazard to lawn mowers. We think they're a hazard to people and animals, too. That tree is pretty tall, and I seem to remember a physics lesson about falling bodies. . .
The red squirrel seems uninterested. Probably too much work. And he chases the other squirrels away. A neighbour opined, 'Red squirrels must be Irish. They have red hair, and they like to fight.' Lest you think this an uninformed prejudice, let us point out that a village not five miles down the road is called Sligo.
We threatened to take them to the farm – the walnuts, not the red squirrels – but the Hoggetts said something about coals and Newcastle. When I asked, 'What do we do with them?' Farmer Hoggett replied, 'Most people spread them in the driveway and run over them a few times. Only way to get them open.' Mrs Hoggett says they taste kind of bitter, in her opinion, and we should gift the squirrels.
So our across-the-street-and-down neighbour, Babs, is letting us release some of these walnuts in her more squirrel-rich backyard. She's on the woods-and-river side of the street as opposed to our more 'urban' municipal carpark side.
Thunk! 'Wear your umbrella hat out there,' was my advice to Elektra, who's been picking up bucketloads.We think we'll leave the rest to become one with nature, or get picked up by the grey squirrels who brave the wrath of Padraig the Red.