Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Random Nuttiness

A few days ago, TFR and I did a little weeding around the front of our place. Nothing as intensive as if we were, say, Llamas, but still, we wanted to clean things up a bit. Besides, it's a rental, and we get a discount in exchange for doing our own groundskeeping. Actually, the Lad began to fuss, so TFR tended to him while I did most of the weeding. As I weeded, I kept coming across little "buried treasures" in the bark mulch.

You see, we live about a mile or so from the oldest commercial filbert (uh, that's hazelnut to you city folk) orchard in the United States. In fact, Oregon produces between 99% and 100% of the nation's crop (which is why I find it so ironic that I can only find hazelnut oil pressed in California and Washington, our two neighbors). So it would appear that the local squirrel population has developed discriminating palates. No rustic acorns for them, oh, no.

The squirrels here are an interesting topic in another way. here in Eugene/Springfield, we have reddish brown tree squirrels. But they're not native. They're Eastern Fox Squirrels, and they were introduced to the state. They are more aggressive than our native Western Grey Squirrels. So they (along with the non-native Eastern Grey Squirrel) have driven the Western Greys out of the cities. But they're also more dependent on humans for food, so if you go out in the country, you'll see the native squirrels. I think they're prettier animals.

And the fox squirrels aren't the only non-native flora/fauna that give us fits. Nutria (whoever thought THAT was a good idea needs to be beaten!), possums, English Ivy, even my beloved blackberries are classifies as an invasive weed. It seems that any place so fertile is also fertile ground for invading wildlife.

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