It’s late in August when the squirrels start climbing to the top branches on the Douglas fir trees to pick the cones off the branches and drop them to the ground. As the cones glide toward the ground we can hear the loud clunk, clunk, bang as they hit and bounce off the large branches. It almost sounds like a bat hitting a baseball. The ground and road will be scattered with light green cones everywhere. Then the busy squirrels will scurry down the trunk and if no cars or people are nearby they will sit and remove the nuts from under the scales on the parameter of the cone. After they have gathered their cache, what is left is a pile of outer scales with the nuts removed and a demolished cone.
One does not select to pick up the green cones since there will be a sticky pitch oozing from under the spiky pointy scales. When the sun is low in the afternoon and shinning on the tall evergreens, we can see the pitch sparkle in the sunlight like tiny diamonds on the tips of the higher branches.
Drinking our morning coffee while sitting on the porch, we enjoy listening the chittering of the busy squirrels as they work throughout the morning removing the cones from the trees. We realize the reason for all the new evergreen starters on our property is due to the squirrels busy gathering season. Bill and I tease each other to bring an umbrella or wear a hard hat during our morning walks. We sure don’t need a traumatic head injury from a falling cone.