Squirrel dreys are visible now. Leaves gone from the trees, you can see where the little guys sleep. What appears to be a random clump of leaves or a large bird nest, is actually a squirrel home formed from sticks and then lined with leaves and other materials like fur, dry grass, shredded bark, moss and feathers.
Joseph worries about the small woodland animals in the winter. Squirrels do not hibernate, and must stay vigilant through a long winter for food. Some fatten up in preparation:
They do store nuts and acorns in the ground during autumn months, and if they are not lucky enough to have found an oak to drey in (thus having snack time at little arms’ length), they scurry out on the sunniest days (or the hungriest days) to raid their store, finding them by smell rather than memory. Smart squirrels usually build more than one drey, with a second home at the ready should one nest be discovered by a predator or become flea- or lice-ridden. Sometimes two squirrels cozy up in a drey, to share long cold nights and days, curling their tails around each other to mingle their body heat.
Sounds sweet, still… it can be a long, cold winter. All summer long I spit my cherry pits over the railing into the lawn and dirt below… hoping I could keep some skinny squirrel from shivering through the winter.
Joseph and I are preparing for winter, too. He broke out his biscotti recipe to warm up the kitchen, and I will spend the sunniest of days searching for stored things: that book by Vargas Llosa I started before moving, my black faux-suede gloves, a photo I miss of my parents on their wedding day. Just the necessary to get me through the winter.
Like the squirrels, we will curl our tails around each other and share warmth through the winter in our temporary home.
You are awaited to join our drey, Max — even though you don’t have a tail!