There’s a dream tree in my back yard. The tree was bare when we moved into our house last fall, but as soon as the leaves started budding this spring I started day dreaming about the pecan pies my wife would (hopefully) bake this fall with the bounty of our back yard dream tree. My wife makes the best pecan pie I’ve ever tasted. It rivals even Amish recipes, of which I’ve tried several, and found they all pale next to hers. I’m convinced that she has been divinely touched to make a pie that could beat the offerings of such a very devout and down-to-earth, tradition rich folk.
I was convinced of that until this year, anyway. Maybe it isn’t her, though. Perhaps I am the one who is cursed. After all, she could still make the pie…if she had the pecans, that is. Let me explain:
Just a few short weeks ago the tree was so heavy with pecans that I couldn’t walk under it without leaves brushing the top of my head. I’d feel the tickles on my scalp and the top of my ears and think about everything they meant. The branches are heavy with nuts. They’ll soon be ripe. They are hanging so low that I’ll barely have to work to get them! Then, one fateful day, I was in my garden checking on my ghost peppers, tomatoes and pumpkins. I heard a chittering sound and something that certainly wasn’t a leaf hit me on the head.
I thought perhaps a bird had made me its bathroom, but no such luck. I patted my head and, my when my hand came away unbefouled, I looked up at the tree just in time to catch a bit of the green covering that encases pecans in my eye. For the next few days every trip to the garden was an adventure as a squad of special forces squirrels scampered around the upper branches of my tree, dropping natural bombs on me and screeching at me when I threw the projectiles back into the foliage. I even released my hounds in the hopes that their size would be enough to scare the thieves off, but alas, my baying hounds were reduced to whimpering scaredy dogs at the hands of these efficient intruders.
And so, out of options, I resigned myself to losing my pecans. The squirrel squad stayed in the upper branches, audible but barely visible, so I allowed myself to believe they’d leave the lower ones for me. Or perhaps not even notice them. No such luck though. I had about three weeks to keep dreaming pecan pie dreams, but this morning I stepped out and immediately noticed that the branches were hanging much higher than they had been.
Not a pecan to be found. And the surreptitious squirrels had also vanished. Where is the love? If they were going to steal my pie fixings the least they could do would be to stick around so I could watch them chase each other around the tree trunk. I got the message. I’m a pecan tree haver to them. Nothing more and nothing less. I guess it’s ok though. I can stand to lose some weight anyway and from what I understand they’ll need to gain some for the winter.
Maybe it’s a symbiosis after all.
I bid you adieu…and a don’t.
Adieu…appreciate your animal neighbors, even if they seem nefarious at times.
A don’t…bother making room for skunks. There’s no benefit at all to be had from them.