This week has been one of beautiful weather. Rural Kansas: not always synonymous with that phrase. The temperature has been mild, a few showers, no wind to speak of (in Kansas-Speak this means less that 15 mph.) and everything is green.
Some years ago, and I have written about this, that Spouse o' Mine and I (and our kids) gathered acorns, just like little squirrels, from Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Back home in rural Kansas, we planted the acorns, and they grew into tiny little oak trees. And then they died from horse manure compost - which any horse owner will tell you, will not "compost" for fertilizer use until 1-2 years of aging in a big ol' pile somewhere. Lesson learned (I, a horse owner, KNEW this, and had discussed it at length with another adult member of our family. Deaf ears, I say; my words fell on them like felled giant oak trees.)
Last autumn, that Spouse o' Mine and I returned to Washington, D.C. We walked over to Capitol Hill and collected more acorns from those giant oak trees - those that the congressional squirrels had not already hoarded for their own needs.
Back home in rural Kansas, I dutifully set them in our refrigerator for a couple of months, and then planted them in individual containers. Three had already grown into baby oak trees, and this week I set them outside in our grotto. I had nine more planted pots in our mudroom, and this week I set them outside, too, and thought ahead to the day, centuries from now, when the new landowners could appreciate our arborial services to the future generations.
This afternoon I looked out the window and !!GASP!! two of the baby oaks were missing from their pots. I immediately went outside to investigate. My first accusation went to the ducks. DUCKS! Eating my tiny oak trees! Stupid, stupid ducks. Stupid. Ducks.
But that didn't make sense. Ducks will take bites out of leaves, but not haul an entire little tree out and chow down. Hmmm.
By this time, that Spouse o' Mine had come home and he listened as I whined as only a good horticulturalist who has lost her crop can whine. He reflected, and surmised, out loud, that ducks don't do that kind of damage. Squirrels, however, do. And interestingly, we have had two adolescent squirrels take up residence in our trees just the past week or so. Aha! J'accuse! I walked over to the other nine pots of planted acorns to show that Spouse o' Mine that we still had a viable oak plan in our summer season.
I knelt down and dug my fingers into the soil to pull up an acorn to check its progress.
There was nothing in the pot.
I moved to the next pot, stuck two fingers into the dirt and felt around. No acorn.
Time and time again (nine times, exactly), I felt into a pot for a burgeoning acorn: not one ding-dong acorn in the whole lot.
Those !*^!>! squirrels!!! How in the WORLD did they do it? How?! How?!!
So now: we have to make yet ANOTHER trip to Capitol Hill. Or plant holly.