“Flying Walnuts”

by ESP on September 10, 2011 · 7 comments

Captain Enrique “Squirrel” Monastario has been waging war on the Patch, throwing discarded nut shells on me and my metal roof…I guess the pecans are finally edible. There have been many heated squirrel disputes of late over who has the chomping rights to these two nut-laden trees, sometimes forcing one of them out of the tree and very close to the sharp blades of …

Zorro’s feet, lying in wait at the base of my giant timber bamboo.

I have a rather ill-conceived and ridiculous theory that all the nuts that were buried by the squirrels last fall actually vaporized underground during this summers intense heat, making food for the squirrels very scarce. I have never seen such an intense pecan feeding frenzy:

I sweep this mess up every few days and if it continues,


“Relax amigo, I will will take care of this or my name is not Don Diego”

This is where Zorro takes refuge when his partner Kumo, plays a little too rough.

I have a suspicion that this magnificent Red-shouldered Hawk (thanks for the ID Mikael), who has been showing up recently on the top of some adjacent pecan trees also has his keen eyes on these squabbling squirrels, either that or my goldfish. Here is a rather interestingly disgusting fact…by the time they are five days old, nestling Red-shouldered Hawks can shoot their feces over the edge of their nest, no they really can. Bird poop on the ground is a sign of an active nest.

Hmm, I wonder…

My Weber…my brand new Weber!

“How very dare you”.

” Shhh, snicker, I mean cooo, coo”.

Moving disconcertingly along:

I found this moth on my deck and it looked exactly like an old leaf. You have to get up really close to it before you can see it is actually a

Walnut Sphinx

Amorpha Juglandis


 Rather strange that the caterpillars of these amazing creatures make squeaking sounds when disturbed.


Caterpillar Photograph: Seana Saxon

Even though we are once again in triple digits we must be finally entering fall as the grasses are starting to put on their annual display.

Red / purple fountain grass is one of my favorites.

Pampas is also pushing out plumes this week,


and this blooming Texas sage (aka the barometer plant) must surely be confused…a change of weather or temperature in central Texas?

I think not.

Honey bees were going berserk on it.

Talking of bees this baby bee caused a wee bit of drama the other day when my youngest halfling stood on it and got stung.

It took us a while to find it, it was so tiny. Poor little guys.

This week in the Patch…

A replacement stock tank goes in,

and order and leaks are now restored and watertight once again.

This sunflower was pecked to death and stripped of all its seeds in a single day.

I was hoping to save at least a few for next year.

Stay Tuned for:

“The Haunted Garden”


All material © 2011 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

“Hey Dad, I can see all your dead plants from up here”.


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1 Cheryl September 10, 2011 at 9:43 pm

what an annoying nut mess!
Pretty sure your goldfish are safe from the hawk. Worry about an egret or a heron. LOL
Purple fountain grass IS pretty but it takes SO long for it to get started! Every year I think its dead for about 6 months but then it starts to show signs of life. Looking good right now. I LOVE pennisetum though! My water hibiscus is finally developing buds! It needs to be moved to a sunnier locale.
Hope you get some cooling and fire-putting-outing rain soon.

2 ESP September 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Isn’t it!

The other day I got so annoyed I started throwing pecan shells back at the stupid squirrel lounging above me on a pecan limb.

So far I am heron and egret-free (touch galvanized steel)…my main tank is pretty well hidden by the canopy of my post oak, so I think it is safe.

The fountain grass does slow down in the hotter months, as do I. I always plant a bunch in the spring just for the fall show. It looks like all my copper canyon daisies have all croaked this year, as well as some of my fall asters so it is now up to the purple fountain grass :-)

We sure could do with the rain Cheryl, but unfortunately temperatures (after a slight reprieve last week) are moving back up to triple digits, though I do not think this will last for long…(he says rather unconvincingly).


3 Casa Mariposa September 11, 2011 at 8:45 am

Your pets are about as effective as squirrel harassers as mine are. That caterpillar is awesome! But I can’t say I blame it: I tend to squeak when pinched, too! I’m very glad your family is safe from the fires. Texas has been in my daily prayers. It has to rain eventually. Hopefully!!


That poor caterpillar, all miked-up then nipped with tweezers to perform his squeaking rap song…who would do such a thing! What a cool looking moth it turns into though.

The fires have been awful, loss of homes, displaced families and horrible air quality combined with high mold and continued heat, never a good combination.


I cannot wait to smell the rain once again, though at this point it feels like it may never rain again…ever, my garden looks like it is now running on its last seaweed reserves.

Dry fingers crossed.


4 David R. September 11, 2011 at 9:27 am

Funny Thing! The house next door to mine has a large Burr Oak and the squirrels have been munching on the acorns for about a month. The other day they must have been looking for those acorns they planted last fall but could not find any. They are back up in the tree now. I have a little micro-nursery in my backyard and I really have to watch the bastards. Certain times of the year they go crazy!!! Anyone have a gun?

5 ESP September 11, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Hi David.

So my ridiculous half-baked nut theory has gained a little more credence it appears :-)

I have one “cute rat” that has completely stripped all of the leaves from the top of my bog cypress (it uses the tree as a rudimentary ladder to get down from my post oak to my pond for water).

6 Bob Pool September 18, 2011 at 9:09 pm

You city folks and your squirrel problems. You know there is a quick and easy solution, albeit maybe not entirely legal. I told M.S. about how I deal with the squirrels here and she hasn’t spoken to me since.(about 3 years now) Also my dog is a trained squirrel killer. I really hate squirrels.

Haha Bob you will have to tell me about it next time we get together…not being a squirrel fan myself. If it wasn’t for their fuzzy tails they really would be large rats.
City folks indeed:-)

7 Desert Dweller / David C. September 20, 2011 at 6:38 am

Looks like the barometer plant knew the seasonal changes starting up! A confession – larger moths scare the *%@##^ out of me, ever since a 3 or 4 year old in Colorado. I wandered into the garage and a swarm of them flew out at me! I do not miss the central great plains for *all* their moths…at least scorpions and centipedes don’t fly! But killer detail you captured, and that mothra did not fly off (or at you)!

Hi David.

That sounds like an x-files episode and I can understand how this incident could scar you for life :-) This moth would have created a significant conniption on my part should it have taken off with my hands been so close to it. I do not mind moths though, it is the geckos that get me running for the hills.

If I were you I would not get too comfortable with your desert scorpions and centipedes there are some strange things out there…in the desert:
Sleep well.

Desert Mole Rat

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