I live with a big walnut tree. It’s kind of like living with a large, incontinent dog. It’s big, imposing, majestic, and it drops its waste all over my yard. I do have grass in my yard, it’s just hard to notice under all the twigs and leaves. And the walnuts.

Oh, the walnuts. Walnuts are a fine thing to eat, but I’ve never been able to figure out if mine are edible, because they never make it that far. Because of the squirrels. The squirrels of Minneapolis all got together in some smoke-filled squirrel room and decided my tree would be the Old Country Buffet of Squirreldonia. They are everywhere. And gosh darn are they hungry.

Walnut husks litter my yard, my porch, my life. They rain down on my roof like… well, like rain. Many is the time I heard pitter-patter, and thought “hey, when did it start raining?” And I look outside and realize it’s just squirrels pelting my domicile with walnut fragments. It really can be that heavy. There have been times where some parts of my yard were ankle deep in walnut husks.

One time, it was a nice late summer evening, cool yet warm enough to sleep with the windows open. I was awakened at dawn by an odd grinding noise, faint but enough to wake someone up earlier than they would want. I couldn’t identify it. My best guess was a chainsaw, way off in the distance. “What assmunch is running a chainsaw at this hour?” I grumbled. So I went to the window, parted the curtain, and startled a couple of squirrels. It was just squirrels, chewing walnuts.

Okay, I was groggy, I hadn’t had my coffee yet, but I must stress this point: I confused squirrels having breakfast with a chainsaw cutting logs. That’s the level of squirrel pig out activity that goes on in my yard.

Every year it’s the same thing. I get an early start on autumn yard work, because the squirrels have been goin’ to town. I need to rake up a good ten to twelve leaf bags worth of walnut husks before the leaves fall, otherwise regular leaf raking becomes unworkable. And my yard ain’t that big. Do you know how heavy a leaf bag full of walnut husks is? I haven’t done any scientific measurements, but the mass seems to exceed the tensile strength of a biodegradable leaf bag by several factors. I go through a lot of biodegradable leaf bags.

Squirrels eat the walnuts on any flat surface. My car is a flat surface. For two months out of the year, my car is a mess of dried walnut juice, wood bits, and what I assume would be squirrel droppings and urine. It’s hideous, but there’s no point in washing it. The next day it’ll be back to subnormal. Walnut waste is an odd-looking mess to have on your car. People don’t know what it is, and I have to explain it. No, I didn’t get mad at my car and pelt it with eggs and coffee grounds. Those are green walnuts that have been ripped apart and feasted by ravenous gangs of gluttonous squirrels. When I got back from Maine, the mess was so heavy my car looked furry. You can’t really prepare yourself for your car looking furry. That ain’t natural.

Squirrels are cute, but I’m getting a little tired of their table manners.

I’m starting a new temp job tomorrow. Hallelujah! They want me to come in a bit later, and the Roman walnut orgy seems to be tapering off, so I may risk getting the car washed. I don’t remember car washes having a setting for “the shattered and bloody corpses of walnuts,” but maybe things have changed in recent months.


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