Reading the latest headlines, you might feel like saying “NUTS!” But for some this holiday season, it’s the lack of nuts that’s the issue.
Like our economic meltdown, the nut problem has been developing for some time. Scientists tell us that an ice storm that struck the East Coast in 2006 may be the culprit. Or perhaps a wetter-than-usual spring in 2008. But whatever the reason, after a bumper crop last year, this fall there have been absolutely no acorns produced by red oaks across the Northeast. None. According to field biologist Rod Simmons, “This is not just a bad year for oaks. It’s a zero year. There’s zero production. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
This is not a good time to be a squirrel; acorns are their primary resource for surviving the winter. From Virginia to New England, folks are noticing that the squirrels are acting, well, nutty. They’ve been ransacking Halloween pumpkins. Digging through the trash. They’re skinny, they’re aggressive. Here in Joisey, we can report that our squirrels are taking full advantage of “The Bird Feeder Bailout”; we can’t keep the things full for more than a day or two.
If you’re not fond of squirrels, you may think this is good news and good riddance. On the other hand, if you like the little varmints, you may want to throw them a few peanuts or a corn cob. But either way, squirrels are pretty resourceful. They’ll find other food sources and most will survive. As for the oaks themselves, they’ve got another century or two of growth ahead of them, so they’re not worried at all. It’s all just nature’s way. Boom! Bust! Bonus! Bummer! It all comes around.
And so it shall. To our clients, colleagues and friends, we hope you’re not too skinny or aggressive this holiday season. And here’s to an extremely nutty 2009.