Fall is falling in a delightful way here in Portland. The trees are blazing into yellows and reds, planting beds and paths are upholstered with leaves, the fog is setting in, and the squirrels are getting even busier.
The little furry guys run along the power lines to get from pole to pole and tree to tree without bothering about traffic or cats, but they don’t seem nervous about people. If one of them is digging or hiding, he pretty much doesn’t notice us. He will occasionally dash up a tree and call us names, however. Just to let us know whose park it really is.
There is something else up here that is new to me. Chestnuts! Big, fat, spreading chestnut trees dropping bushels of chestnuts. When they fall, the nuts are encased in a green prickly shell, like a studded leather jacket, but the squirrels are very good at peeling those off, leaving the shiny, deep brown shells showing.
Yesterday on the way to the Belmont Library, Auntie Bridgett and I decided to collect some chestnuts, as well.
What is good for the squirrels is good for the squirrelly, right?
Once we found a few trees, our pockets and Bridgett’s backpack were full in minutes! The only hazard is that the chestnuts are about the size and weight of a golf ball and HARD, so when they come down, they hit cars and sidewalks (and the hats of gatherers) with a resounding THUNK. Quite the adventure in foraging.
I look forward to roasting these little nuggets of Dickensian love and munching during a particularly ferocious storm. Welcome, winter!
The cooler weather has us hunting up scarves and heavier coats, making the first soup of the season (turkey/ sweet potato) and inventing new hot cider combinations. Looking forward with joy.