Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, January 06, 1995, Image 55

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    Have your com planted yet? We
do. Well,' at least a little bit of it.
It’s not planted in very orderly
rows. Planting depth is probably
not ideal for optimum emergence.
And the location site is awfully
In fact, the corn’s planted in
grass. Back yard grass. AH over
the backyard grass. Under piles of
leaves. Scattered around various
spots in the flower beds. Probably
some under the woodpile, too.
Credit for these purposeful, but
random, acts of com planting goes
to Squanto.
Remember Squanto of the his
tory books? He was the native
American credited with teaching
the Pilgrims how to plant corn,
thus enabling them to survive
through the harsh, sparse, New
England winters. Our Squanto is a
native, but of the four-legged vari
ety. It’s a squirrel with a penchant
for corn tillage. And we suspect
it’s a “she,” rather than a “he,”
probable mother of the five baby
squirrels that rampaged through
the maple trees last summer.
For years, no squirrel dared
venture near the yard, due to our
vigilant cat patrol. During last
winter’s enduring cold and deep
snow cover, a pack of the local,
hungry bushy-tails figured the
sunflower-filled birdfeeders and
ears of corn were easier
than prying acorns from under
packed snow and ice. And the cats
were finding the barn to be far
warmer than squirrel chasing in
two-feet-deep drifts.
One female took a liking to the
place and never left, raising her
family in the maple farthest from
the house. Several of the babies
also remain. On occasion, we’ll
have up to four fat, furry, gray
bodies playing tag around the
trees, investigating the patio furni
ture, rooting in the flower beds
and hanging upside-down on a
tree trunk deftly nibbling the cen
ters out of kernels of com from a
cob impaled on a spike there...
So, in preparation for a repeat
of last winter’s critter visits, I
picked up a couple of bags of com
in nearby fields where the forage
harvester had run down stalks
while maneuvering for turns. As
fast as we spike a cob'on the tree,
the squirrels clean it off.
But, I haven’t been so quick to
replace those bare cobs with full
ones since com planting got under
way. One morning last week, I
watched from the kitchen window
as Squanto stuffed two kernels of
corn into her cheeks, scampered
down the tree, dug a hole under the
washline, planted one kernel, neat
ly covered it with ground, moved a
few yards away and repeated the
procedure. She continued that
process for the five minutes or so I
observed this performance. Squan
to and her kids are also efficient
Almost daily, you can spy at
least one of them working its way
across the yard, stuffing dry leaf
after dry leaf into its mouth, until
leaves protrude in all directions
and it would seem impossible to
stuff another one in. Then, the leaf
gatherer will sprint up a tree trunk
and disappear, returning shortly
after for another mouthful.
Now, three of the big maples
each has a large, round nest high in
the branches, thickly packed
clumps of maple leaves held
together apparently with sure-stick
Squirrelly-Nest Super Glue. Or
maybe woven together with baling
string. How a “dumb animal 1 * can
make a collection of dried up
leaves stay together 60 feet up in a
tree with the winds that blow down
over the hills is an awesome mys
tery of Mother Nature.
A half-hour after first spying
Squanto the Squirrel Complanter,
I glanced back out the window.
She was still digging holes and
planting kernels of corn, two at
each trip. And the com cob was
nearly bare.
We really enjoy feeding and
watching the squirrels and the birds
that share this place. But I’m not
really looking forward to mowing
a cornfield all next summer.
Milk Nutrii
Goat-Hair Fibers
(Continued from Page BS)
Her first two Spanish-bred
goats were a Christmas present to
Binnie Roig. With Angora rabbits
and longhaired sheep already on
the Dalmatia R 1 farm owned by
her and and her husband, Keith,
the goats were a natural addition to
round out the variety of natural
fibers she intended to blend for
crafting use.
Binnie Roig now scours and
dyes the fibers from her goats and
sends it away to have it commer
cially carded and blended. She
then sells the various blends of
wool, mohair, cashmere and ango
ra fibers to spinners.
Leslie does some niche market
ing of the curley, lustrous mohair
from her flock as beards for hand-
V»**a t
Lancaster Farming, Friday, January 6, 199547
ion Facts
crafted Santas and as natural-look
ing hair for dolls. Mohair also
readily takes to dyeing, turning
rich, deep colors that blend well
and enhance the shades of other
natural fibers.
One customer she remembers
was specifically looking for fibers
produced in York County because
she wanted to give holiday pre
sents that originated from her
home locale
‘There’s a lot more interest in
natural fibers in recent years,” said
Leslie. “Lots more women seem to
want to leam to spin.”
“You can’t justify it, cost
wise,” she said. “But, there’s the
satisfaction of making something
yourself, of knowing where it
I 1 . ,