“Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlada, among subduers I am time, among beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda.”

Bhagavad Gits 10.30

I had come to the conclusion that I couldn’t put black walnuts under car tires unless I was going to be there to pick up the nuts immediately. 2-3 days went by and Gopish was here getting ready to leave so I rushed out ahead of him to put  some nuts under his tires before he could put his boots on and get to his car.

I found myself staring at empty 5 gallon buckets. I had gone out into the woods and gathered 12 gallons (45 liters) of black walnuts. I had hulled about 7 gallons before I realized I was being robbed of the hulled nuts almost immediately by squirrel(s). Now they had escalated.

I hadn’t looked at the buckets for 2-3 days but the last time I had seen them there was still 5 gallons of unhulled nuts in them. Now every last one was gone. A chipmunk was also spotted near the buckets.  It may be a whole party going on with every squirrel bringing all his cousins for the easy pickings.

All this was putting a damper on my enthusiasm for harvesting black walnuts. I have quite a few put by but I can eat 3 or 4 a day so over a year that is a 1000 or more and I know I don’t have that many.

That coupled with being swamped with some other projects I am trying to accomplish, and my mind starts mentaling out about collecting more. The hulls turn black if you don’t get them in time and then the flavor goes off, so the window is closing for harvesting. We will see if I get some more, I am trying to clean up the garden so in case it dries up after the recent rains I can work the ground up and plant some rye, so it isn’t like I don’t have other things to do. If I do collect some more, they will have to be in a sealed container until I can dehull them.

In other news, we got a call yesterday from our absentee neighbor who owns land going out the lane through our property that borders ours. He lives in Ohio and just comes down here to hunt.

A friend of his was up in a tree stand yesterday wait hunting deer. As he sat there, a cougar walked underneath him. Yes, you read that right, a cougar, also called a mountain lion. Although I have never seen any, I know there are bobcats in our woods, but in this case the hunter claimed to know the difference.

Apparently he has done big game hunting including killing a lion in Africa and has a stuffed mountain lion and bobcat all of which information was given to us to establish the bonafides of the hunter being able to recognize a mountain lion.

These folks think it is unlikely:

http://www.cougarnet.org/middleatlantic.html

Of course anything is possible and these folks have a different opinion:

http://www.richwooders.com/appalachian/wildlife/cougar.htm

From:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cougar

“Cougars are slender and agile cats. Adults stand about 60 to 76 centimeters (2.0 to 2.5 ft) tall at the shoulders. The length of adult males is around 2.4 meters (8 ft) long nose to tail, with overall ranges between 1.5 and 2.75 m (5 and 9 ft) nose to tail suggested for the species in general. Males typically weigh 53 to 90 kilograms (115 to 198 pounds), averaging 62 kg (137 lb). In rare cases, some may reach over 120 kg (264 lb). Females typically weigh between 29 and 64 kg (64 and 141 lb), averaging 42 kg (93 lb)”

Late breaking news — here is an email I just received from my neighbor:

“We talked to the DNR who are going to contact Dave. Its hard to believe except that Dave has a mounted cougar, 2 bobcats, an African lion, and a Leopard in his house, all harvested legally hunting around the world, so he has personally before seen a mountain lion. Plus this cat appeared at 9:00 in the morning in full light, and he saw it for several minutes, not just a glimpse. It was what it was, unmistakable for anything else. He thought he was dreaming for a second. The cat came from the bottom without making a sound, and came to within 5 yards of the base of his tree, and smelled around, and went back the way it came.

“We talked to the DNR and they stated that it is probably one that someone had as a pet somewhere and then released into the “wild” in that area. This is consistent with the sighting in full daylight at 9 in the morning.

“It is also consistent with the fact that when we were young, we had a friend in Florida that had a mountain lion cub, and raised it. As it got bigger it became very fierce and aggressive, so much so that it was almost impossible to even feed it safely. He later got rid of it.”

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