The Pollening and the Turtle-ing: Tis the Season
So, this morning, all the white pines in the ENTIRE town decided to get together for an annual ritual known as The Pollening, soon to be a horror movie along the lines of Sharknado. Pollen-ado. No, the Pollening. This is actually a revenge drama where all these magnificent tall sentinels that y’all cut down like grass attempt to kill you back by choking you to death. Guess who doesn’t have allergies? The Owl. Bring on the pollen–I enjoy the nice 2-inch thick covering on the patio cushions I just put outside. Also my poor car could sneak up on a pond of algae and be totally camoflaged.
Before you all get out your chainsaws (or more likely pay someone to get out their chainsaws), know that pine pollen does not cause allergic reactions in most people, but instead is your Eastern white pines joyfully reaching out to make new friends and pollinate them. As in all micro-seasons around Weston (gnats, horseflies, rhododendron season, etc.), just wait two weeks and it will be gone. In the meantime, enjoy scraping off the pool and outdoor furniture.
Here’s a nice story about white pines:
“Pine pollen is lightweight and shaped like a pair of wings. It can travel great distances, fertilizing trees far away. This is how vast pine forests once spread across the eastern United States and Canada. Some say that before European settlers arrived on the continent, a squirrel could travel its whole life in the trees without ever touching the ground. The early settlers saw these towering pines as valuable timber. Scientists estimate that the forests contained enough boards to wrap around the planet millions of times. By the late 1700s, the forests had been cut down for ship masts, bridges, homes, and furniture.” (source here).
So yeah, if you think your white pines aren’t chanting “screw you, humans”, think again.
Now on to the turtle-ing season which is also right now. Maybe the turtles are “running” from the Pollening! Poor things. In any case, turtles (painted and snapper) are on the move, and you’ll be doing them a favor if you slow down. If one is in the middle of the road and it is safe to stop, you can try to move them along more quickly in the direction they are heading. Do not ever pick up a snapper from the sides of their shell–in a creepy horror movie type way, know that these beasts can stretch out their necks all the way around to bite off your fingers. Big nasty teeth. No, not really but any opportunity to quote Monty Python…
Here from the US Fish & Wildlife Service are some helpful tips on being a good citizen during the Turtle-ing: https://www.fws.gov/story/tips-helping-turtle-cross-road. Last night at around 8 pm, there was a good samaritan helping a snapper cross over the Middle School driveway so it wouldn’t get smashed by a departing team bus. And giving it a healthy berth…that was a big’un.
You will also find turtles at Burchard Park, usually the little painted ones, who somehow seem to watch Little League games while laying their eggs. Please just leave them alone.
And that wraps up Nature News Tuesday. Carry on, Weston, and beware the next season…the Mosquito-ing.