I love to have a few pine cones, they remind me of time spent with my family growing up on a farm in rural West Sussex. I remember on the cold wintry days going out with mum to collect these from the hundreds of pine trees that surrounded the land my dad farmed on. I regret to say that a great majority of these trees were felled a few years back, no not to make room for housing but for a golf course of all things! We had an open coal fire in our sitting room and these cones really spat when we threw them onto the burning coals, not too good for Mum's carpet, although the rug in front of it took the full extent of the scorching and of course when out of the room we would always put the fireguard up.
A pine cone is a seed that comes from a pine tree. Pine trees are tall and straight. Pine trees don't lose their leaves in autumn and winter. They belong to a group of trees called evergreens.
I always love the opportunity to mention squirrels, I know they can be pests, but who could hate these lovely cute 'n furry creatures? My 'Secret' grey squirrel is still reeking havoc around the garden, he has knocked down a bird feeder yet again, with his acrobatic antics!
Squirrels are seed eaters. They favour pine cones, but also eat larch and spruce. Their diet also includes fungi, shoots and fruits of shrubs and trees, and sometimes birds' eggs. They can choose between good and bad nuts by holding them in their paws. Reds do not hibernate and store fungi in trees to eat over the winter months. When food is plentiful, they put on weight in the autumn to help them through the winter. This is important for breeding females, so that they are in good condition for producing young.