Hollow Tree House

fallen tree.JPG

True story: When we first acquired the “40 acres square” we call Fallen Timbers, our (later disputed) western property line was marked by pink and white survey tape hanging in the tree limbs. A spring ground fire had consumed much of this tape, but the fire hadn’t reached all of the western boundary. Yet all of the survey tape was gone. I puzzled about this for a while, but it didn’t dominate my thoughts for long.

Years passed. The inevitable storms of spring and summer came, and several of the mature oaks in our woods were toppled by the winds. (Libby and I were in the woods on a windy day once when we heard a tree beyond the ridge creak and then crash to the forest floor. Quite an impressive sound! I’m glad we weren’t under it.)

Most of the trees that come down are hollow on the inside, which is a common fate for Ozark oaks. Often I will visit these fallen trees and attempt to cut the major branches so that the limbs will rest on the forest floor. They will decay sooner that way and enrich the soil.

I approached one such fallen oak and found that it had indeed been hollow. Within the hollow part of the stump that was still standing, I saw the gathered leaves of what was obviously a den, probably for a raccoon. Amidst all of the leaves in this stump were hundreds of bits of pink and white survey tape.

11 Responses to “Hollow Tree House”

  1. Tjilpi Says:

    Right On! Recycling Raccoons.

  2. Floridacracker Says:

    Really rascally raccoons responsibly recycling or redecorating?

    Uh, I guess you answered the proverbial question about the tree falling in a forest since you weren’t around it, but still heard it.

  3. Deb Says:

    Just this past Sunday evening I saw a segment of “Nature” on PBS that dealt with thieving critters. One suburban couple was annoyed that the yellow “Support the Troops” ribbons they tied around a tree kept disappearing. It turned out the culprit was a squirrel who apparently thought the ribbons added a touch of class to its nest.

  4. Rexroth's Daughter Says:

    Interesting how critters adopt the craziest things for their homes. Nice story, Pablo.

  5. dread pirate roberts Says:

    little anarchists! was this the area of disputed logging? ya spose that raccoon is on the take?

    fc beat us all to the tree/sound/forest/audible thing. did you actually verify that what you heard did result in a down tree? if a tree falls in the forest and someone hears it but no one sees it, is there tree on the ground?

  6. Leslie Says:

    NO WAY! What a funny story. Those little rascals.

    My husband had a cat, before we were married, that was a thief. My husband saw the cat entering his apartment (up about the 3rd or 4th floor) via a window with a shiny trinket. He checked the cat’s cache and to his horror found several pieces of jewelry. So then he started spying on his cat and found out which neighbor was getting pilfered. The cat was tighrope walking a little ledge high above the ground to get to the other apartment. My husband contacted his neighbor and returned the goods.

    We had a cat whose cat food and litter box were kept in the pantry, to encourage the cat to police the room and keep it free of mice. When we found a mouse nest built of cat fur, the cat got moved to the barn. Sheesh.

  7. Floridacracker Says:


  8. vicki Says:

    This post reminded me of a wonderful children’s book Abby had. I will find the name of it when I get back to Michigan but I remember I bought it for her at the botanical gardens in Phoenix, Ariz and it’s about the life of a saguaro cactus and all of the lives that were attached to it. I think you would like it…

  9. Walter Jeffries Says:

    *grin* an aficionado of pink survey tap… 🙂

  10. Rurality Says:

    Too funny! I’m sure it was very warm tape. 🙂

  11. Girl gone gardening Says:

    Wohoo racoons! 😀

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