Leaf Mystery

I see this in my yard on a regular basis -little clumps of leaves in one area.

So who does this? A squirrel? Do they sit in the tree and chew off little clumps of leaves? This was a maple tree but it happens in all the trees. Maybe one of you can tell me. I mowed some of the yard today but did not get to the garden to weed.

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I had a question for local readers yesterday and forgot to ask. I have a friend who makes custom t-shirt quilts and is in need of a binder -someone who enjoys doing hand binding and would like to make a little money working at home. My hands have gotten so stiff and arthritic I can hardly hold a needle so it won’t be me. BUT maybe someone is reading this who would like more information. If so please email me at marye@ncn.net and I will pass your information on to my young friend.

I did finish this table topper last week and like it very much – the colors transition me into fall.

The next thing I’m going to do is start working on some fall quilts and I’ll take you with me! I need a new fall tabletopper and I hung my quilt hanger by my sewing room door and want to hang seasonal quilts there. Not another soul will see them but I will and I will enjoy them. How about you? Do you have a place by your front door that measures 25-27″? That’s the width of my space and we used to make door quilts to fit that space. What’s old is new again! Stay tuned!

I know you enjoyed seeing Connie’s yard and gardens. She works very hard to achieve this lovely result and anyone can do it if you’re prepared to work hard physically and continue working to maintain all that loveliness. I will ask her to give us some tips in a future post.

48 thoughts on “Leaf Mystery

  1. Bonnie Specchio

    I have seen this also. I believe the squirrels do it, then they pick them up to build their nests.

  2. Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts

    What a Delectable table topper! 😉 it looks great.
    And yes, as other readers have confirmed, squirrels, probably building a drey for the winter, or a summer sleeping nest.

  3. Denise Weise

    We live in the country and also have this happen. Our neighbor told us it is the squirrels.

  4. Christina Mejer

    Oh yes it’s probably squirrels . We had that from our oak tree in Indiana .

  5. Launa

    Mary, Up at our altitude in the Idaho mountains I thought something was hitting the bedrooms’ side of the house…the pines have small cones and when finished eating the seeds the squirrels toss the cones!
    We also have chipmunks who copy the squirrels’ antics. Neither critters bother the Quaking Aspens!

  6. Lee Bowers

    Mary, your blog is always a treat when I see it in my mail box. I still have quite a few of the old Goat Gazzett
    packed away somewhere.
    I noticed today that my hoya plant that you sent me a piece of to root has finally decided to bloom. I can’t wait to show off the pink flowers. It must be over 5 years. l will send pictures.
    Connie’s garden is beautiful full of charm. Both of you in different ways are showing your green thumbs!
    How about a new magazine call “Quilters that Garden” YOu and Connie in the first issue. Blessings Lee

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Lee – I loved hearing that your Hoya is finally blooming – it takes a long time because the plant needs to be root bound in order to use its energy somewhere else -like a bloom. You are my success story! I sent you a little cutting and now it’s blooming! I am tickled!

      1. Lee

        Me too. I think what triggered the bloom was a change of lighting. My counter got full and I was afraid Buttons my new cat would check it out so I put it in my bedroom on top of my tv cabinet. And forgot about it. I broke my ankle on the 4th so I am getting around in a boot..sleeping on the couch. Went in the bedroom and there it was kinda small but there!
        I love it when I can go in the back of Lowes and rescue an almost dead plant for less than a dollar.
        Thanks again. Hope your mouse just scampers away and gets eaten by your cat.
        Btw. Buttons is the cutest cat ever…my first cat ever. She is only Two and a rescue. Ask me why I named her Buttons? She is just cute as a button.
        Blessings Lee

  7. Michele

    Definitely a squirrel. We used to have a squirrel that would throw small apples from our tree at our dog. Then the danged squirrel would run back and forth on the top of the fence to annoy our neighbor’s dog. That dog would run back and forth trying to catch the squirrel.

  8. Martha

    There’s nothing I love more than binding a quilt. It’s such an honor to put the final stitches into a beautiful quilt. I’d love to work with your T-shirt quilt making friend, however I am in Maine. For quite some time, I offered this service for my quilting friends. It was a win-win all around. I loved doing it; they loved hiring me to do it.

    I’m also a knitter, so have been blessed with fluid joints as I age!

    Fall is my favorite quilting season so I look forward to what new quilts you’ll be creating!!

  9. Becky

    It’s probably one of two reasons. Squirrels build Day nests to lounge in so if you see clumps of these limbs up in the trees that could be what it is or it’s a beetle called the twig girdler. If the end of the twigs look like they were cut with a knife that’s what they are. If you collect the branches and burn them it will get rid of next years beetles.

  10. Carol

    Definitely squirrels! Today I noticed a rock in my garden covered with the hulls of sunflower seeds… I think the cardinals have found a dining table!
    We gave a HUGE problem with chipmunks, digging into the gardens wherever there is a drainpipe or a step. I don’t mind one or two prancing about, but dozens…they are out of control.
    The only advice I have received on getting rid of them is rat traps! I’d prefer eviction notices over murder… any ideas out there? We currently have piles of bricks and rocks covering their digging sites, but they are never discouraged! They just move on down the beds to make a new home.
    Chipmunks belong in cartoons, not under my porch!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Carol – your answer is a dog -wish I could loan you Hazel and Telly! I think you’ll have to consider murder. Sad but true.

      1. Diane

        Carol, my husband uses a live trap for our chipmunks. He puts peanuts or peanut butter in it. They then travel to a new zip code. We are not supposed to move wild animals, but they are devastating everything in sight!!

  11. Kathy

    Very excited to be on the fall quilt sewing spree with you. I have an older wooden quilt hanger in my sunroom given to me when I left Cooperative Extension and it holds up to 32” wide so I look for seasonal wall hanging patterns to fit or modify to fit that. It’s my place to see my happy quilts. Right now I have on it a redwork embroidered piece I did of blocks with kids playing in the sand and beach. It’s nice you can make time for yourself now.

  12. Connie Blyler

    I am constantly picking up ‘leaf clumps’ all over my yard – mostly from my big old white oaks. I had wondered if it could be the squirrels… I have many running around my yard. They eat off my bird feeders and have plenty of water available in the three birdbaths I have. I don’t see any evidence of nests in the trees after the trees lose their leaves. I, too, think they just do it to be mischievous!!! It’s very irritating! :-/

    Love your little table topper and look forward to your new fall projects. Intend to follow along.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Connie – I have a new pile of leaf clumps this morning!

  13. Teresa

    Yep, squirrels. I finally saw one in action in our maple tree a couple of weeks ago. I had mowed and a few hours later found clumps of leaves all over under the tree. I looked up in the tree and a squirrel was feverishly building a nest. I watched for quite a while. Fascinating. Good news I hope. It was only about halfway up the tree…..I’ve always heard the higher the squirrels nests, the harsher the winter.

  14. Karen Gaither

    I have the same things in my yard and I believe it is squirrels. I see them all up in the trees and assume it is them!

  15. Deb Blaufuss

    Could you send me the info about the T-shirt quilt makers name and number? Do you know how much she charges? My granddaughter wants a T-shirt quilt. I’ve made one and hated sewing it😩😩. Hoping I can pay someone else!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Deb – she is so far behind and really is not looking for more so I’d have to get her permission. Maybe contact your local quilt guild for someone willing to make a t-shirt quilt?

  16. Dee t

    Raccoons also nest in trees. In early fall they come down to play. Under a full. Moon we see them. They sound like a bunch of kittens. Cute to watch. Never see them in day.

    1. Sandy Kolarik

      I have lots of leaves all over too. I also have a pain in my butt squirrel who has decided to chew the beam on my deck which holds up the upper deck. I found they don’t like peppermint so I mix peppermint oil and water and spray on the area. Works great

      1. CountryThreads Post author

        Sandy -good idea! A squirrel chewed his way into my porch last winter!

  17. Linda

    I suspect it happens when it’s hot and dry and the squirrels do it to get the moisture in the twigs when water is scarce.

  18. Angiey

    Squirrels are doing this in our large maple to start preparing their nests. They make large and I mean LARGE ones here to keep them warm in winter. I think they do it now so that the stems are very pliable.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      I did not know squirrels nested now -how long is their gestation? I need more info – going online.

      1. Diane

        Yes, we have large squirrel nests in Central Ohio, too. If they don’t build them by November, we can expect a mild winter. I will try to send you a picture, Mary.

  19. Diane

    We had two large pine trees by our deck and the squirrels used to hurl pinecones at us. It was really weird, just like your leaves. They are odd little creatures. My husband told our grand daughters the squirrels were aliens because you never see squirrel “poop.” He’s odd, too, LOL. That table topper is so simplistic, yet so perfect. Please do let us see what you make. Do you still have the $3.00 pattern? We’ve had company, baseball and soccer games etc so I’ll try to send for it this week. Thanks!!

    1. Kris Gavin

      Your comment made me giggle…. now I’m going to watch for squirrel poop…. lol….

  20. Marie M

    I still use my 27-29 “ wall quilts I made with your patterns many years ago. I would love some more patterns for that size.

  21. Jo

    Oh, if I lived close, I’d take all the binding. It’s my favorite part. But I’m in Wyoming, a long ways away.

  22. Beryl Hoff

    Thank you! I received my pattern…I am sorry I sent the wrong size envelope for mailing. I will do a business envelope next time! I was trying to save you time. I tried.
    I like the fall table topper. I am going to make a few for fall and start some Christmas themed ones also. I have place to sell them so need to get to work. I also need to get some baby quilts done a nd a couple of throws.
    Thanks for all of your tips. Your yard looks great too! I am so happy your husband is getting well enough to be outside and do some of the yard things. I bet he is too! It must be as hard on him to be in as it is for you to have him inside.
    Thanks again!
    Beryl Hoff
    Elliston, MT

  23. Sarah F.

    Down here in there south (north TX) we have something called a twig girdler. I don’t know if they are in Iowa or not. They do a number on smaller branches by girlding the branch to the center and they just fall off. It looks like the branch has been gone around by a pipe cutter. I really enjoy reading your blog-a bit of home for me.

      1. Jessica

        We had twig girdlers in the Waco area when I lived there. They are a type of beetle and they can cause massive havoc with trees. I’m pretty certain you have evidence of a squirrel. They gnaw on the branches to grind down their teeth and/or get the leaves for nesting material.

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          Jessica – thank you! You are very knowledgeable – we have lots of squirrels and the dogs love to chase them. Once in awhile they even catch one! Ewwww!

  24. Pamela forsling

    The squirrels chew the leaves off I think when they might be making a nest. I have noticed numerous partial branches and leaves in my yard lately.

  25. Joanne

    Yes, it is the squirrel chewing off the twigs with leaves. They do this to our pin oak tree and our soft maples. We thought they were probably picking them for building a nest but I think they do it just to irritate homeowners!

  26. Gayle Lacey

    Yes, Mary, squirrels. My yard is littered with the clumps all summer/fall. Those little boogers! Natures way of pruning trees!!!

    1. Pam Nichols

      I agree, squirrels, I could show the exact same picture. Mine is an ash tree. Part of the mystery may be solved, but it remains as to why squirrels do this. Aren’t they finding enough stuff to gnaw on? Maybe they just do it when they need to keep their teeth “down.”

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