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Outdoors just for kids 9-27-12

I was climbing around in a tree recently, trying to saw off limbs that had died.

I should have waited until my wife was home, since if I had fallen, I might have been hurt and could have lain around for a long time before she found me. My dog was there, but I think if I had fallen my dog would probably think I was taking a nap and lie down with me. Dogs seem to be always looking for a reason to lie down. Or she would come over and nuzzle me to pet her. She’s always looking to have her ears scratched.

As I tried to saw the old limbs off with a little hand saw, I was impressed by how strong they were. Some were really hard to cut off. My arms got tired, which isn’t good when you’re trying to hold onto a tree.

While I was crawling around, I found where the squirrels that bury nuts in my backyard had nibbled on the base of some of the branches. That’s probably how some of the branches died – a squirrel ate the bark off around the base and starved the branch.

Although I was mad at the squirrels for eating my tree branches, and burying nuts in my backyard, I had to be impressed by their ability to jump from the outer branches of one tree to the next tree. They must have a really strong grip. It’s fun to watch them climb, even if they are just bushy-tailed rodents.

I could also see quite a ways from up in the tree. My neighbors have a really nice pool. I had never seen it before because of their tall fence.

As I was going out on a limb to saw another branch, I saw a cool beetle that blended in really well with the bark of the tree. I tried to find the insect on the computer so I could tell you what it was, but there are a lot of bugs. I couldn’t find the right one.

The bug was camouflaged for a good reason: to keep birds from eating it. Bugs have been making themselves look like their surroundings for millions of years. Some of them look like leaves, some look like sticks.

I was relieved when I got to the ground and hadn’t fallen from my tree. It was cool to be up high for awhile, though. Things look different from up there.

-- Brett French, Gazette Outdoors editor

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Montana Untamed Editor

Montana Untamed editor for the Billings Gazette.