One day when I was a kid, I was mowing the back yard and saw a massive cocoon on one of our apple trees. I ran inside and got Dad who came out, poked it with a stick, and then set it on fire. He wasn't messing around.

Prior to torching what I was calling a "nest", untold numbers of tiny caterpillars came crawling out. The tree was ruined, and he dug it up. Add that experience to all the wasps' nests and hornets' nests we used to torment with broomsticks and then run like crazy, and suddenly the word "nest" becomes something akin to a movie monster.

What's That Big Scary-Looking Ball of Leaves in Your Tree?

But not all nests are bad things. Just ask birds, right? Of course, we recognize THOSE immediately, but if you were to lay eyes on a "drey," would you look closer or run and get the broomstick? Well first, DON'T run and get the broomstick. The inhabitants of that drey would not be happy, and neither would you once you saw what lived there.

Now that you've expanded your vocabulary, you also now know where squirrels catch a little shut-eye when they're not scurrying across branches, power lines, or rooftops. It answered that question for me.

A Closer Look at a Squirrel and His Drey

I've always been fascinated by squirrels. I love how they're able to travel long distances and never touch the ground under the right circumstances. And now I know where they hang out after a hard day's work. Here...take a closer look:

So the next time the kids come running into the house thinking something horrible is lurking in that old elm tree, you can ease their troubled minds and educate them at the same time.

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