The Hunting makes them hungry; and the Indians are a People that always eat very often, not seldom getting up at Midnight, to eat. They plant a great many sorts of Pulse, Part of which they eat green in the Summer, keeping great Quantities for their Winter-Store, which they carry along with them into the Hunting-Quarters, and eat them.
Towards the spring, when the days begin to be a little warm, they leave their winter-holes and enter the barns compelled, most probably, by the failure of their winter-store. Great numbers are then destroyed by the cats. Their fur is of little value, and their flesh uneatable.
I have frequently cut down trees in which they had deposited their winter-store, to the amount of half-a-bushel of beech-mast, Indian corn, and grain of different descriptions. It is a very curious circumstance that, before storing away for the winter, they carefully skin every beechnut.
The first is the Fox-Squirrel, so call'd, because of his large Size, which is the Bigness of a Rabbet of two or three Months old. His Colour is commonly gray; yet I have seen several pied ones, and some reddish, and black; his chiefest Haunts are in the Piny Land, where the Almond-Pine grows. There he provides his Winter-Store; they being a Nut that never fails of bearing.
For, as there was nothing to be done out of doors, and he was not fond of being idle, he had been busy all the morning in the woodhouse, sawing and splitting for the winter-store, and working the better that he knew what honorarium awaited his appearance in the kitchen.
For this purpose the remnants of an old broken-down cart, of which the axle was anciently greasy, had been fetched from the winter-store, and the wood and peats together, with a shovelful of coal to give the composition a little body, had made a glorious glow. But the heat had hardly yet begun to affect sensibly the general atmosphere of the place.