Yard mysteries

So we did some long-overdue yardwork in the back yard this morning, mostly hacking and slashing the overgrown hedge next to the house, and discovered a few mysteries, two of which I assume are related to each other.

Mystery #1:
There are volunteer strawberries growing in our yard. We didn't plant them, they're just growing wild, and in random spots.

Mystery #2:
There is, shall we say, rather pungent evidence that a dog has been in our back yard. Which we keep shut up tight.

Mystery #3:
Now that the big willow tree in our back yard died thanks to 2 years of drought, the evergreen off to the side has shot up and has produced fruit or seed pods or SOMETHING that we've never seen before.

Photos and my interpretation of two of the mysteries below the cut.

Right. So we're assuming that a small dog got out and under the fence somehow--there's no obvious holes, but we were too tired and cranky by this point to inspect so we don't know if it's the somewhat big area under the gate on the south side or if one of the yappy dogs* on the north side has dug a hole under the fence behind one of the bushes over there.

We are assuming that said dog consumed some strawberries at some point shortly before a foray into our yard and deposited them. At least one of the patches of strawberry plants has a decided cluster of flies there, which lends credence to this theory. Either way, we're not going to be eating these strawberries.

And now: pictures!

And blurry strawberry with blurry fingertip to show you how small it is!

Here's the tree that's producing the weird things:

And here's one of the weird things. I forgot to stick my hand in the shot for scale, but I'd say it's about 2" or so in diameter?

If anyone knows what species that tree is, we'd be grateful!
* They usually keep them inside, so we don't complain about the yapping.

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Tags: akicilj, yard mysteries
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