There’s an episode of M*A*S*H from the crossover years where, for Frank’s birthday, Hawkeye and BJ spend the day fighting. It’s the only thing they can think to give him. Its relevance to today’s short is that, when Hawkeye and BJ find they’ve been hit a little close to home—no one can insult you like those who love you most, after all—and stop speaking to one another, Frank goads them into keeping up the fight because that’s more fun for him. This is a very Donald Duck thing to do, and that doesn’t say good things about either character.
Chip (Jimmy MacDonald) and Dale (Dessie Flynn) are storing acorns for the winter. The problem is, someone has beaten them to all the acorns in their tree. They are expressing their displeasure with this when they see Donald (Clarence Nash, of course) below, planting acorns in the empty patch near their tree. They quite sensibly believe that they are more entitled to the acorns than the ground is, and they go after Donald to take them for their own. This devolves into a hockey match, because Donald is the sort of character that happens with.
Let’s leave aside that Donald’s map of his area to be seeded shows a pine forest around it when these are clearly oaks. (Acorns, after all.) The fact is, this is why you plant seedlings when you’re reforesting. Oh, also, a lot of the trees in a natural forest are planted by chipmunks, and squirrels, who bury seeds for winter storage and then forget where they left them—or simply don’t make it through the winter, but that’s a little dark for this cartoon. Besides, why is the place Donald is planting bare dirt? In a forest, a bare patch like that would immediately be taken over by plant life. As soon as there’s sunlight available, you get groundcover. Admittedly, in my local forests, that’s likely to be blackberry brambles, because invasive species, but there you are.
There’s no way that winter storage is Dale’s idea. We all know that, right? Chip is the one who has set the goal, and Chip is the one who makes sure that Dale does his share of the work. That last is simply text; Dale is perfectly willing to stay asleep in his matchbox bed while Chip does the work. Getting back to the idea that not all animals survive winter, Dale is definitely one who wouldn’t, and the species would be better off for it.
It can’t hurt a lot when Donald gets punched by Dale, but it is in the eye, so it’s got to be better than nothing. It’s deeply satisfying, and not just because of the whole Aquatic Sociopath thing. He’s trying to set up Chip to get punched. Now, presumably, Donald cares about doing his job—which is a little out of character; I’m a bit surprised that he hasn’t just dumped the whole sack by the side of the road somewhere, though I guess he does spend a lot of shorts working. But surely someone gave him advice on what to do if animals went after the acorns, and I can’t think this was it.