Friday, October 24, 2014

Fall Color and Acorn Harvest

Have you ever seen the strange pink and orange seed pods of our native strawberry bush (Euonymus americanus)?  I remember finding these when I was a kid and thinking it was the weirdest thing I had ever seen.  Who ever thought those colors should go together!  

The fall colors never seem as brilliant in my cell phone pictures as they look in real life.  I took these forest photos a few weeks ago from my parents driveway.  

Some of the prettiest color was from the sassafras trees.  In the photo above, you can see one of the leaves with three lobes.  Some sassafras leaves have no lobes, and some look like a mitten, with only one lobe sticking out like a thumb.  

Even though the leaves are falling from the trees, it doesn't mean the garden has given up.  In fact, the parsley and Swiss chard are growing better now than they did all through the hot summer.  I've been picking bundles like this often, and making green smoothies or juices.  

And look at all the acorns from my parents big tree!  From what I've read, if you want to make acorn flour, it's best to process the harvested acorns as soon as you can.  Unfortunately, mom sent Jamie home with an entire bucket of acorns just as I left town for several days, and because I was busy it was several more days until we got around to sorting the good ones from the bad ones.  

In that time, not only did the acorns sprout, but little white maggoty looking worms began to emerge from some of them!  

Despite separating the good ones from the bad ones, Jamie and I were a little grossed out after seeing the worms, which may be one of the reasons why I still have trays of acorns sitting on my washer and dryer more than a week later!  

The other reason I have acorns instead of acorn flour, is the amount of work it takes to make the flour.  Jamie and I used baseball bats and smashed a bunch of acorns, which wasn't easy.  Then we realized that we have to pick the nut meats from the shells, dry them, leach them, and then grind them up.  Whoa.  I see now why I've never had acorn products despite the abundance of oak trees.  I also see that I may have trays of acorns on my dryer indefinably unless I'm ready to admit defeat and put them out for the chickens.

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