Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Hate ACORN(s)

Okay, so some of you got excited thinking I was finally going to talk politics. Sorry to disappoint, but I'm talking about these little annoying offspring from our live oaks.  Oh sure, they're cute and the squirrels like them, which is quite evident in their expanding bodies.  However, after two months of listening to them drop, then roll on the roof, or ping off the windows or grill, I have had enough.  Add to the disrupted sleep the many garbage cans we have filled with them and put out for the poor yard waste collectors.  I know these guys are earning their wage every day because thousands, maybe millions of acorns add up to very heavy garbage cans.

As I have been shoveling these little demons it occurred to me that they must have some practical use beyond adding to the oak population.  They have a cheesy meat inside of them.  I know this because our old shepherd, Ziggy used to munch on them like they were gourmet popcorn.  And then get sick. None of our other dogs have ever touched them, so I guess that was a Ziggy quirk. Maybe they are edible, but I'm so sick of looking at and hearing them that I don't care to research it. Perhaps The Writer's GF, Sammy, would like to add an acorn dish to her food blog. What do you think Sammy? 

Actually, the acorns only fall every other year.  We went a few years without them and I actually missed them because it meant the natural routine of our trees had been disrupted.  And when I say disrupted, I mean totally thrown out of whack by Hurricane Charlie.

We have begrudgingly raked and bagged leaves, shovelled acorns and trimmed the branches of these beautiful giants for the 20 years we have lived here.  In return, these beautiful trees give us wonderful shade all summer and lower electric bills.  Not to mention an abundance of wildlife to watch: squirrels (of course), raccoons, possums, owls and numerous other types of birds including the Pileated Woodpecker (just like Woody!) and Bald Eagles.

August 13, 2004, our family experienced something terrifyingly unique when Hurricane Charlie blew across the state.  We huddled in our hallway with Panda, Nicki, Susie and Bumby.  Jake and Floppy rode the storm out in Jake's room off the kitchen.  We never expected to take the hit we did.  Nothing compared to storms such as Andrew or Katrina, but for our neighborhood, historic. 

We were lucky, while the beautiful woods behind our house were devastated and have never been the same, our beautiful guardians, the live oaks held, but shed a ton of debris and many limbs.  Our across-the-street neighbor, Mary, had her front yard live oak crash into the street and my chair re-do friend, CG, lost almost every tree on her lot, eleven total.  But our houses were all spared.  It was seven days without power in the August heat, day after day of cleanup and then weeks before the debris was collected by the FEMA trucks from our parkways.  Compared to people who lost their homes because of downed trees or flooding, we were very lucky.  Morning after Charlie, our backyard.

Mary's tree.  Fell away from her house, missed parked cars.  All neighbors went out with chainsaws and cleared the street first thing in the morning.  Charlie hit about 9pm.  We didn't know the extent of damage until the next day.

Sometimes out of a difficult time, comes something good.  Although it would be two years before our live oaks returned to a normal cycle of leaf production, loss and (ugh) acorn ejection, we had some good fortune.  Because of the loss of so many trees in the woods behind us which shaded our backyard, but prevented the grass for growing well, we finally got a backyard lawn!  It is wonderful!  No more dirt and the view from the back windows (if you don't mind Kudzu strewn tree trunks) is green and lovely.  We miss the afternoon shade, but I guess it's a trade off.  Grass!

So, I guess I shouldn't be annoyed when I hear those acorns rolling down the roof at 4am because it means that our beautiful trees are trying to get back to normal.

The leaves fall next.  Then the oak bloom...  But, I'm okay with it.  Really.


Orlando Grandma said...

Nice article, there for a while I thought you were going to make acorn decorations like the first picture shows.
I would not have signed for the class because ever since the dirty dealings of the other "Acorn", got the wrong man elected,ooops I forgot no politics in the blog, anyway that word has a bad ring in my ears. One thing I do not miss my big tree but I love yours.

The Boston Lady said...

Thanks Orlando G-ma! I really appreciate your comments! Got that email too. Funny!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Here I am wishing you'd send me a box of these so I can get crafty. :)

But I feel your pain. Except ours comes in the form of a huge mesquite tree. If I am not sweeping up the needles, then I am raking up the pods. When that is finished then Eric must climb staggering heights to trim the blasted branches that grow quicker than kids.

The Boston Lady said...

Well Laura, they seem very nice with the caps on, but the caps fall off very easily, but I suppose you could glue them on. They are still falling so say the word and I will ship some your way - one or two tons?

KarenSue said...

I think we were all in the hallways that night. Nothing hit our house either. What a scary time.

Sammy said...

HAHAHA! That is so funny...I was just talking to the writer the other day about eating acorns! We don't have them here, but Olivia calls the tops "acorn hats"...if she sees an acorn without the top, she will go looking for his hat.