Scrapbook: Hunting Acorns

10 Oct

Since fall doesn’t really get started here for another couple months, I decided to take Isobel acorn hunting as a way to learn about nature, get outside with the family, and add to our cache of thrifty autumn decorations. I want to make it a yearly tradition as it’s a fall-like thing we can do even if we’re wearing shorts and tank tops and contemplating

The Valley oak would be a natural native choice for acorn hunting, and provided a substantial part of the diet of the native people who lived in California long ago, but lacking access to those venerable trees we went to a stand of Cork oak that I happen to be familiar with. I grew up under these trees.

Years and years ago, these trees were a daily fixture in my life during elementary school. Not one for sports or anything more complicated than monkey bars, friends and I would wander under the polka-dotted shade of the canopy of these trees at recess, imagining we were our own world and collecting the ever-present acorns that littered the ground. Acorns would be collected into piles as if we could survive off them in the winter.ย  One day we planned to pound them to mush and rinse them in changes of water to remove the toxin, like the Native Americans. We probably created a nice nest egg for the birds to find later.

As we walked with Isobel under these trees we pointed out partially eaten acorns and talked about the birds that ate them. We don’t really have squirrels in town, though I’ve seen one or two on occasion. Every now and then the wind would blow an a scattering of acorns would fall all around us, like plump raindrops.

We looked at fat acorns and skinny ones, we marveled that some had “hats” but some came bald, many were shades of green, and yellow, or a rich hearty brown.

We talked about the trees as we walked, too. Eventually the joy of acorns wore off and Isobel became extremely fascinated by a mud puddle.

By the time we were ready to go home Isobel had dumped all her acorns into the mud. Which was totally fine as I collected my own bunch and anyway, I wasn’t going to let her keep them.ย  She might decide she’s a bird and start munching.

Sometimes making your own fun isn’t about what you get. It’s about the hunt.

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8 Responses to “Scrapbook: Hunting Acorns”

  1. K October 10, 2011 at 6:19 am #

    That picture of her and Anthony took my breath away. So sweet.

    I loved seeing those acorns! They look so different than the ones we have littering our yard, bonking us on the head and catapulting off our roof.

    Also, I am totally sending you a box of live squirrels. They run in packs in my neighborhood and, I imagine, if you could keep them from jumping on your face and get one leash-trained–they’d be quite nice as a pet.

    • LittleBig October 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

      I will totally accept your squirrels. I’m sure you can tell from the photos that our acorns aren’t as gangster as yours.

  2. purplequark October 10, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    Beautiful beautiful and nicely posted ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. mark @ yelling near you October 10, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Beautiful photos and what a great idea! The trees are just thinking about changing colour here.

    • LittleBig October 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

      Thank you! Ours won’t get going till almost New Year’s.

  4. Amber October 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    I’ve never seen those kinds of acorns, so awesome! I love going out and wandering through nature. I take Alexa on hikes for that very reason. I want her to enjoy the smells of the earth and know there are places you can go where nothing else gets in the way ๐Ÿ™‚

    • LittleBig October 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

      It’s really important that kids learn this from a young age, I think. ๐Ÿ™‚

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