Packrat tendencies

I admit it, I’m a packrat.  I don’t actually store things forever, but I do accumulate an interesting stash of things that make me want to photograph them.  Case in point – acorns.

These came courtesy of the Pine Bush Preserve.  It seems this is a mast year for most of the oak trees of all different varieties along the path.  In case you’re wondering what mast means, check out the all-knowing, somewhat questionable wiki explanation here.  For the sake of simplicity – there’s a lot of nuts piling up.  Literally.  Watch your footing.

I’m not totally sure what variety of oak this quercus is.  Despite knowing the genus name (it’s amazing what little bits of trivia stick in my head – did you know the genus for holly is ilex?)  I can only vaguely note that the leaves looked somewhat like a white oak.  The graceful white oak has elongated acorns, not at all like this squashy type that I picked up.

And yes, I do know the maxim “take only pictures, leave only footprints.”  Rest assured that I will hand these off to the local squirrels who aren’t experiencing a mast year (our neighborhood must need a squirrel reset – oak trees do this on purpose, by the way.) 

It’s safe to say that if I go on a hike or nature walk, I end up carting something home like a tiny rock, a leaf, or a feather.  My stash of feathers for cyanotype photograms came from Ann Lee Pond, where some juvenile vulture (I think!) sat in branches all around the pond and molted.  I’m a sea-shell-aholic when we actually visit the sea, which hasn’t happened for years.  My small rock collection is growing – mainly purchased semi-precious gemstones that sit in a small bowl so I can fondle the garnet and turquoise as I please. 

Sitting on the top of my baker’s rack in the living room are several  leaves from my yard, crowned with acorns from Pine Bush and a few lovely pine cones courtesy of all my nature walks in the old cemeteries around here.  Did you know it’s actually rather difficult to photograph a pine cone?  Every time I try I end up with photographs that I delete because they’re so bad.   I think it’s the size  – these are so long and textured that a photograph of them ends up looking like a caricature of a pine cone.  

I think when I release these acorns to the mercy of the local squirrels, I’m going to try to tempt the squirrels to come onto the back porch.  They occasionally visit there to torment my cats, who sit in the kitchen window and drool. 

If you’re interested in reading more about scheming trees trying to reduce the rodent population, check out Hannah Holme’s book Suburban Safari: A Year on the Lawn


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