Monday, September 21, 2009
The Acorn Problem
[for anyone finding this post while looking for more blabbing about an alleged scandal involving a certain group of urban organizers, joke's on you! hawhaw, hawhaw!]
No, the acorn problem I'm having is a pleasant one, one about which I have many questions. The pin oak in front of the house here is producing a bumper crop this year, and the acorns are precipitating down onto my sidewalk, and the neighbor's driveway, in a continuous heavy drizzle. I have to sweep them up daily, and each day is producing a 13-gallon size garbage bag full!
I must sweep them for several reasons. First, this is Brooklyn, and as such, householders must upkeep their sidewalk frontage. Secondly, the acorns scattered everywhere are like marbles cast every which way, just waiting for any number of passers-by to slip, fall, bust their keisters, and sue, sue, sue.
Third, the fatty, green acorns, when crushed on the bluestone paving, actually stain it, they're so juicy! Fourth, I loooooooooooooooove acorns. Just a work of design genius--Ma Nature really on her game, in my opinion. I want to keep every single one of them, because they are perfection. A happy memory snapshot of mine is my stealth visit to Ryan Gainey's garden/house in Decatur, GA, and catching him in his bathrobe very energetically sweeping up white oak acorns. The scene before me was just infinitely delightful to behold.
Now, coming down with the acorns are twigs of leaves, too. Sometimes with acorns still attached, sometimes not. But really, the tree seems to be denuding itself of about a third of its green leaves into the bargain.
The show the local squirrels are putting on is quite amusing, as they are just delirious at the bounty, as you might imagine. [But they aren't helping with my sweeping chores, the little blighters.] I can sit in the backyard, and watch the squirrels race up the back neighbors' tall trees, none of which produce crop of any sort, then literally take a flying leap onto the roof of our house. Then they race across to the front, leap again onto the pin oak in front of the house, and have at it. Of course, they cause so many more acorns to bonk down onto the sidewalk as they root around maniacally. Momentarily, I can observe them on their return trip, with a gobful of acorns, or gnashing at a twig full of leaves with acorns. Off they go to wherever they are stashing them. Then back for more. With a nice cold beer in hand, it's diverting for a pleasant hour.
I am not throwing the acorn sweepings into the NYC trash. Nooooooo. I am hoarding my bagsful, just like the squirrelies. Only, I don't quite know yet what I am going to do with them. There is no compost here in my Brooklyn postage-stamp yard...no room. And anyway, do acorns compost in anytime under ten years?
Do I donate them somewhere? String them for Christmas decor? Make a stew? Give them to a zoo for feed? I recall at the Hampton Court Garden show, one exhibit was an expanse of just-sprouting acorns, forming a green swath of oaktree seedlings--it was lovely. Not practical for here! I'm open to any and all suggestions. All I know is disposing of them into the trash stream is a crime.
That is my main question. But I have others...are there "good" acorn years and off years? Does this crop reflect the very rainy summer we just had? If there is this bounty of acorns, is it just my tree, or are all pin oaks, or oaks in general, going like sixty also? Does a big year for acorns mean everybody in the food chain has a better year? In town, and in the burbs and countryside? More deer? More rabbits, squirrels? Chipmunks? Ditto white-footed mice? And eventually, of course, more TICKS?
I guess I have a date with Mr. Google tonight.
In the meantime, I'm off for the daily sweep-up.