This post was inspired by Grace. 🙂 It’s in the POV of an imaginary bird, but I did go acorn-searching on Monday. 😛
I was up in my tree, surveying the surroundings of my woods. All was peaceful. The leaves were falling off the trees and every now and then I heard the plunk of a falling acorn. But that ended when a girl walked down the path towards the clearing that my tree was by. She stopped and pushed aside a few leaves, looking for something. Then another girl came down and helped her look for the things. Soon I realized that they were actually looking for acorns. They got a few and walked back up to the house.
I don’t know how well you know chickadees, but they are pretty curious. And I, being a chickadee, was quite interested in what these acorns were for. Most girls don’t eat acorns. I left my tree and flew around to the other side of the house she went into, because there was a bird feeder there. As I nonchalantly pecked at some bird seed, I kept an eye on the girl.
She put the acorns on a table and started peeling of the shells. I thought this very silly, for her soft fingertips couldn’t do much against the hard nut. But she managed to dig her fingernails into a small crack in the nut and pulled the husk off. Then she popped the nut in her mouth, and chewed it up.
I almost choked on a sunflower seed from laughing at the face she made. Acorns aren’t the sweetest things ever to humans, and I could see quite plainly that the girl realized this. She looked at a book laying beside her and said something to the people who were also in the kitchen. I can’t understand English, sadly, but a plump little house finch next to me could.
“Says she’s gonna boil the nuts. Yup. Says it’ll make ’em not so bitter, yep,” the house finch replied when I asked him what she said.
I was doubtful that this would work, but proceeded to watch her. For the other nuts, she had enough sense to get a hammer and crack them open. Unfortunately for her, the others were all rotten.
The other girl and a different smaller girl went out to get some more acorns while the first girl cleaned up the mess. Then she went back out to the woods. They got a good amount of acorns -maybe 15-20- before the came back in. Then they smashed those too. However, only one of those weren’t rotten. So the girl went back out to the woods for the third time, and this time she got over fifty acorns (chickadees are known for their counting skills). She smashed these and got six good ones. Most of the others had grubs in. I guess she hadn’t learned how to tell the bad from the good yet.
She decided six would have to do. The girl got out a pan and filled it with water. I was full by this time, so I just perched on the railing and sleepily watched her. She boiled the acorns once, dumped out the water, and boiled them again.
“Says when the water’s clear they’re done. Yup, that’s what she says.” I jumped and looked beside me. The house finch had silently joined me at the window and was watching the girl intently, eyes narrowed suspiciously.
Maybe the girl wasn’t doing something right, but she boiled the acorns about eight times and the water still was brown. By that time it was dark, and I had lost interest in this Acorn Searcher. I flew away, back to my tree in the woods. The next day the house finch told me that she never got them right, and at the end they were still bitter.
I guess humans should be humans and squirrels should be squirrels.
So… yeah. I got this book from the library- it’s an edible plants field guide. I read that you could eat acorns after you boiled them a couple of times, so I tried it. It didn’t really work though…