I live in the Santa Lucia Mountain Range, an hour from the nearest town—Cambria. Back in the 1930's my grand-father traded a horse and some tires for this land. My lifestyle defines independence. I cut firewood for heat, maintain water lines, and make my own power (small generator - solar is price prohibited so far). I don't have television, but do have a DVD player. My laptop runs on batteries (I love battery operated gadgets) and is plugged into the land line for communications.
I have chickens that roam the woodlands freely. They provide me with my main source of protein. I have dogs that chase away the bears, mountain lions, and skunks. I leave these woodlands to go to town as seldom as possible. Nature is my life.
Photos by David Hindmon
Acorns—Hope in a Nutshells
by Michele Oksen
If you've ever tried eating a raw acorn you might wonder why squirrels, deer, birds, and horses find them so tasty. Yuk. The critters can have them.
However, I will say if you're inclined to work really hard for your meal, acorns prepared properly are delightful. Not that I would like to make a steady diet of them. It's too much work to put together bread as it is, let alone make acorn flour to do so. (Ha! . . . like I bake bread.) Okay, a kitchen whizz I'm not. Thankfully my friend and neighbor is a skilled culinary artist. That's how I happen to know acorn bread, cookies, and soup are pretty darned good if you know what you're doing.
One thing about acorns is they store well. Just ask "Woody" and friends. In an endeavor to engineer a depository, those sneaky woodpeckers manage to chisel holes in the cabin's siding. They make the holes exactly the right depth and diameter for their acorns. Nice and snug. Just like a cork in a bottle. Rascals.
Wood rats like to stash their acorns in piles. Any dry, accessible nook or cranny will work as their storage area. They're not fussy.
Personally, I would prefer a pantry like my great-aunt Mimi had. Floor to ceiling preserves—colorful jars of jams, jellies, applesauce, fruit, and vegetables—all lined up and labeled. So beautiful.
It must be rewarding to have a storeroom full of the fruits of your labor. I wouldn't know. I'm don't have much of a green thumb either. That or I'm just not fast enough to get to the orchard and the garden before the deer and gophers do. Thankfully our Nature's Voice photographer is a successful grower of produce and he shares. Yum.
Still, I was happy to have a small harvest of my own this year. It consisted of a couple of baskets of berries, a few apples, walnuts, tomatoes, and a handful of beans. And I haven't given up. I'll be out there again next spring.
Acorns have an unlimited and incalculable potential to contribute to the cycle of life. That's why acorns represent hope. Not expectations, but hope.
Whether or not an acorn grows into a giant oak depends a great deal on external forces. To expect acorns to grow, to thrive, to produce, and to procreate—only to have that master plan eaten by the neighborhood squirrel—would be to count our trees before they sprout. That's a set-up for big disappointment. It's like expecting ourselves, others, or our environment to conform to a predetermined, predestined agenda. That's not possible. And even if we could have complete control over our lives, that would only serve to limit the availability of new possibilities.
When we, like an acorn, attend to our purpose and offer the world our best efforts we are sure to cultivate something fabulous. Without an attachment to a specific outcome we are more likely to see personal, familial, or even global opportunities that promote evolution. And, in nature, evolution is what it's all about.
You know, now that I think about it, acorns are sounding better and better. Heck I wouldn't even have to irrigate . . . hmm.
So, this November on our SLO coast, go ahead and be a nut. Intend to contribute. Aspire to achieve grand results. Choose hope.
Banner Image by Fugle