Just a cautionary tale about decorating with acorns..... On a recent day while visiting my parents at their leafy oak tree'd condo complex, I found myself looking for a way to keep my four year old son Miles from dismantliing my mother's antique hatpin collection. Why, let's collect those pesky acorns that keep pinging our cars in the parking lot, I thought! Let's see how many we can gather! (There are millions! They dent your car hoods, roll under your ankles in the dark and make you stumble, clog your gutters, sprout nasty oak tree weeds in the spring.... but what fun they are to collect!)
So Miles foraged for all of 5 minutes and came in with a whole ziplock full of the things... and upon closer inspection I thought - hey! These are quite beautiful! The newly fallen ones are still tinged with a hint of my favorite ochre green, and still shiny and hard. Some came in "twins" - darling double baby acorns still joined at their caps... and then the darker, walnutty ones, to add some color contrast to the green ones - and suddenly, as it happens quite often to me lately, I had a DECORATING IDEA.
There, on my mother's dining room table, was a rather bland hurricane vase with a single white pillar candle inside of it. How cute would it be if we filled the hurricane with the seasonal acorns and then lit the pillar candle in the middle? Add a berry and leaf wreath around the outside and VOILA! Budget Decorating! Affordable Style! Home-made beauty! Bring Nature Inside! I was so pleased with my acorn vignette! Miles was proud to have collected them! And my mother bestowed upon me the ultimate in compliments - "I never would have thought of that!"
I immediately sent Miles out for more and promptly brought them home to rinse and dry out for my very own autumn foliage display. So very, very excited! Why had I never thought of this before?? And they're free! Why would you ever pay for the fake ones at Target?? (save for the additional potpourri scent that they throw in?)
Cut to the weekend - we are at a sacred fire in York, Maine - built and burning for four days in honor of the deceased mother of a friend of ours. (But this is yet another story. I must stick to the acorn tale I started....) We are surrounded by groovy, nature-loving people, including a handsome young boy named Rook, who has very much captivated the attention of my daughter Grace. I look more carefully at what they are doing, off to the side of the sacred fire, and I see that they are breaking apart several acorns and staring intently at the innards. And then Rook eats something from the acorn and Grace squeals and Miles guffaws, and this is not very sacred fire behavior - what are they DOING? And then my husband Tom joins in and eats something from the acorn - what is going ON? And this is where it gets gross - they are eating GRUBS found inside the acorns! Rook announces that there are 100 grams of protein in each one (of course, they are miniscule, so I think this is a bit of a stretch....but if I were starving in the woodlands, I might tell myself that very thing before eating one for SURVIVAL...) And Grace, ever diet-conscious and clearly taken with the dashing Rook, actually eats one herself!!! I will have to talk to her about the whole matter of impressing boys at a later date. Right now we are talking about ACORN GRUBS.
Well, sometimes I am a little naive. I like to think that MY acorns don't have grubs because......? Well, they are not SO in the nature, are they? They are in the parking lot of a condo complex, for pete's sake. They aren't grub filled! They have landscapers, and grub control, and civilization. So, no grubs in OUR acorns, right? And just like that, I put it out of my mind.
Time passed. We went to NY for the weekend. I still was searching for the perfect hurricane to display my acorns. And lo, this morning, I saw the ziplock of acorns for the 50th time and said, THAT'S IT! Time to decorate! And I dumped them out into my clear vase....and to my horror noticed about 25 fat and wiggly grubs in desperate search for moisture. Wiggling and gyrating in the vase, curling up and stretching out. Turned my stomach. And dashed my autumn-vignette dream.
For a joke, I put a chubby one on a plate for Grace's breakfast. And I suppose I wasn't a bit surprised that she felt absolutely NO need to impress me by eating it. All the grubs went into the garbage and my skin is still a little itchy.
Now I just have to call my mother. Hopefully the grubs haven't decided to worm their way out of their hurricane. And onto her plate of toast.
Yours in decorating, Pam
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